Forbes contributor Hugh McIntyre names Francesco Yates one of the four singers you need to know for 2015

Francesco Yates _ Forbes
Photo Courtesy of Atlantic Records / Jimmy Fontaine

“Though only a teenager, Yates already has some of the biggest stars on the planet shouting his praises, with Pharrell going so far as to say “He’s absolutely gonna be just a huge, huge, huge pop star.” The exceptionally talented multi-instrumentalist and singer recently stirred up some noise with his latest jam “Call.”

Music Connection Features Francesco Yates: Signing Story

Story Courtesy of

Pharrell Williams and Timbaland agree that Francesco Yates is a “huge pop star” ready to “shock the world.” Not too bad for a guy who signed with a manager at 14 and inked a deal with Atlantic Records just two years later.

Now, 18-year-old Yates hopes to soak-up every bit of “insider” wisdom the industry can afford—while still maintaining his unique artistic integrity.

“There’s a certain amount of studio etiquette that is needed,” Yates explains. “You learn to work with writers and different people, and you do that through the experience they give you. To have these people around who let me work in the highest place that I can creatively, it’s great.”

Yates’ fresh, youthful vibe allows his sound to grow in a very natural, go-with-the-flow fashion. Thankfully, Atlantic has strongly encouraged such creative freedom, since Yates proved himself a strong and dedicated musician from the get-go. “It’s about identity,” he says. “If you come in with a strong sense of identity, people will support you with it. Atlantic helped build [my name] organically, from the ground up.”

“If you come in with a

strong sense of identity, people

will support you.”

The Toronto native finds this artist development process most rewarding, especially since it is an authentic, never-ending practice.

Yates explains, “I was fortunate enough that they were supportive of the direction I chose, given the many directions I tackled.” He says there’s now ample space to pursue the music he’s always wanted to create, in a team environment that supports and eventually enhances individuality.

“In most cases,” says Yates, “the label expects you to be ready with your sound once they sign you. [Atlantic] takes the time, and I appreciated that during development.”

So it took a few years, but after some intense self-discovery and harmonic enlightenment, the young music-maker is finally prepared to release his debut album, which includes the soul-infused single, “Call.”

Yates, who played guitar on Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Gust of Wind” featuring Daft Punk, quotes his musical mentor as saying, “‘The world wants to feel good again.’

“And I want to help with that,” Yates enthuses. “There’s a movement going on, and I want to be a part of it.” – Danica Bellini

Francesco Name “Artist You NEED To Know About Now”

If MJ were still alive, he’d be a fan of this 18 year old music prodigy, that’s almost for certain. Don’t let his age fool you or turn you away — this kid is a legitimate old soul.

He reminds me of an early, early Robin Thicke (back when he had long hair, was biking through the NYC streets and only went by his last name). His MJ influences are super apparent, but not copycat. You can tell he has a wide range of musical knowledge, so, props to him.

I can already see his show merch, adorned with a silhouette of his afro. He’s already got Pharrell and Justin Timberlake backing him, too, so watch out, music world!

Track you must hear: “Call”



Francesco Yates for UNIQLO’s Global Fall Winter Campaign

The global clothing retailer, UNIQLO, known for it’s collaborations with trendsetting celebs like Pharrell Williams, has just announced their global “Faces of Fall Winter 2014 ‘People’ Campaign. Francesco Yates can be seen rocking some of their new gear in the recent campaign, which will celebrate the launch of new store openings in Boston, Los Angeles & Philadelphia. The campaign features a ‘cast of forward thinking, socially conscious next generation icons in arts, tech, sports and entertainment.”

Watch Francesco talk music in the below interview: