Francesca Tamellini -
                                                 Giving It Life

She arrived in the midst of a wave of great female artists this site or probably any indie site for that matter has never seen before.   Her music is no frills, mainly just piano and vocals.   So then how did she come to dominate the IMP play charts the way she did?    At times her songs were at both #1 and #2.  This past week at one point she had 3 songs in the top 10!  Not to mention an extremely high debut on the Kayak Big 25.  It's just a fact that her songs have gotten a great response at  She's on 25 stations already.  What we have here is an extraordinary songstress.  I know I was personally captivated within 30 seconds of listening to I Guess I Should Say Thank You, the first song of hers I listened to.  Then I heard I'm Not Baby Anymore which has probably the most contagious melody I ever remember coming from an indie female songwriter.  That song is one for the ages.  There is a vulnerability, a nakedness to Francesca's music - a world that's all her own.  That's why I compared her to Carole King on the site blog.  I remember hearing It's Going To Take Some Time This Time for the first time and what makes the 2 artists similar is that there's this really huge sense that the artist while getting a point across is really singing to herself.  Her lyrics are words that probably remain unspoken in real time.  Yet her statements are clear, she is smart and focused.  I've also witnessed her social media persona on the pipeline and she conveys a humbleness the likes of which I've rarely seen.  There is such a lack of pretension.  Add that to the amount of craft she applies to her songwriting and you get a truly unique combination.  She is a natural communicator and we're just seeing the beginning of what she can bring.   I for one look forward to much more of Francesca Tamellini coming down the road.

Francesca Tamellini  (in case you want to listen while you read)  ______________________________________________________________________________________

     Scott:   Okay, let's start with your songwriting.  Do you have one specific method?  I'm especially curious (because your songs are so well-crafted) if your songs get written and completed pretty quickly or whether you labor over them somewhat?  I'm Not Baby Anymore for instance feels like it might have taken a lot of work to get it all the way there.   Are you the type of songwriter that has songs started 10 years ago that you might finish tomorrow?

Francesca:   Honestly, I write my songs in about a very short time. I can’t plan my music or think about it too much because when I have tried that, nothing ever happens. The only way for me to write music is to just sit down on an uneventful day, and just write it in one go. The words come to me as my fingers press down the keys and I just go from there, jotting down chord notes on the closest piece of paper I can find. 

Scott:  When did you start playing piano and is that you playing on all your recordings?

Francesca:  I always play my own music in all my recordings and I started getting piano lessons when I was eight years old.

Scott:   This next question comes to mind because as I was recording the Kayak Big 25 show I kept stumbling on your name and I rarely do that.  Have you ever released any music under a different name or considered changing your artist name?  That's not to say that it isn't a nice sounding name once I got it down.  :)

Francesca:   I think that I will end up changing my artistic name; I’m still thinking about it currently however. I did have a YouTube channel with some of my older music under a different name but I hope that is now lost to the black hole that is the internet.

Scott:  I compared you to Carole King in the site blog, that's of course a compliment coming from me because I consider her the greatest female artist of all time.  Tell us about the evolution of your singing from back when you first sang til now.

Francesca:   When I was twelve years old I won my school’s music scholarship with my piano and trumpet performance. Part of the scholarship was additional free music lessons, so I decided to take up singing lessons and it just sort of went on from that. I ended up winning a bunch of singing competitions at school, nothing major, just internal things, and sang in a lot of choirs. From about 16 I was recording my own stuff and I kept it up at college. The evolution has come from inside my head. It runs parallel to my life and experience and up till now it has been too personal to share, but I feel that I want to perhaps get a bigger sound. I have done some things away from the solo piano/vocal and collaborated on a couple of electronic tracks which I might put out on IMP, but this was still me putting a vocal over someone else’s track. As he was in New Mexico and I was in Scotland it was still pretty much like solo recording.  I much prefer recording to playing live. Although it is true that there can be a connection to the audience, when recording I can connect with my own thoughts, the things that made the music in the first place.

Scott:   You say in your song you're as needy as hell and you have a temperature you're highly unlikely to survive.  I assume that's autobiographical?  It strikes me as odd because from what I've seen you're relatively self-assured.  Most new artists for instance are timid about getting involved in the pipeline but you speak up there like you've been there all your life.  Anyway I guess my question is, what's your disposition in regards to social media, are you pretty brave or as the song lyrics indicate, is that a bit of a front for how you really feel?

