Many great artists in the music of both past and present have chosen to take on a one-word moniker. Much like the fabled ’27 Club’, it takes a certain kind of gusto to pull off this particular identifier, like a private members club that only admits the most confident, talented and newsworthy members of society. Prince. Madonna. Elvis. Bono? More recently, Adele’s first (and stage) name has been stamped over every newspaper, magazine, blog and Twitter feed like a badge of honour. Surnames seem excessive, and it’s quite a statement. Like there will never be another person that can hold a room with the same power.
Cue Frances. While initially this softly spoken 22 year old may not seem like the newest member of a team that consistently pulls hits out of the bag, with every new release she stakes an even stronger claim on the title. Just under a year after the release of debut single Grow, and as a followup to last November’s Borrowed Time, Frances extends her winning streak with latest single Don’t Worry About Me.
An inescapable confessional, the track begins with a lone voice, showcasing the starkly pure quality of her vocal. You can just imagine the recording process, as if she did a vocal take intended to be accompanied, and the producer just shaking his head and cutting the pianist out of the first minute entirely. Developing from its humble beginning, the track swells into a gospel-worthy crescendo of harmonies. With the warm clarity of Gabrielle Aplin and the self-aware softness of Lucy Rose, there is not a second that appears contrived or try hard. Instead you feel like a witness to the outpouring of a soul indisputably conquering a clearly emotional struggle.
Nominated for both BBC’s Sound of 2016 and the Critic’s Choice Award at this year’s BRIT’s, Don’t Worry About Me makes the lack of a win across the board seem like a farce. As for the bold name, it doesn’t even really deserve a second glance. While she is perhaps in better company with Beyoncé than with Sting, there can be no doubt of Frances’ place among the other one-word greats of music.
Frances is also featured on our playlist this week, find out more here.