Get ready to rock out with Francesca Lu, a rising star in the indie music industry! With years of experience as a lyricist and vocalist, Francesca Lu is now releasing her debut single "Saturday Soon" as part of her upcoming EP, which is infused with hope and explores the contrast between expectations and reality. Her music is influenced by some of the greats, including Mitski, St. Vincent, Amy Winehouse, and Phoebe Bridgers. So, get ready to groove and get to know Francesca Lu as we chat about her creative process, inspirations, and dreams for the future!
Hi Francesca! It brings us immense joy to have you join us in Soundville.
Hello! Thank you so much, this is my first ever interview as a recording artist and about my music. So I appreciate you being so complimentary and supportive of me.
As a gifted and multifaceted vocalist, you first captured the world's attention with your debut single, 'Saturday Soon.' However, let's take a step back and delve into the roots of your musical journey. We believe our readers would be fascinated to know when and how you discovered your passion for music.
Being 5 years old and singing is likely one of my first clear memories. Particularly one time on holiday in a caravan; I just have that moment in my head of me singing - and in hindsight experiencing a ton of clarity about singing being a part of myself.
Reason being– like everyone, I’d dabble in various things growing up during and thereafter, and had dreams of being x or y in a few hyped up phases of life, but with singing - it’s something I’d occasionally hype up as THE THING I HAVE TO DO - though mostly it has always just been this is the thing for me.
Music outside of that completely went hand in hand; I always cared about getting to know artists and genres and what I enjoy / don’t enjoy about music. Songwriting I started to do when I was 8 or 9, using some spare exercise books from school. And then producing is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, though I only really started to teach myself how to do it around 18 months ago, when I started creating the demos for my EP!
We've been loving your debut single 'Saturday Soon' and are curious to learn more about it. What inspired you to write this song, and what is its meaning to you?
Thank you! I was in a particular phase of songwriting and a particular phase in my life. So with songwriting, I was inspired by The Mountain Goats to write lyrics with a more narrative structure. With their song This Year - I think if you listen super closely, that influence on Saturday Soon could likely still be heard even now. At that point in my life, I was experiencing workplace dynamics properly for the first time - and the social life that would often come along with it.
For me, the meaning of the song is centred on the overhype // underwhelm of living for the weekend (even if the weekend in that instance is Thursday night at Spoons). And how in some circumstances, the only thing making the day-to-day better with your co-workers is making weekend plans with the whole team, or talking about who did what with who or who went out etc the weekend prior. It’s a super enticing idea to place hope in - that nights like that will resolve tension - personally and/or in the workplace. But if it takes you hoping that everything will feel better connected when everyone is drunk and dressed up… then maybe you just have to acknowledge the weight of the disconnect you feel more.
Additionally, could you tell us a bit about the creative process behind it, such as how the lyrics and melody came together?
The lyrics I mostly wrote at the time I was in that workplace - literally. I was working at a box office and was scribbling down two drafts of the lyrics on ticket paper - which I recently got from storage so that’s cool! The melody has been consistent for a while because it was so inspired by This Year lyrically and that reference for the melody too just fit.
The last part of the chorus Saturday! The time you say hello Saturday! There’s nowhere fast to go + the hook Show me a little, give me a spill-full is from a couple of years ago when I was first working on the song again.
In those moments, the melody switches up slightly in a way that has a more pop-rock melody influence to it - which makes the song feel complete to me.
'Saturday Soon' is a true euphoria! I feel your music is described as having alt-pop and jazz influences.
Appreciate those descriptions! I know the track has been played on Rock & Metal radio streams too - it’s cool how much influence people pick up from it because I do feel very chaotically inspired by a ton of styles.
Between these genres, which one do you feel more connected to, and why?
It’s a tough question! Alt-pop is a genre I consistently listen to and connect with more, because it is one of the largest and most exciting genres for independent, multi-genre artists at times. Though with Jazz – I listen less, though the connection usually feels deeper overall? Amy Winehouse, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald – I couldn’t say I’m the biggest, more knowledgeable listener, though they all have songs that I deeply care for and will always have a place in my heart and be influential to me.
SO, both genres, but in different ways.
'Saturday Soon' has been in the making for over a decade - we're dying to know what was in that secret sauce all this time! Could you share the intriguing details of its evolution?
