It’s important to look for silver linings in times of uncertainty. They say that when a door closes a window opens, or words to that effect, and it’s just a matter of finding it. There’s a lot that we’ve been lacking in this year, but one thing we have no shortage of right now is time. Time that can be spent discovering new music; finding records to get lost in and absorbing every last note, stumbling upon artists whose words resonate in the deepest recesses of your soul. One of my favourite such discoveries from this year has been the incredibly talented Francesca Louise, whose debut EP Melancholic Antidote delivers just what its title promises. Her earnest lyricism and the welcoming embrace of the soulful folk arrangements offers the perfect sanctuary to escape to. Having nothing but time also meant I was lucky enough to chat to Francesca about her stunning new record.
Thanks for your time! How’ve you been coping these crazy last few months, and how have you been keeping busy?
It really has been quote-unquote a ‘crazy last few months’. Like everybody else there have been ups and downs, but being around family and having my music to focus on has been a god send. I’ve been doing a lot of gardening and crafts as well to keep my mind active and to try and control my pandemic driven anxiety and it has worked absolute wonders.
You’ve just released your debut EP Melancholic Antidote. Are you happy with how it turned out and with the reception it’s had?
I did indeed, and what a relief it was to finally get it out there for you all to hear! I am really happy with the result of this record. I think it has been a solid starting point for my craft and the positive response and love I’ve received after its release has just made me want to work hard for more as an artist. As long as people enjoy the music and keep listening then I’m a happy chappy.
My highlight of the EP is ‘Season’s Change’. While much of the record is quite stripped back, this track comes out with something grand and triumphant in its closing moments. How did that come to life?
So I always knew that this song was going to be the biggest on the record. I had a vision for this song from day one (back when I wrote it two years ago) and in a live context we were able to bring that vision to life a little more than I can achieve with a guitar and my voice. When we got to the studio I couldn’t wait to start adding the other instruments for the closing moments; the glockenspiel, the chorus, the strings; becoming that life it was waiting for.
I really love the openness you show in your lyrics, the way you wear your heart on your sleeve. Writing like that must be a very therapeutic process, but do you feel nervous when it comes time to share the songs with the world?
You’re so right – it is a really therapeutic process for me. I write from catharsis so my own life events tend to be what spark an idea, and the process of writing helps me to come to terms with these events. When it comes to sharing my work, I do feel a slight nervousness but it is completely overridden by the total admiration for the audience willing their time to share with me and to listen to my moans and groans in song form! Haha! I feel so grateful that I get to share myself this way and in all honesty, the more I share the better and better I feel about what may have happened for that song to arrive. They say that talking about it heals, and that’s what I do.
Of course people attach their own meanings to songs when they listen, and even more so when they perform them. If you could choose one artist to do their own version of one of your songs, who would it be?
I would cry if Carole King were to sing one of my songs! Of course, that will never happen, but I think that she would bring out a whole new side to my songs if she were to add her vocal magic to it. Another incredible artist is Lucy Rose. I think she would just swim her way through my lyrics with her beautifully silky vocals and I’d just be dreaming.
You seem a big believer in people finding comfort in sad songs. What songs do you turn to when you’re feeling down?
I turn to the more indie-folk stuff. Iron & Wine speak to me, as do The Paper Kites and Lucy Rose and Bon Iver. My taste changes often, so I float from artist to artist depending on how sad I really am feeling, but the genre of music is always the laid-back indie-folk stuff.
You’ve also just released a stunning new music video for ‘Out of Sight (Out of Mind)’. What was your favourite part of the whole filming experience?
The beach was so much fun. I have to say, that we were SO lucky with the weather (living in the North West means that sunshine isn’t commonplace). If it had been windy, cold or damp the whole process would have been totally different. So thank you universe! My cousin is the dancer in the video and the videographer went to my high school so it was a bit of a family affair really, which made it even more fun.
What do you hope the future holds once things settle back down to normal?
The plan is to continue writing and releasing music as time goes on. It would be brilliant to get some festival slots for 2021 and get back on the road playing gigs across the UK and wherever else they will have me! Fingers crossed!
Many thanks to Francesca for her time! Her debut EP Melancholic Antidote is out now!