INTERVIEW WITH ENGLISH FOLK ARTIST FRANCESCA LOUISE
London based Folk Pop artist Francesca Louise is making a name for herself with her intimate and moving tunes. The singer-songwriter has played live sessions for BBC Introducing amongst supporting bands like Echobelly. Her new EP “Melancholic Antidote” is chock full of pensive and melancholic Folk Pop numbers. It’s a collection anchored by charming acoustic guitar melodies and wispy harmonies. I chatted with Francesca via email about her EP which you can read below!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: How did you get your start as a Folk musician and singer-songwriter? What was it about folk music in particular that drew you in?
FRANCESCA LOUISE: I was involved in music from a very young age as my mother is a professional pianist, music teacher and founder of a choir. Carole King was introduced to me at young age, as well as groups like Fleetwood Mac and David Cassidy, so folk-pop, folk-rock were very much present whilst growing up. I guess that early influences such as this were the starting point for my eventual shift into songwriting and folk music generally. The honesty and purity behind folk music is was drew me in. You can hear the truth in the instrumentation and the vocals the passion and drive and need to tell a story. I don’t think you did that much sincerity anywhere else in music.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Let’s talk about your new EP ‘Melancholic Antidote’. What’s the inspiration behind it? What was the writing and recording process like for you?
FRANCESCA LOUISE: The writing process was most likely the easiest part for me. I was alone with my guitar or piano. I had no-one to show up for, at this point I was showing up for myself really. It is only when I have written a song and decided I want to share it with an audience I begin to feel like I have a responsibility to give 100% of myself to others. I think that songwriting is a shared art. You’re offering a very private element of yourself to others. The recording process and the lead up to it was so much fun, so tiring and at times stressful! But sharing the experience with an awesome group of people just made for an incredible few months. We worked with James Wyatt at Sloe Flower Studios, Chester, UK and what a dream he was to work with. His understanding and ability to put himself in the musicians shoes was unbelievable. I don’t think the EP would have turned out quite like this if it weren’t for his approach and working ethic.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: One of the standout tracks for me is ‘Seasons Change‘. It’s lush and gorgeous and is very reminiscent Joni Mitchell. Can you dive more into the backstory on this song?
FRANCESCA LOUISE: Thank you so much, Joni is my idol! I was given the opportunity to pick up sticks and essentially begin a new journey in life a few years back. I had hit the yes button and even prepared everything needed to make the move but something didn’t sit right with me. This song was the bridge between my head and my heart really. Now, I realise, that the song means so much more to me than I initially intended it to. In the lyrics I reveal so much about my life at that point in time, that even now I cannot touch base on every aspect of the song as it is so complex.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What was most difficult track for you to pen on the EP, ‘Melancholic Antidote’?
FRANCESCA LOUISE: ‘Seasons Change’ 100%. I think because of the number of meanings it has (which is also very representative of my state of mind at that point in my life), the writing process was long and really quite difficult. I couldn’t make sense of my emotions, which really showed in the writing process. I would hit a brick wall and have to come back to it days later. It is most likely the most time consuming track I’ve written to date.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What’s a typical writing and creative process like for you as an artist?
FRANCESCA LOUISE: I tend to noodle on the guitar, or the piano, for a little while searching for chord progressions and hooks to work from. Sometimes very little comes of it, and I have to really dig deep for inspiration. But other times it just flows out of me like water and I can’t seem to stop! Lyrics come second, always. I find my mood in the harmony and make sense of tit in the lyrics.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What lyric have you’ve written you feel most emotionally connected to at present moment?
FRANCESCA LOUISE: ‘Everyone thinks they’re alone in this / Perfect world of painful bliss / Body, mind and soul in everyone I’ve come to know / Craves my autumn leaves’. This lyric is from ‘Seasons Change’ and really hits home for me at the moment. Living through a global pandemic can surface many emotions and past omens when we have so much time to sit with ourselves and listen. As long as we know that we are all in this together we can learn that life is still be beautiful.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What was your favorite album as a kid?
FRANCESCA LOUISE: The Corrs. My Dad and I would blast their Greatest Hits in the car wherever we went. My favourite track on that album was by far ‘Run Away’. I would love to see them live some day, or have them play strings and sing with me on my very own record. WHAT A DREAMMM.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: If you got the chance to write a song based on your favorite book. What book would that be and why?
FRANCESCA LOUISE: I have so many books that I could call favourites but a recent book that was very inspiring was Kate Atkinson’s ‘Life After Life’. The story follows the life of a little girl, into adulthood. But the twist is that as you read you are transported from one version of her life, to another, with each version overlapping the other in one way or another. It brings to light that each tiny decision made by every single person on this planet can alter the course of ones life rapidly, without you even being aware. Life is rather bloody fantastic isn’t it!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What has been your most fun or memorable gig that you’ve played?
FRANCESCA LOUISE: I supported an 80s Brit-Pop band at St Pancras Old Church in London last summer. That gig was what made me realise that I should believe in my music more and keep that hunger to share what I create with as many people as possible. The response after the show was unbelievable and the audience were so attentive. I felt like I knew them all (all 300 of them!).
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What’s your earliest musical memory?
FRANCESCA LOUISE: I sat at my mum’s piano at 3 years old singing The Everly Brothers ‘Bye Bye Love’ and “playing” the chords on the piano. That clip ends up playing on the VCR every few years haha!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: To close! Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you lately? What music have you been listening to?
FRANCESCA LOUISE: Ferris and Sylvester have been on repeat with their latest lockdown singles. I have also been listening to Nadia Sheikh’s latest EP ‘Everybody Hears But No Ones Listening’. Samantha Crain has released an incredible album on Lucy Rose’s new record label ‘Real Kind Records’ and that has been on serious repeat since it came out last month. I have seen all of these artists live and their live shows are something not to be missed.
FRANCESCA LOUISE // SOCIALS