We have been extremely lucky to interview #TubeSinger sensation Neil Francis. If you haven’t already seen his amazing video which has gone viral, take a look here:
Where did your first relationship with music come from, have you always loved to sing?
My first relationship with music came about when I was 10 years old I heard ABBA’s Take A Chance On Me and fell in love with they’re music. I was always in Choirs at school and had a great music teacher who encouraged me to keep my falsetto voice going when my voice started to break. Singing has always been the biggest part of my life it’s all I ever wanted to do.
Since the video in the tube station there can’t be many people that have missed seeing this on social media. Have you ever experienced this kind of media hype before?
I’ve never has this kind of experience before on Social Media it’s been absolutely incredible. Just the thought of over 17 million watching the underground video is surreal.
We must ask, who filmed that very famous clip of you singing in the tube station, was it a friend of yours or just a fellow commuter? How long was it before everyone else joined in?
It was my mate Jon who took the video. I didn’t know he had until we got back to the hotel and calmly said I’ve uploaded it to Facebook; after half an hour or so he said we’ve had over 7000 views the next morning it was over 30.000 then UNILAD posted it and it went crazy we laughed on the train home as every 5 minutes it had gone up by 800 or so views.
Who were you inspired by and when did you start singing?
ABBA were a massive inspiration to me and I started taking my voice seriously at the age of 12 but then Yazoo and Alison Moyet caught my ear I fell in love with her voice. When Erasure came on the scene it was the same I love Andy’s voice it’s been a source of inspiration for many years also Boy George and I love musical theatre, also Depeche Mode.
What is your favourite song to sing and why?
Don’t Go Yazoo is a favourite as is Erasure’s ‘A little Respect’ they both have such a great vibe to them and they stretch you vocally …’CONNECTED’ though is so personal to me and I would have to say that lyrically and musically it’s my favourite it’s got everything a song should have and it very special to me.
Have you ever been in a band, if so what was it called, were you the singer?
I was in a duo called Euphoria for 16 years I was lead vocalist doing covers of ERASURE DEPECHE MODE YAZOO etc.
Do you ever forget the lyrics and do you have a method for learning new lyrics?
Sometimes I might have a blip …I pick up lyrics quite easily …I tend to live out the song in my mind to help me remember.
Where do you see yourself this time next year?
Who knows hopefully performing in bigger venues with more original songs that I can call my own.
You must have been asked to do a number of performances this year already, can you tell us where fans might see you?
I usually book venues a year in advance as singing is my only job so still around Norfolk and Suffolk .since everything happened with the underground though bigger doors are opening .I’ve been invited to perform at Annual Ball in London for the magazine Winq who hold it for The Elton John Aids Foundation that’s very exciting.
If you were in a talent contest, what song would you choose to perform and why?
A song that shows every facet of my range like Josh Groban ‘February Song’.
Have you ever met any of your music idols, who would be the ultimate person you would love to meet?
I’ve been very lucky to have met quite a few of my Idols like Benny, Bjorn and Frida of ABBA, Andy Bell Erasure a few times. I’d kill to meet Agnetha from ABBA or have a sing song with Alison Moyet.
What do you do when you are not singing?
I love cinema and love to entertain and cook for friends but I have a long-time friend who writes some amazing songs and I have a small studio so we like to record stuff and be creative…singing is in my soul I love challenges that stretch me vocally.
Have you found that people are recognising you in the street lately, how does that make you feel?
On the way to Ministry Of Pop studio I was mobbed on the train from Yarmouth to Norwich and there were some nudges on the train from Norwich to London…a few shook my hand on the underground and even in Wales I was recognised in the hotel…..it’s such a weird kind of feeling…when you go in Iceland for some bread and they all start singing ‘A little Respect’ in the aisles then you realise …god this really has gone viral lol.
If you had a message for Rainbow Biz, what would it be?
My message to Rainbow Biz would be have a listen to ‘CONNECTED’ the lyrics speak for themselves…life is a journey as one door closes another always opens… never give up on your dreams and appreciate and validate all those that are close to you and each other.
Do you usually sing in the underground, have you thought about doing a duet with someone down there?
I’ve only sung once before many years ago for a dare. I did an Alison Moyet version of ‘there are worst things I could do’. It ended in clapping and people chucking money at me …as for a duet Alison Moyet or Andy Bell those acoustics would be amazing.
Where else would you like to sing, apart from the underground?
I love singing in theatres and big places bigger the better it makes you home in to your inner self.
Do you tend to burst into song wherever you are, when you see other people’s reactions how does it make you feel?
I love spontaneity it’s a break from the norm …I love to sing wherever whenever. If there’s a song playing where ever and I know it, I just sing, sometimes without music like the underground. I’ve been lucky that people’s reactions have nearly always been positive and they’ll join in. There’s nothing in this world like music to connect people.
This week see’s the release of your collaboration with Shelter called Connected, we absolutely love the track, it has a great dance beat and the lyrics are really positive and uplifting. What makes you feel “connected” to people?
When you’re a singer you try to make every song count you live each lyric you sing and sometimes that can touch someone. It’s that kind of connection I love, hearing a song and you get goosebumps. I’ve had so many say this song has not only touched them because of the songs production quality but because they relate to the lyrics and the way I’ve sung them …there have been tears from some and that’s when you know you’ve done your job well, you’ve connected.
We know that you have sung with our friends Shelter, can you tell us about any other collaborations or projects you might be involved in?
I’ve had a few emails from people wanting me to sing their songs but nothing to report as yet, a friend who I’ve known for years sent me the backing of a great song very erasure-esque which I might have a go at and I have some really great songs already recorded that just need a listen to by someone who appreciates electronica and need mastering properly ….as for future collaborations with Shelter I would not hesitate to work with them again. They are so professional and wonderfully creative and have given me the chance to live my dream, for that I’ll be eternally grateful.
What can we expect from you this year? Any more music on the horizon? Where can new fans find out about you?
I’ll be gigging as usual up and down Norfolk and Suffolk doing 80’s electronic classics in different venues all news will be posted on my Neil Francis Official Facebook page or my website www.NeilFrancis.co.uk
Our thanks to Neil for taking some time out of his busy schedule to speak with us here at #RainbowBiz it has been so lovely to find out lots more about you and we will be following you with interest over the forthcoming months.