I met Francie the good old-fashioned way: on the internet. Her single “Your Way” captivated me, not only with the music but the image for the cover. After interviewing her, I like her even more. She’s brilliant, introspective and I can feel the creativity pouring out of her words. I am so glad she agreed to an interview and I’m excited to introduce you to her!
So glad you’re here, Francie! Let’s start off small. Who was your earliest musical influence, and what did you learn from them?
My earliest musical influences were classical music and artists such as Enya and Annie Lennox. The particular, dreamy and epic atmospheres pictured by Enya’s music accompanied my whole teenage years. That’s what I would like to communicate; I would like to take listeners into another world, my world, and to share with them ideas, thoughts and deep feelings. I also admire Annie Lennox’s elegance, want of experimenting and powerful use of the voice that ranges from lightness to a heavier rock attitude. If I had only a tiny part of their enormous talent I would be grateful.
I really love “Your Way” – tell me about what inspired it and how it all came together!
“Your Way” is about an unrequited love and is deeply connected with the main theme of my second musical project: the contrast between dreams and reality. I think that growing up means accepting that you can’t always get what you want/dream of and that having the strength to face fears and difficulties is the most important thing. Failures and delusions aren’t obviously a good thing but they are human, inevitable and sometimes necessary. I wrote the music one night while I was practicing guitar and the words came fluently a few days later.
The photo for the single cover is really interesting. Where did you take it? Was it a professional shoot and how did that go? (Love your hair in it by the way!)
Thank you. It isn’t a professional shoot and it was taken in a field not far from my hometown Siena. I love the Pre-Raphaelites, Italian art and painters as Corot, Henrietta Rae and John Weguelin. Their artworks seem to picture places where the human experience is freer, more intense, emotionally involved and connected with something authentic and beautiful. I think that at the moment a classic style really fits my personality and mood of this project. In my opinion music isn’t only sounds, but also pictures and colours; art, cinema, photography are very inspiring and they can help me to stay focused on the world I want to create and express.
I love that and I completely agree. Do you have any funny/interesting stories from life as a musician?
The funniest memories were absolutely filming the music videos with my best friend and artist Giorgia Pratelli. We share the same taste and we enjoy choosing meaningful scenography, that can go with a song, and improvising. I remember all the comic scenes of me running, dancing and then falling.
Your album “The Waste Land” came out in 2017. Listening back to your old songs, do you wish you had done something differently? Or have you changed as a person and would change styles/lyrics now?
I wouldn’t change anything of my previous album because if I was satisfied when it was released, then I’m satisfied now. I think that projects should be put into context; “The Waste Land” was what I could do in that moment with that experience. Having regrets or doubts isn’t useful; being stuck in the past and being fully satisfied don’t make you feel the need to improve, which is the most important thing. It’s true that the upcoming album goes in a different direction because time has passed, I have improved my songwriting, I am listening to different kinds of music and I want to express different ideas and to experiment. “The Waste Land” was about alienation and pollution, now my personality and the themes that I would like to write about have changed a little. It’s the exciting and never-ending evolutionary process.
What inspired the change from your last EP to the upcoming one in terms of style?
In “The Waste Land” the arrangements are intentionally complex and there are a lot of instruments. Now I’m curious to see what I can produce with just a few elements.
Moreover, at the moment I am listening to artists as Bishop Briggs and Lorde, composers such as Debussy and Italian songwriters. The change in terms of style is also inspired by the change of mood which is less dramatic, more acoustic and has abandoned the noir scenographies of the first album.
What song from “The Waste Land” was the most difficult to record, and how did you work through that?
The most difficult to record was the first song I’ve ever written, “The Waste Land”. The demo was 7 minutes long, the ideas were confused and there was enough material for another two songs! So I had to cut many extra parts in order to make the chord progression more fluent. Moreover, when you record your first song, you face for the first time the difficulty of not imitating your favourite artists and finding your own style and personality in music. I was sure of what I liked and disliked but expressing it in terms of sounds isn’t that simple! I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to get to know my friends and producers Francesco Poggianti and Niccolò Caldini, who help me enhance my ideas without radically altering them.
What aspect of music interests you the most (writing/performing/etc), and conversely, what interests you the least?
I am a withdrawn girl and I have been inventing stories since I was a little child, so writing is easier and more natural to me. Becoming a writer has always been my dream in life. Now that I’m starting to play my music live, I’m gradually discovering this new dimension and, if the performance works, the pleasant challenge of trying to draw attention and create a tangible connection with the public. I think that this link, the fact that the deepest sorrows and joys of one are shared with other people, is something extraordinary.
I’m super introverted too, so I get it! How do you work through periods when you can’t seem to come up with any ideas? Do you have any tips to work through writer’s block?
I change the way of songwriting or I wait until it passes; in my view a block isn’t lack of inspiration but need of reflection. So the best way is going out, reading, watching movies, meeting people, going to museums, traveling, gaining knowledge, discovering and trying again later. Ideas are stances on life, so coping with everyday life problems, experiencing and never stopping wondering what could be possible solutions to writer’s block.
What advice would you give someone who wants to be a solo performing artist?
If you prefer working alone follow this street without hesitating. Convince yourself that you’re not selfish, forcing yourself is deleterious. Many people will try to discourage you, but never give up. You’ll have to face many difficulties such as being alone on stage or being the one responsible for a failure, but it’s part of the game. So the best advice I could give, which is the same that I constantly repeat to myself, is staying focused on your goals and finding the best ways for you to achieve them. If being a solo performing artist is one of these ways, be a solo performing artist.
Lastly, what are your music goals for this year, and how are you working toward achieving them?
On January 25th, my new single “Losers Gonna Be Winners” will be released. It’s a song about not letting failures discourage or define who you are. My music goals for this year are performing live and releasing new music as much as possible. In order to achieve these goals successfully, I’ll practice and write only songs which greatly meet my taste, my values, my search of a meaning and constant need of reflection over reality. In short, being true to myself and not being afraid of fully expressing it.
Thank you so much Francie for speaking with us! If you enjoyed her interview, please let her know!Loved your interview, Francie! @frances_twit Click To Tweet
Check out Francie’s social media links here!
You can also pre-save her new single here!