Musicians of all genres agree that they create as a result of a need to express their innermost thoughts and feelings, and by creating art they provide a salve for their listeners who either are or remember experiencing something similar.
Rising star Francesca Louise, however, describes her love for the stage as a more compelling motivation to pursue her craft. Building her foundation in live shows with the likes of the Nashville-based indie folk-rock duo The Harmaleighs and Juanita Stein, formerly of the Howling Bells, Louise describes the thrill of connecting with a room full of strangers. With a new track ‘Out of Sight, (Out of Mind)’ released this month, Louise hopes to reach further into the crowd and provide that authentic experience with her fans.
Listen: Francesca Louise – Out of Sight (Out of Mind) [Live]
“I think the initial desire to write is based on my own self but afterwards it projects on to other people and that adds to the value… as cheesy as that sounds it is genuinely how I feel.”
For many musicians and fans alike it can feel as though there is a wall between the two groups, regardless of social media’s ability to make two strangers feel closer than they would in reality. Many musicians occupy a space akin to an older sibling to fans – we look up to them and their music guides us through our trials and tribulations. When talking to Louise it’s clear that she takes what her fans tell her to heart and builds on that experience.
“It’s interesting to see what people feel after they hear a song of mine and what they think. I did a gig with Echobelly at St Pancras Old Church last year. And one of their fans came up to me and said they really appreciated the fact that I was connecting with my audience that we don’t see that very often. I think that’s such a shame – there’s this invisible wall between audience and performer.”
Ultimately, this ability to connect relies on the ability of an artist to make their listeners feel heard, without them actually sharing anything. It’s an almost instant, primal connection that isn’t possible without the ability of music to facilitate this connection and it requires the musician to act as that emotional vector. An experience that can take a lot out of a musician when the venue empties and the spotlights are turned off.
“I don’t think you would create a connection if you’re not present in that moment and you feel every ounce of the emotion that you felt when writing the song. Music can be visual but before anything else you hear it and you feel it. If you don’t give any of yourself to the moment, whether you’re performing in front of your grandma and her cat, or a venue of 3,000 cats, you will always have the same reaction from the audience.”
The ability to connect in this way requires Louise to unashamedly bare all and bravely express herself. She remains authentic and edits nothing and it’s easy to understand how she enjoys creating this tangible link – it’s human nature to want to connect with people and be liked.
With her single ‘Out of Sight (Out of Mind)’ Louise has set her sights towards picking apart the more female behavioural tendencies. By using the track to express a deep-seated fear of vulnerability in a relationship, Louise has unintentionally opened up the bag of worms that is the societal conditioning of women.
“Far more women seem to feel this way because of previous traditions – women were always the understudy of the ‘show.’ It was a moment in my life where I could feel myself falling into this vulnerability. The fear of if I fall into this I’m going to be exposed, I’m going to lose that control. I think we are in a different climate now with regards to all that, but I still think there’s this kind of feeling.”
It’s almost as if the reason this fear of losing control is so common among women is because it’s the descendent of the age-old dilemma that women feel a perceived need to choose between career or relationship.
“The initial perception of the song would be this dilemma of family versus career. The approach of the song wasn’t talking about that but when you dig deeper – that’s definitely the song.”
Not one to divide opinion, Francesca ultimately hopes that both women and men will find something in the track. It tells a story that regardless of the focus we’re all familiar with, whether that’s through a direct experience or not. “I think that a lot of women will resonate with this, and maybe some men as well.”