Francesco Yates: Exclusive Interview
Francesco Yates is only 19 years old but he’s already received the highest possible recommendation a musical artist could. “He’s absolutely gonna be just a huge, huge, huge pop star,” Pharrell Williams has said of the Toronto native. “But not in the way people have been thinking of pop music in the past ten years.” It’s a lot to live up to, but Francesco does, both in his songwriting and his impressively evocative musicianship.
Get to know more about the rising star:
When did you realize you wanted to be a singer?
When I was age 11 my parents enrolled me in this summer music camp down the street from where I lived in Scarborough, Canada. I had a love for music most of my life but it wasn’t until this camp that I realized it was my passion. At the camp, they would assemble bands from the kids and at the end of every week they would put on a show or musical showcase for parents, friends and family. I felt a rush each and every week. Shortly after attending this camp I watched the movie “School of Rock” with Jack Black and said to myself “that could be me” and really decided to take everything a bit more serious in terms of music.
Take us through your day starting from when you wake up.
I’m currently on tour with SoMo across the US. I have early wake up calls, so I hop in the shower and hope a miracle happens when my hair drys. We eat a quick breakfast and hit the road to the next city on tour. When we get to the city I like to walk around and find a cool local spot to eat lunch with my band and relax before sound check. After soundcheck I spend some time on my social networks and then relax. Dinner time comes around and I eat something light and before you know it, I’m on deck ready to open the show on the Wide Awake Tour. After the show is over, I come out from backstage and take pictures and hang out with the audience. Every night is that same rush I had performing at the summer band camp when I was 11, but this time I’m meeting and making new fans and have my own music to perform.
What is the best part of pursuing your career?
I think the best part of pursuing music as a career is that I am fulfilling my purpose. That is peace of mind for me. I really can’t imagine myself in any other place. I’m not the type of person to really have a ‘plan B’ or back-up option in the event that something doesn’t work. I set goals for myself and do everything in my power to pursue them.
When and how did you get your big break?
I was working with a vocal teacher in Toronto, named Elaine Overholt. She and I had a great relationship working on my voice and vocal techniques. It was around the age of 14 when she brought my name to the attention of my current manager Chris Smith of Chris Smith Management (Nelly Furtado, JoJo, Fefe Dobson). From there we worked together on developing me as an artist. Years later I was signed to Atlantic Records and now I am gearing up to release my debut solo album. Time has flown by, but those are some special moments for my music career, so far.
What is your high school make-out song?
I am a big fan of D’Angelo. I don’t know how many people my age or in high school were familiar with his music, but I would say “How Does It Fell” by D’Angelo is a pretty big tune for a high school make-out.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
I really enjoy being in the recording studio and performing for a live audience. I think the next big thing for me would be to produce a full length studio album on my own. I do a lot of songwriting and record often in my basement studio. As I grow as an artist I want to work towards producing a body of work on my own. In terms of live performance, I would really like to perform and sell out an arena whether it’s the Air Canada Centre in Toronto or Madison Square Garden in New York. Only time will tell, but it’s something that I will be working towards in the next 5 years.