voice on the verge #17: fran rodgers
With a main stage line up that’s distinctly short on female talent – only Charlotte from The Subways gets a look in – the notoriously oestrogen-shy Carling Weekend festivals in Reading and Leeds might not be the first place you’d expect to discover a beskirted new bright light on the folk scene. And yet there you will find Fran Rodgers, a dark-haired siren possessed of a very English musical sensibility and a purity of voice that any lady of the canyon would rightly be proud of. Having secured her festival slot by deservedly winning this year’s Futuresound band contest, Fran will most likely be playing songs from last year’s enchanting I Fell To You Under Winter Sun EP (get this on iTunes) and her upcoming release, The Green Room, out later this year. If you’re going, watch Fran open the Festival Republic stage at midday on Friday and Saturday. If not, content yourself with her answers to our questionnaire and make a mental note to see her if she’s ever in your area. She’s good y’know.
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What’s your middle name?
Louise. Considering my Mum wanted to call me Fleur I think I did alright in the end……
Are you multi-lingual?
I grew up speaking French and English as my mum is French, but I’m very rusty now. I certainly couldn’t write a song in French. Oh god, it’d be awful!
What’s your top household tip?
Clean as you go. I’m obsessively tidy, which I know is very annoying to other people!
What’s the worst job you’ve ever worked and what was so bad about it?
I had a Saturday job years ago cleaning out kennels. It was horrible for obvious reasons.
What did you want to be until you decided to become a musician…if you ever did ‘decide’ that is!
I wanted to be a mathematician. I studied it at university and nearly got a job as an actuary, but realised just in time that I’d be certain to have a nervous breakdown by the age of 30.
What would you be if you weren’t a musician?
A very different person. My whole life is centered around the music scene in Leeds, and I’ve met most of my good friends through it.
What would you tell your 18-year-old self if you could go back in time?
Get a grip!
What did you listen to when you were growing up?
When I was very small I listened to my parents’ records. They had (and still have) great taste in music, so the likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, The Beatles, Leonard Cohen. I went through a Bon Jovi phase and then an ill-advised rock stage before I discovered Radiohead and Jeff Buckley, who had a huge effect on me.
What’s the biggest guilty pleasure in your record collection?
I still have a Bon Jovi tape knocking around somewhere….
Which artist would you most like to work with?
Nick Cave, although I doubt I’d be able to speak to him, let alone sing in front of him.
If you could star in any TV show, past or current, which would it be and what kind of character would you play?
I’d love to be in a Monty Python sketch. The dafter the better!
What was the last good book you read and how did it affect you?
‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy. It made me cry like a baby, but was uplifting at the same time, in the sense that it showed how strong a bond the love between a father and his son can be.
What’s your favourite song to cover and why?
‘Hymne A L’amour’ by Edith Piaf. It’s just so beautiful and a real pleasure to sing.
What’s your favourite poem and how much of it can you recite from memory?
‘She Dwelt Among Th’Untrodden Ways’ by William Wordsworth. I can recite all of it because I wrote a song around it.
What’s your favourite quote?
The epitaph on Spike Milligan’s headstone: “I told you I was ill”
What’s your tipple?
Gin. Preferably Hendricks if I can afford it.
What’s your biggest fear?
Regret. I want to look back on my life and know that I tried everything I wanted to, whether it worked out or not. That and spiders, which is completely irrational.
Would you rather see a ghost or simply have a piece of toast and watch the evening news?
Toast. With loads of butter and raspberry jam. Surely no one would say ghost?
What kind of person would have sex to your music?
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Video from the recording sessions for ‘The Watchman’
Tagged fran rodgers