Courses Studied: BA Music (Popular)/MMus Creative Musician

Year of Graduation: 2015/2019

Top Career Achievements:

  • Playing for Thomann's Music Never Stops Festival
  • My song 'Tracks' being featured on Spotify's editorial playlist 'Easy'
  • Performing live twice on BBC Radio Leeds

Fran is a singer songwriter who produces dreamy indie electronica which draws on inspiration from nature. Whilst performing live, she embellishes her music to create a full band sound by using Ableton, looping and midi controllers. Most recently, Fran performed at Thomann's Music Never Stops Festival and has previously appeared at Long Division Festival and on BBC Radio Leeds

A former postgraduate student on our MMus Creative Musician programme, she received support from the likes of Help Musicians and the Yorkshire Ladies Council of Education towards her studies. We caught up with Fran to discuss her experiences of studying with us. 

Can you tell us a little bit more about your career to date?

I've been self-releasing music for the last few years and until COVID-19 was gigging full-time for events, weddings, bars and the like. I've been lucky enough to perform for Thomann's Music Never Stops Festival this year, Long Division Festival last year and played live on BBC Radio Leeds on a couple of occasions. My most successful song was my single ‘Tracks’, which has been featured on the Spotify editorial playlists ‘Easy' and 'Richer Sounds’ and ‘Fresh Finds’.

How would you describe your music?

I describe my music as 'dreamy indie electronica' that takes a lot of inspiration from nature - it's electronic music for getting lost in the woods to.

How did studying on our MMus Creative Musician programme prepare you for a career in the industry?

Studying the MMus Creative Musician programme was incredibly helpful! It taught me so much about myself by making me explore what it is that I do and how it fits into the industry as well as preparing me to continue that self-introspection after study and keep growing. Before I started the postgrad I wasn't even producing, but the structure of the course allowed me to explore and build new skills which has really developed my sound and helped me to set my music apart.

How important was the support you received from Help Musicians and Yorkshire Ladies Council of Education towards your studies?

The support I received was so beneficial - using these funds I was able to invest in Ableton and Logic Pro X as well as midi controllers which all aided in developing my producing skills and electronic live set. Without this funding I may not have explored these avenues because it wouldn't have been as accessible for me. I'm so grateful to Help Musicians and Yorkshire Ladies Council of Education for their help.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue postgraduate study in music?

Be prepared to come out the other end an entirely different musician with a whole new perspective. One of the things that helped me a lot was to just focus on developing myself rather than worrying about needing to focus on something I'm good at to try and get a better mark. I found it was much better to prioritise nurturing new skills and strengthening my weaknesses.

You’ve done some ‘mini-gigs’ for our friends at Made with Music. How do you make your performances accessible to young audiences?

At the live mini-gig one of the things that worked best was to let the kids come and play around with my Novation Launchpad after my set - it's lit up with pretty colours and it's really easy to make a great sound by just pressing random squares which they had a great time doing. For the pre-recorded mini-gig I focused more on audience interaction by teaching simple clapping rhythms and easy parts to sing along to from home.

What tips would you give someone who wants to build their digital presence and/or audience?

Search for a niche that works well for you beyond the musical genre that you're a part of and then go to that audience and turn up consistently. This means thinking about your audience beyond age and gender and digging into what other things they might be interested in that you're interested in too! Be an active member of that community. Being present in a space that is likely to welcome your music but isn't music-centred is more likely to help you stand out.

What’s coming up next in terms of projects or releases?

Right now I'm working on a few singles for release next year - the first of which is called 'Normal' which I'll be releasing with Saint In The City Records on 28th January 2021. It feels very fitting for the current situation we find ourselves in - I think we're all longing for some normality and to be close to the people that we care about.

Follow Fran on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or bandcamp

Learn more about the Help Musicians Postgraduate Awards programme.

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