Monday, May 18, 2009

Interview: Frances England

If your fan of Renee & Jeremy, go nuts for Elizabeth Mitchell, then your going to adore with a capital A, Frances England.

The wonderfully sweet Frances England is the accidental star of kids music. With two albums now under her fledgling belt, she also has a swag of awards and some pretty high profile press credits to her name also, such as the 2008 Parent's Choice Award - Gold Award, and the 2007 Oppenheim Platinum Music Award.

A little birdie tells me you should be on the lookout for the latest LMNOP mag due out this week for another something special from Frances.

Busy Mum of two gorgeous boys and musical mumentrepreneur took a few moments to let us get to know her better...

V: Who is Frances England?
FE: I am the mother of young two boys who fell into the music world completely by accident.

V: Your first album, Fascinating Creatures, was recorded as a fund raiser for your Son’s pre-school, how did this come about?
FE: Well, my kids go to a cooperative preschool here in San Francisco and every year we are required to raise a certain amount of money for the school. In lieu of selling chocolate bars or wrapping paper (which I’ve done before), I decided to record some songs I’d written. I wrote almost all of the songs on Fascinating Creatures in our bathroom while my oldest son, Liam, was taking his nightly baths and they all revolved around our everyday routines like making blueberry pancakes for breakfast, riding tricycles, reading picture books, digging in the dirt, etc. Liam liked the songs and I figured other kids would be able to relate to them as well.
So I recorded the CD and started by burning copies on my computer and printing out the covers on my old Epson printer. Initially, I thought that only our family and preschool friends would be interested in it, but people started buying 10 copies at a time and sending them across the country, over to Europe, to relatives in Australia. As a result, Fascinating Creatures really took off in a way I hadn’t imagined it would and has lead to this really unexpected turn in my life, which is so much fun (and still a little surreal, at times).

Sunset Shines On Me from John Funke on Vimeo.

V: What inspires you? Personally and musically?
FE: My family, DIY crafters, artsy blogs, Sufjan Stevens, M. Ward, fabric stores, the website etsy, the radio show this american life, people who work at cooperatives, homegrown food, jhumpa lahiri, bon iver, spring time, chan marshall (cat power), handmade paper, visual journals, banjos.

V: Who are your top 3 favorite children’s music artists and why?
FE: Only three – that’s tough! We love Lunch Money, Justin Roberts and Dog on Fleas….but there are so many more great ones too that are in constant rotation at our house. I think the three bands I mentioned are especially awesome because they all achieve that fine balance of making really heartfelt, engaging music for children that parents genuinely enjoy too.

V: The kids music genre is really taking off, were just starting to catch on here. Do you think we’ll be seeing a Kindie Rock or broader listing on the Billboard charts now that some of the “grown up” music artists are getting a piece of the pie too?
FE: I’m no expert on the Billboard charts but I think there’s always plenty of room for more good music. The Kindie Rock scene is really exciting right now – there are so many great artists and bands making fantastic music that whole families can enjoy together. It’s also a very supportive community and I feel really humbled and honored to be a small part of it.

V: What’s next on your horizon?
FE: We are playing at Lollapalooza this summer in Chicago, which is so crazy that I’m still trying to get my head around that….very exciting! I’m also working on another kid’s album, messing around with some songs for grown ups, and am talking to a couple of publishers about putting together something using my illustrations (I do all the artwork on the albums and website). So that’s all good. For the rest of the day though, I’m shuttling kids to and from school and swim classes and I have a PTA meeting this evening. That’s my real everyday life.

V: Any last words?
FE: Australia ROCKS! I so hope to make it there one of these days….

OH, I so hope she makes it here one day too. You never know, we may see some Kindie Rockers at the next Splendor in the Grass perhaps !?

If your loving all of these pics of the beautiful Frances, you should pay a visit to her Australian photographers website Barb Uil of Jinky Art. The opening Ladybug Picnic page is just too much. Talk about stunning!! I think one of her photography workshops is high on my wish list... Birthday coming up... Ben are you reading this???

Here is a video of Frances's song Tricycle from Fascinating Creatures.

To win a Copy of Fascinating Creatures tell me what colour guitar does Frances play in this film clip for Tricycle? Send your entries to or via comments to this blog.

Last weeks winner of the Renee & Jeremy CD was Rochelle from Turramurra . Congratulations Rochelle, your CD is on it's way today. Hope you love it!

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