Born in Tahiti, where he lives, Florent Atem is a two-time Grammy-nominated guitarist, singer and songwriter. A multiple music award winner in Tahiti and Hawaii, he is also an English teacher at the University of French Polynesia. He and his sister – singer and keyboardist Carole Atem – have released four albums recorded by Grammy-winning producer Bob St John (Prince, Extreme) in Hawaii, where they have shared the stage with the best local artists.
In 2003, producer John Cuniberti (Joe Satriani, The Dead Kennedys) expressed interest in working with Florent, whom he described as “the new Joe Satriani with a style of his own”. Dreamtown, Florent’s first solo album, was recorded at The Plant Studios in Sausalito, California, and the band featured Carole Atem, drummer Jeff Campitelli (Joe Satriani) and bass players Michael Manring and Matt Bissonette (Joe Satriani, Ringo Starr, Don Henley, Brian Wilson, David Lee Roth, Christopher Cross). In 2005, Jeff Campitelli, Michael Manring, John Cuniberti and Bob St John joined Florent and Carole in Tahiti for two highly successful shows broadcast in the South Pacific and on French television.
In 2006, Florent became the first Tahitian to be nominated for a Grammy Award, as part of the Hawaiian Slack Key Kings guitar project, in the “Best Hawaiian Music Album” category. In 2008, Florent and the other artists involved in the same project received a second Grammy nomination and won a Hoku Award – the Hawaiian equivalent of the Grammy Awards – in 2009.
In 2008, Florent and Carole performed live in Tahiti with Michael Angelo Batio – the inventor of the “Double-Guitar” who was voted the “n°1 shredder of all time” by the US press. They performed with him in Tahiti again in 2009, along with Michael Manring. The 2008 concert was also the opportunity for Florent to release Silver Flame, a collection of original material he had recorded over the past few years following Michael Angelo’s advice.
In 2009, Florent revealed to the guitar community a new guitar technique he calls “Slide Picking”, which he invented and had been developing for the past 15 years. Guitarists such as Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson, Jeff Beck), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), Mattias Ia Eklundh, Alex Skolnick (Testament, Ozzy Osbourne), Michael Angelo Batio and many other world-class musicians have praised Florent’s unprecedented approach, which they consider “fantastic” and “very innovative”.
In 2012, Florent performed with Michael Angelo Batio for the third time and also with Virgil Donati in Tahiti. This was also the first time Michael and Virgil ever performed together on the same stage.