Music Connection Features Francesco Yates: Signing Story

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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:

Francesco Yates Releases Debut Single “Call”

18-year old Canadian, Francesco Yates released his debut single “Call” via Complex Magazine premiere today. The young singer with a voice beyond his years has already grabbed the attention of Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell, who produced two tracks on his forthcoming album.

Watch the official video for “Call” below and get yourself a copy on iTunes. You don’t want to miss the unravelling of this up and coming superstar.

Francesco Featured in FAME Magazine UK


‘Gust of Wind’ (ft. Daft Punk) is Pharrell’s ‘personal favourite’ song on ‘G I R L’. The Chic-influenced track features punchy offbeat guitar by 18 year old Toronto native / rising star singer-songwriter Francesco Yates.

Francesco has recently been finishing up in the studio, finishing tracks for his debut album with…producer Pharrell Williams.

You feature on ‘Gust of Wind’, Pharrell’s “personal favourite” song on ‘G I R L’…How did it happen?

It was a late night in New York and I was finishing up vocals on a song he and I wrote. He was about to leave to do a TV performance and just as he was leaving he said “you should do guitars on this song, I think it would be dope.” I listened to the groove and fell in love with it right away. I tried a couple different things and the song was giving me a funky type of vibe so I decided to continue on that route with my guitar. At first, I didn’t think my guitars would make it so when he told me he would be keeping my guitars I was very thankful for the opportunity. I hope people enjoy the track as much as I did working on it.

Pharrell Williams is producing your album, what are you learning from him?

Pharrell taught me not to question my initial instincts and let the song write itself. He always emphasized the idea that how music makes one feel is more important than whether or not every note is perfect. He inspires me to go the extra mile, creatively. Just to have someone as musical as Pharrell is a blessing and I’m glad he agreed to work with me on my project. His new album is my favourite one this year, so much respect to Skateboard P.francesco yates2Did you meet the “the robots” Daft Punk?

I haven’t met Daft Punk yet, but I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time. Hopefully one day soon!

What do you remember of the Royal Conservatory of Music when at age 3 when you surpassed all the other students in a rhythm training class?

I remember when the teacher was playing a song and I started dancing. All of the other kids in the class looked at me like I was crazy. Blame it on the boogie!

How has your music evolved since you (at 11) wrote your first song “Jaguar,” and performed live at Love Music rock camp?

I feel like being an artist is all about having an identity and finding yourself. That was a time of experimentation for me. Now that I’ve established a style, I feel more confident in what I am writing about and singing. I’m glad to have people around me who have supported my development throughout the years. Now I’m ready. Full steam ahead!

Do you still have time to play hockey, baseball, swimming and boxing?

Whenever I have “off time” I make a point of playing basketball outside in the summer as well as a little road hockey to take my mind off of music for a minute. Balance is always good. They say your body is a temple, so I have to make sure I’m healthy and that I’m in a peaceful state of mind when doing music. A little basketball, hockey and swimming in the summer are always great – and relaxing. I’m just getting back into boxing as well and cardio type exercises to prepare me for the road.

What are your fondest musical memories your house?

Some of my fondest memories are my parents yelling at me to stop singing and playing on the piano at three in the morning. Good times indeed!

What was the last live show you played, what did you think of it?

It was acoustic show in Montreal and I hadn’t done a live show in a while. I was nervous at first but then when I saw the crowd it made me feel right at home, they gave me great energy and that’s what its all about for me is going to another place. Overall, it’s a great feeling and I’m looking forward to do it again soon.francesco yates3What is one unforgettable concert memory?

Every concert memory is an unforgettable one for me, but the most unforgettable memory was being on stage with Nelly Furtado in Toronto last year. I had never been on a stage that grand and with a superstar such as herself. It was the first time I heard an audience that loud, and hearing that had an almost addictive quality, which is why I have been striving to perform live ever since.

What is your favorite thing to see in the audience while you are on stage?

When I see the smiles of those enjoying good music, that in itself is enough for me. When I see people having fun it makes me want to have fun that much more.

What’s coming next for you?

I have currently finished my debut album and I am in the process of putting the pieces of my live show together and working with my new band. I am getting ready to share my music with the world so lots of exciting things to come!

By Fabrizio Belluschi ©
Pharrell’s second solo studio album G I R L on iTunes NOW




Francesco Lends Musical Talents to Pharrell’s New Album G I R L

“Gust of Wind” is Pharrell’s “personal favourite” song on G  I  R  L, and he likes it so much that he plays it twice, excitedly jumping back to the start before the first play-through has even finished. He tells us that this one features “the robots,” and that the punchy offbeat guitar comes from a young Canadian prodigy called Francesco Yates. It begins with zigzagging strings, and then that unmistakeable vocoder voice wraps itself around the climbing bassline and pumps mightily, nigh-on unintelligibly through the chorus. “Mothership Other cannot go away” sings Skateboard P, repping his new iamOther creative collective. By this point, it becomes apparent that the narrative personae that Pharrell embodies on these songs are somehow more Romantic than the libidinous paramours of previous outings, and they are all the sexier and more endearing for it.