UK based artist Izzy Frances dropped by to have a catch up. In this interview, Izzy introduces herself to new fans, speaks about why music is her medicine and the inspiration behind her latest release, ‘Safety‘.
Introduce yourself (yourselves) and your hidden talent!
Hello! I’m Izzy Frances, a 27-year-old singer-songwriter from the UK! I write and sing mostly in the pop spheres, especially folky-pop and alt-pop spaces, but I’ve also written and collaborated with other people who work in EDM, more rocky, and country spaces. I absolutely love the process of writing, especially when collaborating with others, as if you find the right people where you just ‘click’, then sharing in the energy and love for what your doing makes the whole process more exciting and often results in an even better song! I also love performing, although find this quite scary when I perform alone with just my keyboard, but either way I’m incredibly keen to get back out there again as the world opens up. As for a hidden talent, it’s not particularly hidden, but I studied neuroscience and have worked in neuro/psychological research and am starting my PhD at Cambridge in the autumn.
What made you decide that music is the right path for you?
I think I’ve always known – I’ve always spent a huge amount of time listening to music and awed by how much it can make us feel. I remember watching countless films where it was never the scene, but the background music that would move me to tears, and equally listening to songs that could break you out of your funky mood and make you want to dance. I also loved singing since I was incredibly young, but actually only started writing when I was in my later teens. I’d always wanted to be able to write songs but had never known how to start, and it wasn’t until I had something I really wanted to say that I really started to writing. I remember this feeling of emotion just trying to burst out of me, and when I sat down at the piano it all poured out in about half an hour, and that’s how I wrote my first song. After that I knew this was what I wanted to do, but it’s really hard to actually commit to a path with such uncertainty and also that requires you to constantly be putting yourself in a vulnerable state where you’re constantly asking for the thoughts, and often criticisms, of others. This is important as it helps you to grow as a writer and artist but equally can be disheartening especially when people are discussing something so personal to you, as it comes from you. Ultimately though, once I’d started down the path of writing and performing my songs, I loved it so much that there was no way I could ever stop or look back, and I think that’s what makes all the difference as when you’re doing what you truly love, then it’s going to be worth all the difficult moments.
What’s your writing process like? Do you write the music or lyrics first?
It really varies – if I’m writing alone often I’ll come up with a phrase or short melodic idea that I like first, and then after the initial idea (whether lyrics or melody) I’ll focus on drawing out the melody and use filler lyrics for the time being. Quite often I find I end up using themes from the filler lyrics, as the melody and initial idea are already guiding the vibe of the song, but that being said sometimes it’ll change up completely lyrically. If I’m working on an idea I liked that just popped into my head then this process usually takes between half an hour to an hour, but I also think it’s good practice to write when you’re not feeling super inspired and often then I just mess around with melodic ideas to see if anything takes hold and keep notes of anything I like. When writing with others it is much more variable as it really depends on their process and how you work together. Usually when going into a writing session people have a few ideas down already, so you can then go through them and see if there is anything that’s leaping out at you. If not again depending on who your with you might mess around on the piano / guitar and see what comes up or discuss concepts and get some lyrical ideas down and then come up with the melody… it’s a fluid process and depends on where you’re at, who you’re with and what you want to say.
Do you prefer performing live or recording, and why?
This is a really tough one but I think overall I probably prefer recording because often we start recording when we’ve literally just finished writing (or still are) to get the demo version down or just to blast through straight into the full version. It’s such an exciting time creating music, especially when it’s for the first time, and I think that energy and whole process when you’re in the creative zone and feeling inspired is so incredibly exciting and beautiful. I also do love performing especially when I’m performing with a band or with someone else. I find performing alone quite daunting as there really is nowhere to hide and it feels more pressured but usually once I’ve started my set I get into the groove and always end up having an amazing time.
Tell MoggBlog viewers about your latest release! What’s the inspiration behind that?
So I wrote Safety with Drew Lawrence and Shani Rose in January 2019 in Drew’s studio in LA over two afternoons. I already knew them both so we setup a writing session for when I’d be over and it was such an amazing process (despite my jetlag) – it really makes all the difference working with people you connect and have fun with. We wanted to write something that had a bit of an edge to it and started with the hook ‘treat my love like a gun, take it off safety’ which then set the tone for the whole song, which is about embracing who you really are and not hiding your darker side. I think it’s a topic that is so important today with the rise of social media and mental health problems – people are constantly being fed ideas that they are not good enough, or that this is what ‘perfect’ looks like and it’s not you, or even that ‘without this item ’you won’t know real happiness… and the exposure is constant so it’s ingrained into people’s minds that they need to be ‘better’, or prettier, or to achieve more, in order to be lovable, or to be successful or proud of themselves. So Safety goes against that – it’s written through the lens of a relationship but the takeaway message is that people want to be, and want you to be, authentically you, for the good and the bad bits.