Frances is one of the most talented emerging artists of 2016. Her differents EP have made a hit in the USA and in the UK. Her debut album Things I’ve Never Said will be released in March 2017. She was on stage at the Cafe de la Danse for Pitchfork Avant-garde, we met her on the first floor of Barbès the next morning to review the past year with her and speak about the one coming which is full of promises.
FRANCES / SELFIE INTERVIEW
USofParis : Your first album will be released in March, It’s called… Things I’ve Never Said. Why didn’t you say those things before?
Frances: I don’t know. I think that’s kind of.. a bit… what I worked out while I was writing it. And that’s how I came up with the title because I was kind of writing songs and going: “Why is it the first time I said these things?“. You can find the lyrics for what you want to say on a song but maybe not the words to speak in person, so.
You start writing music at 12-13. On your album, is there a song from this time?
No. I think the earliest one was when I was about 18.
It’s two: one called Drifting and one called Sublime, that I wrote when I was in university, like 18, 19.
What inspires you to write?
Everything, everything I see around me, the people I meet, obviously personal experience… or it might be, you know, someone I’m close to who says they’re going through something and I kind of write a song about that. But whatever it is, I have to relate to it, it kind of has to make sense for me.
Do you have any influences?
Yeah, so many. Everything you hear… everything I hear kind of ends up in there somewhere, but I love Radiohead, Björk, Coldplay, and then more modern like Ed Sheeran, he’s great.
One of my favourite songs on your album is Don’t worry about me, could you tell us more about this song?
Oh, thank you. It was great because when I first wrote it, I didn’t really think that it would be released. I thought it was a bit strange, because it started with a cappella… and it didn’t feel like it had much of a structure, it was almost like a hymn, it was weird. And then I kind of listened to it a few times and it was like : “Oh, it is actually making more sense”, and I played it to some other people and they were like “Oh my God” and they loved it. I think it was interesting because I wrote it exactly how I wanted to write it, because I didn’t think anyone else would even hear it. So that kind of taught me a lesson, that I should just do what I want to do, and not think too much about what other people are going to think of it.
You used to play only with your piano. Is it difficult for you to play with the whole band on stage?
Oh no, I love it. I really like playing on my own as well because it’s very intimate… but when you got lots of other instruments behind you, it just going to add extra depth. And now what I do is play on my own imagining what they would be doing.
You played at Coachella, SXSW, some of the biggest festivals in the world. Isn’t it crazy for a young girl?
Yes, especially to be in America, as I had never been to America before, and my first time going to America was to support James Bay on tour, and it’s like : “This is so weird“. And I did my own show in New York, in LA, and then I went to Australia and New Zealand, which is completely on the other side of the world. Which is really cool because I don’t think I could ever get to go to those places if I wasn’t doing music, so it’s pretty cool.
But Coachella is very special…
It’s kind of weird, because you’re in the middle of the desert, in a kind of manicured polo field, and there are lots of celebrities, Instagram models, and… I just thought that it was kind of hilarious, but it was very beautiful, it was very pretty, and the music is amazing, and because of the drinking laws in America you can’t hold a drink and watch the gig. Which is actually kind of cool because it means the crowd is not crazy, they are not getting bare and trying to jump on you, everyone is really watching music.
Any friendly meeting, anything unusual at Coachella?
I was watching Disclosure and then this woman came in… pink hair and like a jumpsuit with clouds on it… and I was like : “Hmm funny outfit” and then I looked up and it was Katy Perry. And I was like : “Oh only she can pull that up“, and then she was dancing with a guy and I was like: “Hmmm I wonder who that is“, and then he had this hat and he looks up and it was Orlando Bloom. And I was like here and I’m just kind of watching Disclosure. Then The Weeknd came in with about eight of his crew, it was mental… and apparently a Kardashian came into the dressing room a little bit, but I can’t say… So it was a very kind of strange place, pretty cool, though.
You supported James Bay when he was touring around the US, did he give you some advice?
Yeah, he said to me: “Enjoy everything” because he was like: “You know, it’s gonna get really crazy busy, and really crazy, so you need to make sure that you’re enjoying every little bit” and “Don’t take it too seriously, remember why you’re doing it“. So that’s nice.
Imagine now you can sing with someone. Who will you choose?
Probably Ed Sheeran. Only because he plays the guitar, and I really want a guitar. And I think maybe our voices would go kind of well together. I’m imagining that.
Does he know?
No, he doesn’t. There hasn’t been enough interviews…
He would know now!
That would be kind of cool.
Yesterday during your set, you said that you want to live in Paris. Why?
I love it ! The buildings! It just looks like nowhere else, I think. It is so stunning. And I think, it is so vibrant every day of the week.
If Paris was one of your songs, which one would that be?
Oh, that’s a pretty good question! Probably one of the more kind of uptempo ones… maybe Under Our Feet.
So what’s your project for next year with this album?
I just think I’m just gonna be touring it along, which is going to be great. All the songs are really going to come to life.
Alone or with the band?
With the band. Probably with the drummer as well. And maybe some more string players. And I’ll keep, I think, on writing, I just write all the time. I will probably finish the second album before I finish touring for the first one.
So maybe we can hear some new songs on stage during the tour.
That’s a good idea.
What was your last music crush?
Probably it would be a girl crush… like Beyoncé, her last album is incredible. The best!
What was the last artist you saw on stage?
Birdy. I was there in London on Friday. So good. She’s on tour.
Do you have a good spot in London, a restaurant?
A fair restaurant in London, it’s called The Pollen Street Social, it’s amazing. It’s not too expensive but it’s really good, and there is a fire…
Venues for concerts?
Actually where I saw Birdy, the Hammersmith Apollo, that’s amazing. Brixton Academy, probably the best, I think. The small ones are very cool like Koko, which is only 1,500 places. It’s a kind of old theatre with red curtains and red carpets.
What kind of relationship do you have with your first fans?
I mean, some have been there since the very, very beginning, and they’ve kind of stuck with me all the way. It’s still really early, and they’re really patient. But they’re so lovely.
Interview by Joan and Alexandre
Thanks to Fran