«We are innately musical creatures, from the depths of our nature.» Stefan Koelsch, professor of music at Freie Universität in Berlin.
A few weeks ago, while listening to British music, I discovered the wonderful Fran Minney on YouTube and stopped by to listen to some of her musical performances. The first thing that caught my eye was the title of one of my favorite songs «Songbird«, performed by a pink haired girl who begins with a colorful greeting saying «Hello, I’m back». I felt at home. As the seconds of the song passed, I felt that it was different from all the versions that I have heard of that song, as if that letter that I know so much came out of its own skin and was dressed in other sonic nuances (very risky and brave), bravery is necessary in the arts to break archetypes and schemes. Fran radiates magnetism, kindness and charisma with her staging and her own personality. I am a crazy music lover, and I recognize when music wants to inhabit me for long hours. I felt like I wanted to hear more versions of Fran, her voice conveys everything a song needs to stop time and observe life through it. Join us to get to know Fran Minney a little more!
¡Hi Fran! I hope you are well, thank you for accepting the invitation to chat a bit about yourself. To begin, tell us where you were born, how was your first approach to music; ¿how did you develop that interest in instruments and singing?
It’s a pleasure to have a chat! I was born in Durham in North East England. My parents met in a choir and my sister played guitar which I remember thinking was so incredibly cool and made me want to do it! These things definitely encouraged me to get into music. I started out just singing in my room – A LOT. And in the car and just endlessly really.
¿Who have been the artists that have influenced you the most throughout your life?
Regina Spektor was a very big influence – listening to her introduced me to songwriting in a way that wasn’t just following basic rules and structures and I think that’s helped me have a more open minded approach to songwriting. Aurora has been a huge influence too and has really shaped my approach to production and layering vocals.
I see that you enjoy playing many styles of music; Do you think it is a maturing process or did you grow up with an open mind to all musical possibilities?
Up until I was about 16 I think I had quite a strict view on what was supposedly good and what wasn’t. That has changed a lot now! Being introduced to lots of different styles has really opened my eyes and I think studying music has helped me to appreciate many more different things.
Now that we live in a globalized world and that digital platforms allow discovering more albums, songs and artists from various musical genres; ¿how do you perceive the music scene in today’s world, what is your way of discovering new music?
My favourite way of discovering new music is to use Spotify radio – especially when it’s carrying on with suggestions from playlists I’ve already made. The algorithm is fantastic! I also love the Hype Machine Stack which is a weekly email featuring new music – I highly recommend this! I think there’s a wonderful opportunity to be heard now – even though there are far more people putting their music online now, making the marketplace more saturated, there are also so many people interested in so many different little niche things that you have the best opportunity in history so far to find the people that love exactly what you’re doing.
A great thinker once said that life without music would be a mistake; ¿have you imagined a life without music? What role does music play in your present, in your daily life and in your personal decisions?
Music plays such a variety of roles in different people’s lives and cultures that it feels very difficult to imagine a life without music. It brings me such a deep joy and makes me feel alive to sing (as cheesy as that sounds!) At one point I did try to give up on music – I think we all hit a wall sometimes where it feels like there’s no point and we should just try to do something else. Within a month I was back to it again because I felt I couldn’t walk away. I truly love it.
When did you decide to create a YouTube channel to perform songs? Do you record and produce the songs yourself? Tell us a bit about that technical part behind the scenes.
I decided to create a YouTube channel just before I went to study music at university – the very first videos are hidden now though, it’s hard to watch them back! I do record and produce the songs myself. I just set up the camera and record a few takes then when I feel I’ve got it in a take I’ll record other angles lip-syncing to the take I’m going to use. I’d love to have a multi-camera set up so I could get all the shots in one go – maybe one day.
For you, what good components must a song have to be a great song?
I think the most important thing is just that it communicates some kind of story. The story doesn’t have to be clear or dramatic – just something that a listener can connect to, even if what they’re connecting to is just a feeling of confusion and “what is this about?!”
Define these 3 artists in one word:
• Noel Gallagher – opinionated
•John Lennon – Icon
• Nina Simone – Emotive
In 2015 you released a song titled (Rise), tell us a little about the lyrics, is it based on your own experience?
One day I woke up with a song to write and out came Rise. It’s the only time I’ve ever written a song in that way. It’s lovely when things just appear out of nowhere like that. Sometimes I’m not even sure what my songs are about until a while later – looking back I’d say yes it is based on my own experience of anxiety and using time in nature and meditation to cope. Quite a lot of my songs have ended up reflecting that in some way or another.
Finally, at what moment are you currently, what new things do you have planned musically speaking in the near future?
I have some releases coming with Saint In The City Records – the next single is called ‘It Stopped Working’ and it’ll be released online on 30th September 2021. I’m so excited for you to hear it. It’s one of the first songs I wrote and never released and it’s been lovely to come back to it and build it into its final form for this release.
Don’t forget to follow Fran Minney social networks!