Exclusive: Rising Artist Francesco Yates Talks Pharrell, Tour + More
Those of us over here at Buzznet had the opportunity to interview rising R&B phenom Francesco Yates. The 19-year-old Yates has recently unleashed the second track from his forthcoming debut album, “When I Found You”. His new single, follows “Call”, a track referred to by Justin Timberlake as “the Summer Jam of 2014.” For his debut album, Yates has enlisted the help of well-known producers such as, Pharrell Williams and Robin Hannibal (of Rhye and Quadron). We got to talk with Yates about working with such well known producers, touring with Texas R&B sensation SoMo, and more during our interview, which you can check out below!
There have been so many big moments for you, being tweeted at by Justin Timberlake, playing guitar for Pharrell…what has been the highlight of your career up to this point?
All of those that you mentioned are big moments for me, as a musician. I think the highlight is somewhere in between getting into the recording studio and live performances. I definitely love being in the studio and creating music. It’s therapeutic for me. I also love performing live for audiences and sharing my music.
Are there any challenges with being recognized by such big names in the industry?
Some may say there is a pressure once a public figure has taken notice of your work but it’s a challenge I am willing to take on. It’s a positive challenge for me. It motivates me and I love rising to the occasion.
You cover some really great songs and have worked with some amazing producers; if you could collaborate with anyone, who would you choose?
Quincy Jones has produced so much music I have loved from the past. He is a producer I’d love to work with in a studio in my lifetime. In terms of musicians, I would have to say Prince. I am heavily inspired by the mystery that is Prince.
You said in an interview that at 12 years old, you stayed up until 4am writing songs. What is the process for you like today?
I was very new to it all back then, spending lots of time trying out new things. Today, I still spend lots of time in the studio but there is no real blueprint that I follow every time I go into the studio. One thing I have learned from Pharrell is not to over think anything. As a result, I only recorded my vocals 3 or 4 times for each song on the album and give it my all.
You play the guitar, piano, and drums. Are there any other instruments you’d like to pick up?
Lead electric triangle? Perhaps one of music’s greatest and most underrated instruments.
What was the inspiration behind your new song “When I Found You”?
That song was originally a much softer pop song and it became a darker and edgier song as we worked on it. The song is about a special person in your life who has your back no matter what and is able to pull you out from a dark point. Lyrically, I wanted to emote that feeling you get when it finally clicks that you’ve found that special person and you’re willing to do anything to make it last.
How does “When I Found You” differ from your last single “Call”?
My first single “Call” is a much lighter song in contrast to “When I Found You” which is heavy and dark musically. “Call” has elements of house music whereas “When I Found You” ventures into more of a hip hop territory.
You’ve been on the road with SoMo, how has that been?
The Wide Awake Tour has been an incredible experience so far. This is my first tour in the US and I’m enjoying every minute of it. Every night I have a new opportunity to share my music with a new audience and it’s been pretty special to meet fans after the show and take pictures with every last one of them. SoMo is great to watch and learn from as well. Coincidentally, we’re born on the same day (September 11th) so we have a lot in common. It’s especially interesting to see how different cities react to different songs in my set. I’m learning a lot and trying to take it all in
What was it like working with Pharrell and Robin Hannibal?
I have great respect for both Pharrell and Robin Hannibal. With Pharrell, who many people know, it was really refreshing to be able to just sit and chat with him about music. We get caught up in conversations about almost anything music related. Our relationship on a musical level grew very organically. He works closely with Leah Labelle, who is also signed to the same management company as me (Chris Smith Management). He has been a huge supporter of my music and taught me some important lessons about myself and my music. He actually encouraged me to include my rock influences and incorporate that rock sound into my music. With Robin, who some may know from Quadron and Rhye, we had an instant chemistry in the studio, musically. It was important that I connect with a producer who understood my vision.
What can your fans look forward to on your album?
I’m very proud of my debut (untitled) album. It’s been a long time coming and I think people will really be able to enjoy this from the first note to the very last track. My goal with this album is to reintroduce the full length album, something that people can enjoy as a full body of work instead of just a few select singles or tracks. The root of my sound is pop, but I’ve incorporated all of my music influences including rock, r&b, soul and a bit of funk. With this album, fans will get a little bit of everything but the common thread holding it together will be my voice.
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