Francesca:   I think one of my greatest abilities, yet also biggest downfalls, is my ability to come across as confident and self assured while inside I’m probably more self conscious than the rest of the world. I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the word ‘front’ for a front is exactly what I hide behind. I am scared to come show how vulnerable I really am so I overcompensate by coming across as the most confident person I can pretend to be. That is not to say I am loud or the center of attention, not at all, quite the opposite in fact, but I don’t allow anyone to ever think they have got underneath my skin, even If realistically they probably have.

Scott:   ok finally you're free and you've learned how to fly.  Is this true?  How hard was it to get to this point?  Are you at a happy point in your life?  How much of your life is your music and what kind of things occupy the rest of it?

Francesca:   I was in a relationship for a long time with someone who, no matter how much I loved and how much they loved me, we tore each other apart and unfortunately he brought out the worst in me. The point to that song is that although I will always love him, I needed to get out of the relationship in order to find myself again. And yes I am happy now. Music is a huge part of my life although not necessarily always my own music. I always have my earphones in at every opportunity to listen to my favorite music because I hate silence. I am just out of college and had limited access even to my beloved piano let alone a nice microphone and digital recording equipment.


Scott:   I notice in your song Naive State of Mind you seem to make a point of things happening in different seasons.  What are your general expectations for summer, fall, winter, spring?

Francesca:   I am always happiest in summer, I always have been. If things go wrong in my life they always start to break down in the fall and they crash and burn in winter. Things start to look up again in the spring. I hope that this year, a year of great change for me, we can skip over the downward spiral of the darker months and I can just concentrate on a never-ending summer.

Scott:   What era of music do you love the most?  What artists do you associate the most positive memories with?

Francesca:    I am young! I grew up with the music of the 21st century. KT Tunstall came from my home town and seeing that she could come from coastal Fife and still make great records was something fantastic. You mentioned Carole King and other people have thrown names like Judy Collins at me, but I only checked them out after I heard these comments (and, seriously, let’s not go over the top!). My dad got me into older stuff. I think I was the only six year old at my school who knew the words to songs by the Clash, and then there are songs that I just picked up, from Little Richard, through Donovan to Aretha Franklin, but I have eclectic taste (like IMP!)

Scott:   There’s rain then rainbows

Like shooting stars the ash will fall

From my volcano

Are you stormy in real time?  Brooding?  What's it like do you imagine being the SO in your life, when you have one?   Does the volcano drive your words and music

Francesca:    You’ve got me wrong! This is the sunshine after the rain. The ash comes from the volcano as beautiful shooting stars, light in the darkness. In Scotland we have depressing rain then beautiful skies full of colour. The volcano, when it is rumbling and threatening is the bad time, then it blows up and releases the joy. (Not so joyful if you live under it, but give me some artistic license!)

Scott:   It seems like you are somewhat driven to have a music career.  If you go at it to the point where all avenues are exhausted, what will become of your music?   Is it a big part of your identity do you think?

Francesca:    It’s not really part of my identity. Some people I know personally don’t even know about my music! Obviously it would be great to have a career doing something I love, but I mostly write my music for myself so if nothing comes of it, it will not be a disappointment, I will still keep writing songs no matter what.

Scott: I ask this question to all Spotlight interviewees, have you had any experiences of high strangeness, like UFOs or the supernatural?

Francesca:    Haha, ummmmmm, I don’t think so, I kind of wish I had though.

Scott:   Do you feel any burden with the expectations those who are loving your music now (at IMP for instance) have for your future music?

Francesca:    Burden……. It still amazes me all the positive response that I have had to my music. I really wasn’t expecting it and still sometimes I feel like people might still just be trying to be nice and not really like it as much as they say! It is a spur – I am more determined than ever to write some new, better material. At the time of this interview I am working with two people from IMP. I am putting a vocal on one track and someone else is putting a backing on mine. This is not a burden!

Scott:    Secretly, how do you compare yourself to current top 40 artists?  Do you feel you're in their league, or possibly better?  (I personally think you're better)

Francesca:     Haha thank you… honestly I have no idea. I have never really had much faith in my music until now, I just wrote songs because I enjoy doing it so in terms of how good or bad they are I really couldn’t say, I guess I will just have to leave that for others to decide over time! I don’t know if I want to be mainstream or not, but I would like to have a choice. It does seem like a closed club.

Francesca Tamellini