We Talk To Singer Frances About Bieber, Making Men Cry And Dealing With Success

The singer-songwriter you will soon be hearing a lot about​

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You've probably heard Frances' singles, even if you haven't quite put a face to a voice yet.

The 23-year-old singer songwriter has burst onto the scene with her flame coloured mane and two summer ballads Say It Again and, our favourite, Don't Worry About Me, in tow.

We managed to grab Frances' for a chat between a couple of her shows to hear all about her musical beginnings, her unabashed love of all things pop and her ability to make grown men cry at the sound of her voice.

Despite an eerie delay on the phone line (she was in Germany) Frances' modest nature and adorable giggle came across loud and clear.

In a world of people who often take themselves a little too seriously, Frances' musical and aesthetic aims are unpretentious and refreshing; she wants to make music everyone can relate to, and she wants to be comfy whilst she does it.

Let's start with when you were younger, were you always musical? Tell me how it all started.

It started really with my mum. She noticed when I was really young that I loved it when she played music around the house so she took me to all those music classes for toddlers. So I started playing the violin and the piano. I was always singing as well and then I started writing songs when I was about twelve. So it's all I've ever done, really.

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What influenced you when you were younger, was it all classical?

The music that I really loved listening to was pop music, just really good pop songs. So when I was a child, I was just a classic girl, listening to Spice Girls and S Club 7. My dad was really into Indie bands, so he used to play me Radiohead and Coldplay and stuff like that. My mum loves Motown and would play me Carole King, so it was really just a weird mix of everything.

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What was your break? 

I went to see this guy who composed music for TV and I went and played him some of my classical stuff. He said it was cool and he liked it, but then I said I sung and wrote other kinds of songs and he was like, 'oh ok, play me one of them.' So I played him one, and then he cried.

You made a grown man cry with your voice? That's quite impressive.

I know.

Well I know you've had some impressive collaborations, like with Disclosure, Greg Kursten (who writes with Adele), that must have been pretty exciting, did you make them cry?

No! It think they're a bit too used to it now, a bit numb now. I mean, they were so amazing to work with. Greg Kursten, I was pretty terrified before I went to have a session with him because of all the major stuff he has done, but as soon as I got in the studio with him I realised he was a completely normal guy. It was a really cool day. So, so cool to work with him.

My fave ❤️ @adele

A video posted by FRANCES (@frances_music) on

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You must have learnt quite a lot.

One hundred percent. He's been doing it for years and years and years, he still has the same level of enthusiasm that I have and I've only been doing it for like a year, if that. So, that was the thing that was really inspiring - that he's enjoying it as much as he did, probably, when he started, which was cool.

And what were Disclosure like?

They are both the most amazing songwriters, all of their music starts from a really organic place, usually sitting by a piano and writing an amazing song, so we really just gelled well in that way. I think they added some amazing electronic stuff on the production side, which is different to what I do. I can't do that. I can write a song, just, but I can't do that kind of amazing electronic stuff.

You've did Glastonbury this summer didn't you?

Yeah, I did a secret set. They announced my appearance fifteen minutes before I went on, just on a little chalk board. Of course I thought no-one was going to come, I thought no-one was going to bother! But it was completely full, like, surprisingly full.

Everyone always says the crowd is best to play to.

Yeah, it's just full of music lovers. Of course you should always expect that at a festival, but you can never be sure what you're going to get. But Glasto in particular, it felt like everyone was there for the music and listened properly to everything, which is nice since it's just me and a piano.

I love Justin Bieber, I think he's amazing. He's incredible on the drums, he writes his own songs, his voice is amazing, he's a great dancer. He's incredibly talented.

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Have you had a moment where you've thought, 'Wow, I'm really doing this, I'm making it.'

There have been moments where I've been like, 'Oh, okay I'm getting to make music for a job.' Playing at Coachella, for example. That's crazy, that's huge. I played Lolapaloza a couple of weeks ago in Chicago, which is one of the biggest festivals in the world.

Obama's daughter was at Lolapalooza this year. She might have been in your crowd.

Imagine! That would be pretty cool.

I saw that you covered Bieber on Radio 1 Live Lounge. Are you a Belieber?

I love Justin Bieber, I think he's amazing. I think because he's so, kind of, young, good-looking and has all of these young fans people can overlook the fact he's a deeply talented musician, one of the most talented that is working at the moment, he's amazing. He's incredible on the drums, he writes his own songs, his voice is amazing, he's a great dancer. He's incredibly talented.

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So I'll put you down as a definite Belieber then. What other artists are you loving at the moment, is there anyone you would like to collaborate with? You're obviously in a great position at the moment, you're shortlisted for the Brit Awards Critic's Choice. People must be running to work with you.

I would love to collaborate with more people, a dream one would be Ed Sheeran. I think that would be amazing. He plays guitar and I can't play guitar. I would love to work with Disclosure again. I always try to collaborate with someone who can do something that I can't do. Like play the guitar or give cool production. Someone who brings something that will make the music go in a new direction, that will contrast with my voice.

Pop isn't a guilty pleasure for you, it's just a pleasure, right?

I love pop music. Pop music is all I've really wanted to write, it's for the people. I guess it's called that because it's what most people can relate to and that's what I want to write about; things that normal people, from all walks of life, can relate to.

@outsidelands ☀️

A photo posted by FRANCES (@frances_music) on

To do that, what's your creative process?

It happens in really random places, like my single, the song called Say It Again, I wrote the chorus in the shower. I planned to write the chorus before this songwriting session, but I didn't really expect to do it in the shower. I think, often, ideas come when you don't expect them to, because you're not thinking too hard about it. So if you take your mind off things the ideas seem to come a little easier.

I wrote the chorus of 'Say It Again' in the shower.

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With that in mind, in terms of your performance of music videos, what are you trying to get across with your aesthetic?

I'm not very experienced with music videos, so I took quite a lot of guidance since I wasn't really sure what my aesthetic should be. I was so into the song and the music. As we started to talk about it I realised I wanted the music videos to be something in their own right, not just an accompaniment to the song but actually to have a real story behind them and something that people will want to watch independently from the song.

The lights you held up in Portugal blew my mind, what a moment! X @edpcooljazz

A photo posted by FRANCES (@frances_music) on

On stage, obviously it's just you and a piano, what are you trying to say with those performances? Obviously you have your amazing flame hair.

Well the hair is pretty useful, it's so bright and big I can kind of get away with wearing quite plain things, because if I wear something too crazy I end up looking hilarious. Everything kind of clashes. When I'm on stage and I'm sat there, playing piano, my main thing is just to be comfortable, which is so sad and stupid, but I literally just want to play the music and play songs to people. 

You're in really good company with the BBC Sound of Newcomers. In the past couple of years you've had Novelist, FKA Twigs, so you're in that league, that calibre of musicians, and you're 23. That's pretty ridiculous. How are you dealing with that?

It's crazy, I'm kind of just taking each day as it comes. It's weird, I get so excited, but then you're so busy, so you're quickly onto the next thing you need to do and then the next. Sometimes you need to sit down and say to yourself, 'Actually what you're doing is really cool. You've done some really, really fun things.' You sometimes need to take a moment to appreciate it all. So I try to do that a lot, because it has been so much fun, but it is easy to get caught up in it all. Especially if you just keep running around!

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