On Cue: Francis Mercier’s Afro house impact

This is not your typical club night, but rather a full-blown family affair. Colourfully clothed dancers add vibrance to the stage, and soon, Bronx-based musician Curtis Watts adds a layer of live percussion, fervently banging a hand drum that slings loose from his shoulders. TikTok sensation and Afrobeats artist Yung Wylin enjoys a moment in the spotlight, too. Mercier’s plan is all coming together.   

“It’s clear that there’s a movement and there’s an interest for the genre,” he tells DJ Mag cheerfully after fans clear out. “It’s growing step by step — if it wasn’t growing, you wouldn’t be able to throw a 2,000-person show like this!”   

This is no small feat. The Deep Root Tribe showcase shares its Saturday night slot with pioneering South African star, Black Coffee, who’s headlining his own sold-out gathering at Factory Town down the road, with Pablo Fierro dishing out his hallmark brand of ancestral-meets-tech-house beats in a side room.  

This scheduling challenge might push other artists toward a competitive mindset, but that’s hardly Mercier’s style. His approach to business always coincides with the belief that a rising tide lifts all boats, and in this case, a packed evening of African-inspired beats is proof that his genre of choice is having a well-deserved moment. This is good for everyone.  “To continue expanding, you have to be innovative,” he reveals of what drives him forward. “You have to be willing to put other people out there. The concept of a one-man show — it’s not it.” 

Mercier is the epitome of a team player. Hailing from an island country struck by political unrest, his lived experience fuels a mission to empower and unite — the philosophy required to push a movement forward.