Since the release of her debut EP Ghosts in 2015, singer-songwriter Freja Frances has received praise from various publications including For Folk’s Sake and Impose Magazine, and has charmed crowds at Sofar Sounds London, as well as supporting Dodgy at Knutsford Music Festival last summer. And now, with poignant new single ‘Papercuts’, she continues to grace our ears with her smooth, ethereal soundscapes and emotive lyrical storytelling.
We caught up with Freja to find out more…
Hi Freja Frances, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you initially start creating music?
I’ve had an interest in music from a very young age. I started writing poems and lyrics as a kid, and after a few years of piano lessons I started to incorporate that into my songs too. I definitely put the focus on lyrics when writing, I usually start with a word or phrase and then work the melody and piano around that.
Your new single ‘Papercuts’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
I wrote ‘Papercuts’ a few years back, it was at a time when I was a lot more introverted and insecure – it’s a song about pushing people away and being aware of this but unsure how to stop doing it. The Alice In Wonderland theme emphasises the distance I felt between myself and the people around me, and my inability to feel fully present in their world.
You’ve been compared to the likes of Birdy and Gabrielle Aplin, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I actually don’t tend to listen to the sort of music that I write. At the time of writing ‘Papercuts’ I was listening to a lot of alternative, rock and grunge kind of stuff – I’ve always been influenced by the music I listen to lyrically more than musically. Recently, I’ve been more into indie bands: Sundara Karma, Cherry Glazerr and Bad Sounds are some of my favourites right now, so again not really the sort of stuff I write. Having said that, Birdy’s ‘Skinny Love’ is one of my favourite songs.
How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
I’ve recently moved down to Brighton which has a great music scene. I already know a few bands and artists in the area who I am excited to go and see, and there are some lovely venues. I’ve played at The Bedford in Hove a couple of times, it has a great atmosphere. I used to live in London which is also great for live music, although slightly more spread out – I was living in the suburbs and my area unfortunately had no venues at all! But thankfully I was a short train journey away from the centre where there is a lot more going on!
And what can fans expect from your live shows?
My shows are very stripped down and intimate, just piano and vocals. I have a huge amount of unreleased material, so you’ll always be hearing new songs, along with old favourites.
As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
I absolutely love Gareth Esson! I first discovered him when we played on the same night Upstairs at The Ritzy in Brixton. His music is acoustic soul, he is a wonderful lyricist and he has such a great stage presence. Definitely check out his song ‘Almost Something’ – it’s beautiful and heart-breaking!
And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Absolutely! In some ways it’s great that it is so easy to self-release, but of course this means that it can be difficult to be noticed because of the quantity of music available. The fact that it is far more common to stream music than buy it nowadays also makes it hard to self-sustain, so many musicians have to look for different ways to make a profit; some people do this through frequent touring, but I’m looking to get into the route of writing music on commission. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to write for Bossa Studios’ recent game ‘Worlds Adrift’ which was a great experience, and I am hoping to be able to work on more projects similar to this in future.
Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for Freja Frances?
I’m going to start working on a new EP and will have the first single from it out by the end of the year. I’ll also continue to play gigs around London and Brighton with some festivals elsewhere in the UK over summer so keep an eye on my Facebook events!
Huge thanks to Freja for answering our questions!
‘Papercuts’ is out now via ShimmerSun Music.