Northampton-raised, Hertfordshire-based singer-songwriter Francesca releases third alt-pop single ‘You’re No Good’ to much acclaim. New Boots joins the praise queue!
New Boots: How did you get into singing and songwriting?
Francesca: I’ve loved singing and performing from a very young age, and went on to study a degree in professional vocal performance. My songwriting journey started around two years ago and has since become my way of channelling my emotions and escaping into my own world. It sprung itself on me totally randomly, I had never even attempted to write a song before in my life. Then I just couldn’t stop…and I’m so glad I didn’t.
How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
My sound is a bit of a mishmash of different genres, it’s not quite “mainstream pop” – but I like to think it’s easy on the ear with some interesting surprises along the way. I love layered, dreamy vocals to use almost like a synth; and stacked harmonies to build texture in percussive sections. I view songwriting as storytelling more than anything else; almost like painting a picture or narrating a movie. My lyrics are primarily autobiographical, and all the tracks that I have released so far stem from the same narrative. Some of my biggest influences are Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, King Princess and Maggie Rogers.
What was the reaction like to those first two singles in 2020? Helpful in keeping your spirits up?
I know everyone probably says this, but I never anticipated to have so much love and support with my art. Everything was so new to me; from sussing out distribution, recording during lockdown, and filming a music video with no budget. With no management or label support it’s definitely been a “learn as you go” journey, but I feel incredibly grateful for the support I’ve received. Having people connect with my music makes it all worthwhile and spurs me on to keep on creating.
Tell us about this new one, You’re No Good’.
I started writing ‘You’re No Good’ two years ago. The feelings I never actually got to vocalise spilled out of me in the form of lyrics in the space of about half an hour – which is how I knew it was special. Once I laid the chords down and began singing it through I felt extremely vulnerable, but also liberated, so I knew I needed to let the world hear it. ‘You’re No Good’ holds a very special place in my heart, as it came from a genuine place of raw emotion that I didn’t know was still lingering at the time of writing it. I sat on it for quite some time, as I was unsure on what direction to take with the production. It was so different to my other releases, which are much more electronic and aggressive sounding.
My good friend George Rose and I finally brought ‘You’re No Good’ to life at Numen Studios back in October 2020. We had decided before the session to not have any drums on the track, as we felt it simply didn’t need them, and we wanted to keep a level of delicacy due to the content of the lyrics. The production was kept relatively simple; with sorrowful strings, piano and backing vocals at the forefront of the mix.
Making this track was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me – I cried like a baby when the initial mix was sent. It was so surreal, hearing the rawest song I’d ever written sound exactly as I’d imagined it to. It’s the best feeling in the world, though.
The response I’ve had from ‘You’re No Good’ has been truly incredible. Having people DM me telling me how much they relate to the lyrics is the main reason why I make music, and I’m so excited to release more!
Have you started with live shows yet?
Sadly not. I planned to start gigging last year after my debut ‘If You Stay’, which was right when the pandemic kicked off in the UK. I’m currently refining my live set, so that I’m ready to jump straight back in when it’s safe. Watch this space!
Are you part of the wider scene? Any favourite acts/venues you wanna shout out to?
My good friend Billy Lockett, whom I’m sure the readers of New Boots are very familiar with! Billy has done incredibly well for himself as an independent artist, and I couldn’t be prouder of him. When I was growing up in Northampton my main stomping ground for gigs was of course the one and only Roadmender – which I hope to pack out one day in the future!
How has all the lockdowns/pandemic been for you? Helped or hindered your creativity?
It’s definitely had its highs and lows. Creativity has been really tough with little to no stimulation from the outside world. But I’ve got a handful of tracks that I’ve written in this time which I’m super excited about. I think it’s so important for us creatives to not put too much pressure on ourselves during a time like this – you can’t force inspiration!
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Collapsed In Sunbeams by Arlo Parks. Holy shit – WHAT an album.
What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Gig. Gig gig gig. All I want to do is play live shows, which I’m sure nearly every musician on the planet would give anything to do right now. It’s so difficult to plan anything at the moment, but the light at the end of the tunnel is approaching. Best believe I’ll be ready mic in hand when it gets here!
‘You’re No Good’ by Francesca is out now via the usual digital platforms