The secret is I couldn’t figure this song out and had limited resources to collaborate on it! So in 2013 I likely had the first lyrics and melody in acapella, in 2016 I had a fun collaborative play around with it and it felt more folksy still, it wasn’t feeling quite right. A couple of years back that beabadobee kind of influence with new lyrics incentivised me to really consider that direction when it came to producing the song myself. And in the last year or so – there’s been maybe 10 versions of Saturday Soon! The one before this one I spent months on, I was mixing it and not feeling it. I had a nagging sense of creating a whole new version, and I did so in one late afternoon - late night stint. It felt right. The newest reference was Paramore’s This Is Why (which I don’t think you can hear at all but I KNOW it’s there!). I was going for chaotic apathy, instead of just apathy - and thinking of the journey of apathy to hype to apathy once more. And within a week, I had the final version ready to mix.
Francesca, your debut EP is coming out soon. Can you share any stories from the recording process and what listeners can expect from this release?
The recording process has been magical and intriguing at times, though in other instances long and relentless - which I’m sure many recording artists and producers totally understand. Many songs are from various moments in my life that have a similar theme within them - from 10 years ago to 1 year ago.
Listeners can expect a lot of variation and apathy and hope from this EP!
We're interested in your creative process when it comes to recording a new song. Could you walk us through the steps you take from the initial idea to the final arrangement? For instance, do you start with a melody or a specific lyric, or does it vary from song to song? Additionally, how do you make decisions on the final arrangement, such as choosing the instrumentation and the overall sound?
I will say, in terms of the whole song-making process including producing, mixing and mastering - never a similar experience right now! Though the initial points are almost always lyrics first, sometimes lyric and melody. Or at least one specific phrase that I note down, and it may inspire me to go through my other notes of lyrical phrases and see the song I can construct with them. In a few instances, the melody feels most important but the lyrics I won’t feel as attached to - so I will have all these voice notes that I’ve gotta review.
Your TikTok channel is like a black hole - we can't stop scrolling. How did you come up with the idea for it and what keeps you motivated to keep creating?
Thank you! I do enjoy the instant nature of it - I know that can reduce the quality of what you create sometimes, though also I think it can increase the quality of how you create - you can let go of certain anxieties or perfectionist tendencies to embrace the opportunity to share. The frequency of output can give some momentum to your creative energy - I am currently a little burned out with it. I try to interact with TikTok when I can embrace those benefits and when I’m not experiencing the downside of it instead.
Can you share some behind-the-scenes secrets on how you come up with your hilarious skits and videos?
It’s at a stage right now where I’m not sure I could! It keeps being in flux - sometimes I get a ton of energy to be on screen and anything I’ve bookmarked will then inspire me to be interactive. That’s the same with editing - I’m a little all-or-nothing with it these days, and I don’t love that!
Besides TikTok, we know you're also a curator of Spotify playlists. That's so cool! How did you get into curating playlists, and what's your process for selecting and organizing the songs? Also, could you tell us more about your playlists' themes and what kind of music we can expect to find on them?
Thank you, it is cool! I first started because I knew I was getting bored of my playlist selections, and when queueing up stuff for myself, I kept being amused and drawn to creating chaos in those mixes - and that those chaotic mixes actually could form a cohesive listening experience somehow. So, Sunday’s Mix is a weekly mix and my main one where we do just that. Sunday’s feel like a day where we’ll try to force ourselves to go easy by relaxing, to prepare for the week ahead, but usually you’re feeling and craving a lot - so some creative chaos is a good way to exorcise that!
It also gives me a chance to put artists with 5 monthly listens next to a Bon Iver track or something - because it is a place where underrated artists aren’t only recognised for being new or underrated, but for having quality tracks worthy of being alongside other quality tracks, without having to pay a price for that.
I have draft folders, screenshots of videos, emails + dms of submissions & requests, and my own discovery playlists to listen to; I keep as many songs as possible on hold for the playlist. There’s about 500+ songs in the main folder that have been selected for Sunday’s Mix constantly!
Let's say you wake up tomorrow with the ability to possess a superhuman power. What would be your ultimate dream power and what kind of spandex bodysuit would you rock to fight evil and save the world?
Well spandex suit aside- it’d feel too restrictive - I like the phrase ultimate dream power a lot!
I don’t think it would be switching up my outfits like in the Saturday Soon visualiser - although convenient for me, no evil-fighting / save the world vibes there.
I’d love to have the ability to know the ultimate solution to a problem. So part psychic and part superhuman pattern-recognition that leads to an accurate outcome capabilities? Helping people know where best to place their hope in a crisis, though then it may not be hope at all then, would it?