Elissa Franceschi's Olympic Dream
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She was one of the first acts confirmed and now she’s gearing up to sing at one of the biggest gigs of her career so far. No pressure, Elissa Franceschi. Yes, she is one of our Emerging Icons chosen to perform on our stage at the Olympics this summer. It didn’t take long for this sparkling songwriter to get in the running for selection; her thoughtful lyricisms and cracking pair making her very popular. Pair of lungs, obviously. Don’t be uncouth.
We wanted to get to know our line-up a little better before we let the global population get their international paws on them, so this is the first of our artist interviews in the race to the Olympics. We said that last bit because of the athletics and that. Today we talk business, family and getting intimate with animals with our resident vocal powerhouse…
So, Britain is holding their first Olympic Games in 64 years and millions of visitors from around the world are due to descend on the capital. You're going to be in the spotlight. How are you feeling...?
Excited and very honoured to have been asked to represent the unsigned UK music scene at such a global event. When I heard we won the Olympic bid I was 18 and wrote a letter to my 25 year old self, so that I could open it when the Olympics happened to see if I had accomplished anything from my bucket list… but I would never have expected I’d be singing at it, so that’s beaten the whole list!
Part of the reason you've landed this opportunity is down to your fans voting you there- you must have a pretty good relationship with your following?
My fans are amazing, very loyal and supportive and the best thing about social media these days is I get to interact with them on a daily basis. I become a bit of an agony aunt to some of the younger female fans which is very rewarding for me, so for them to have helped me get this opportunity is so appreciated.
Before you even got involved with Emerging Icons you've had three albums done and dusted... and you're only 24...?! Have you always been such a hard grafter?
I think so, I just have a lot of goals I suppose. Writing music is such a release, it’s the way I express myself and I get such a kick out of being in the studio producing or on stage with my band, that it just makes sense to share as much music as I can. Dave Matthews releases a mammoth volume of material, if fans want your music, why not give it to them I reckon!
What's been the best piece of advice you've been offered along your journey as an emerging artist?
My good friend and guitarist recently got in my face and told me to let go a bit and let people help me out. I’m such a control freak and have done everything on my own thus far, so to build a team around my music and trust them with the vision has been difficult. But really, you are nothing without your team and I can’t juggle every plate. That’s been quite a turning point for me I think and we’re adding to the team every month, it’s very exciting.
What drives you to keep pursuing your music?
Well I think to pursue any insurmountable goal, you have to be a little nuts, have some balls and a conviction that you were supposed to do something. My family and my dear friends support me along the way and pick me up after every disappointment, teaching me to be patient and keep my eye on the prize and I suppose that at the end of the day- the drive itself has to be the raw passion for music. I can’t imagine ever losing that because it’s intrinsically a part of who I am.
With all your experience and efforts to build your profile, what would you say to anyone looking to start get involved with the music industry?
Take the time to engage with your fans, this is paramount. Collaborate with others and don’t be afraid to try something new. Surround yourself with people who will be honest with you and push you to be the best, because we can’t always see that in ourselves. Never lose sight of who you are. So many industry people have tried to change me into something I’m not and at the end of the day you only have your integrity, so make music that makes you happy and satisfies you. The money and the fame is secondary and you have to tour that material for years so you’d better like it!
There's been the Osmonds, the Minogues, the Gallaghers... it would seem that the Franceschis are the newest dynasty to hit the music scene. (Elissa’s brother is Josh, lead vocalist of You Me At Six.) Has your bro been supportive of this latest venture with us?
Ha! Dynasty, maybe who knows! Yes, Josh is incredible and he does what he can. He is so busy we’re often sending transatlantic texts back and forth. We’re collaborating on something really special this summer though so I cannot wait for people to see that…
Your vocal cameos for You Me At Six meant you've already had a taste of playing big shows- did they unlock any secrets of how to control nerves?
Those shows were so overwhelming, Wembley was nuts, my knees were knocking together and my hands were shaking so bad I had to grip the microphone. Even now with small shows I get that! The lads all have their individual pre-show rituals… I’m kind of like my brother in that I have to get away from the crowds backstage just before and have some ‘me’ time. I will just go into the loos and do my make-up and some deep breathing, vocal warm ups and give myself a little pep talk if I’m feeling insecure. My back up singer is great at boosting me up before I go on stage as well. People assume you have it under control all the time but the nerves never go away, and so they shouldn’t because it means you still care about smashing it!
Apart from the chance to sing, what else are you looking forward to on your trip to the Olympic Park?
I cannot wait to just soak up the energy, having so many different cultures in one place and everyone there to support the athletes is just a fantastic, positive thing and so great that we can host it in the UK.
One last thing... your Facebook profile says you're into goat kissing. We want an explanation.
Wow, I did not see that coming! That just goes to show folks, be careful what you write about your life online because the internet never forgets. That’s something I did with an ex-boyfriend, quite tame I assure you. It’s basically a kiss on the nose, it feels like a goat sucking on your finger- (which I used to do as a kid, going to farms, as you do!)
To check out more from Elissa, head over to her Emerging Icons profile here.