San Diego native Jason French is a hooky neo-soul- and reggae-influenced songwriter with a resonant, laid-back vocal style. Raised in a strict Christian family, French was first exposed to music while singing in the church where his father was the preacher. Later, he snuck albums by secular bands like N*Sync, Sublime, and blink-182 into his bedroom to listen to. Also, without a TV at home, he taught himself to play piano and guitar around age 10, and by his teens was writing his own songs. Signed to Motown in his early twenties, French had recorded an album's worth of material and was on tour when he was dropped from the label. Despite the setback, he continued writing new songs while couch surfing and working odd jobs to pay bills. Eventually, he signed a deal with Interscope and released the single "You Just Want My Money,".