Wed, 22 May 2013 10:02:33
Sometimes, when you first meet a musician, you can tell that he or she is destined for superstardom.
That's the feeling you get when introduced to Francesco. Then, when you hear him sing and play, it's supported tenfold. The newest signing to 21 Music/Atlantic Records, the 17-year-old singer and songwriter taps into timeless soul with an elegant and decidedly modern spin. His voice reverberates with true power, and he's got the songwriting chops to make the entire world sing along. He's just what music needs right now…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Francesco talks his song "The Way You Were", his influences, and so much more.
You've got an old school spirit and style, but it's still fresh and modern. How do you describe what you do?
It's funny. You hit it right on the head. I was trying to make a pop album with some throwback influences in there. I listen to a lot of music from the sixties. I call it "Pop Throwback".
How did you get into sixties music?
My parents played a lot of Led Zeppelin, and they really expanded my musical horizons. All of my parents' music was very influential. It was some of the soul from back in the seventies as well. Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway were important. Some of my biggest influences came from Queen and Freddie Mercury. Michael Jackson and Prince are hard to get away from too.
What soul do you come back to?
I have to say Sam Cooke and Donny Hathaway are my favorites. They just resonate with me.
What's the story behind "The Way You Were"?
Well, it's like you know somebody, you care about them, and they switch it up on you all of a sudden. You're like, "What'd you do? Why aren't you being the same? What happened?" There's that line, "Where's the you I believed in?" It's about change in general.
How do songs usually start?
Typically, it's very organic. It usually happens on a guitar or a piano. You try to build a melody around that and go from there.
Is it important for you to tell stories and paint pictures with the songs?
I always like to put a Nashville twist on a pop song. That's what a lot of country songwriters do. There's always a story, and I like to throw that in there.
What's the experience been like hitting the studio and signing to a major label?
It's amazing to work with all of these creative people. It becomes more than music. When it becomes more than music and you're actually having fun with it, that's the best. It's enjoyable. At eleven-years-old, I went in a musical direction, and I never knew anything would come of it. Now, it has. It's incredible.
What's been the most exciting part of all this?
It's a thing that makes me nervous and excited. You think, "Man, the world's going to hear my music". At the same time, you're like, "MAN, the world's going to hear my music". The fact that it gets to be out there is probably the most exciting thing.
Do you dig Francesco?