Fran Smith is a singer, pianist, and a writer of extremely witty, sometimes caustic, always deeply heartfelt songs.
Her eponymous début EP was self-released in 2012 – without a record label or marketing budget – and has gone on to receive an impressive amount of national airplay on BBC Radio 2, Radio 4 and 6 Music, generating a fantastic response from listeners up and down the country.
Born in Hull and raised in Wakefield, Fran comes from a close, music-loving family – one, she wryly notes, full of “strong, opinionated Yorkshire women.” She shares a birthday with Virginia Woolf and a birthplace with ground-breaking folk music heroine Norma Waterson, neither of which coincidences would be lost on the closer observers of her blossoming career…
Fran’s lyrics are poetic, intelligent, and passionately delivered. Her soulful Northern tones have their roots in English folk, but musically Fran will transport you somewhere else entirely. Her intimate, piano-based songs feel contemporary yet timeless in spirit, and reference the likes of Antony and the Johnsons or Joanna Newsom in their dark, almost baroque quirkiness. Ultimately, she will leave you feeling like you’ve stumbled upon a completely new, unique talent, who transcends lazy comparisons.
As a live performer, Fran is “phenomenal by any standard” (Paul Fenn, Asgard). She has been personally invited to play many high profile support slots for the likes of Martha Wainwright, Athlete, Thea Gilmore, Karine Polwart, Birds of Chicago, Boo Hewerdine, Po’ Girl and legendary punk poet John Cooper Clarke.
In the past 18 months, she has performed all over the UK, from London’s Union Chapel to Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, Sage Gateshead and York Grand Opera House. Fran rounded off an amazing 2013 by performing three exceptionally well-received shows in Raleigh, North Carolina: her first taste of gigging outside of the UK.
In September 2013, Fran was personally chosen by the BBC’s Head of Live Events, Jason Carter, to perform at Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park. The online buzz surrounding Fran’s appearance on the BBC Introducing stage led her to become the “Most Shared Act” on the festival’s website, beating the likes of Jessie J, Josh Groban and the Manic Street Preachers. Jo Whiley included Fran’s performance in a special New Year’s Day programme celebrating Radio 2’s “Live Music Highlights of 2013″.
Fran has performed live on Radio 2’s popular “Good Morning Sunday” breakfast show, and on Radio 4’s prestigious programme “Loose Ends”. Counting themselves amongst her ever-growing fan base are Steve Lamacq, Bob Harris, Janice Long, Simon Mayo, Mark Radcliffe, Simon Raymonde (Bella Union), Chris Hawkins, David Quantick, John Robb (Louder Than War), Shell Zenner (Amazing Radio) and The Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone.
Fran will record and release new music in 2014.