Upcoming Bajan singer/songwriter and 2009 StarShine Artist to Watch, Livvi Franc chatted with us to introduce herself to our readers recently. Her debut single “Now I’m That Bitch” hits radio this summer and Livvi who has been laying low in her native land of Barbados while she recorded her debut album, is excited to be introduced to the world with her debut album on Jive Records later this year.
Congratulations on your upcoming album. Now it’s been a long process for you, even once you got signed to Jive, that was in 2007. How do you stay positive and motivated when something like this takes so long?
Well, I heard this really great thing from my manager Carrie. She told me the best thing about life—it’s not about the destination. There is a journey on that destination as well. So it’s a lot about the journey as well. I found that the journey I’ve been on so far…I’ve been recording with some really great producers and songwriters and it’s been a great experience so far. So even though it takes a little while, I still enjoy the process.
From when you started in this business to now, what would you say is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
I’d say the biggest lesson I’ve learned is there’s no formula to anything. Everything is different. Everything is so complex that you can’t really say ‘how do I write a number one hit?’ or ‘how do I get the best producers?’ and try to like figure out beforehand how to do something the best way you can because everything is so different. The factors that influence that are also always different as well. So I think you just have to wing it and sort of just experience it for yourself and see what works best for you. And don’t apply any limitations. Everything should be sort of free flow.
You’ve worked with many producers. Is there anyone that you really look up to that you want to work with in the future?
I’ve worked with some really great producers as you were saying like JR Rotem, Stargate, Remi. I’ve been really lucky to work with some really talented producers and songwriters like Frankie Storm and Cathy Dennis. I’ve just been really, really lucky. I think so far as early as it is in my career I’m really surprised I’ve already had such a great roster of producers and songwriters. You know I think I pretty much covered who I wanted to work with and I know there’s many more really talented producers out there, which I think I’ll probably discover as I get more experienced and sort of get out there in the music industry. But so far I’ve been really blessed.
You’re a songwriter yourself. What’s your writing process like?
It’s funny. My writing process is different all the time. Sometimes I’ll go into the studio and the producer will have the tracks he’s already put together. I would listen to maybe ten tracks he’s done and say ‘okay, I like that one and that one’. Then me either by myself or with the producer or songwriter, we’d all get together and say ‘okay, what do we think the theme is?’ and ‘do we have anything we want to talk about?’ Sometimes I might be at home with my guitar and I’ll decide to write a song about something that happened to me a few hours before. So it’s very different. There’s no formula to how I write a song. It’s always different.
Is there a favorite song you’ve written that maybe stands out above the rest?
Gosh, that’s a hard question. [laughs] I’ve recorded more than a hundred songs by now. So it’s kind of hard to say, but there is a list of songs that I think are a little bit closer to my heart than others, but all of them are pretty special to me.
Now let’s talk about your first single…”Now I’m That Bitch”.
It’s funny, every time someone says the title there’s always a little giggle afterwards. [laughs] “Now I’m That Bitch”, even though it sounds a bit harsh on the ears it’s quite a positive song. We know that bitch is generally used as a derogatory term toward women, but when I wrote this song and as I listen to it more and more, we’re sort of like reclaiming the word bitch. It doesn’t have to be negative and if you listen to the song, we created this whole idea for it. B.I.T.C.H. Babe in total control of herself. When you listen to the song, it’s going out to a guy or maybe a female from when you were younger who maybe passed you by and didn’t give you the time of day, but now that you’ve grown into yourself and you’ve gained the confidence and learned from your experiences, you pretty much are in control of yourself. You know what you want and what you don’t want. So “Now I’m That Bitch” is saying now I’m that bitch who’s in control and knows what she’s going to do with her life. It’s a really positive song and I’m sure it’s a great message for a lot of young girls out there.
When does the song go to radio?
It’s going to radio in June so we’re looking forward to that soon.
Do you have a message to your fans and future fans?
I would say that I’m really a cool person and I’m just like all of them. I love to be really silly and not serious all the time. I love to laugh. I love to cook. So maybe if we have a big fan party, we do a throwdown cook-off. That’s something a lot of people don’t know about me, so… Yeah, I think I’m a really fun person and I hope everyone appreciates that.
Is it true you cook for your producers?
Yeah, I do actually. I also have this ginger tea I make for myself. Whenever there’s a group of us in the studio, I’m always like ‘okay, who’s having ginger tea?’ And they’re like ‘oh yes, me please’! [laughs] So I have sort of a double role in the studio. I’m a singer/songwriter/caterer/chef. But I love it, it’s my stress reliever.
Maybe one day you can own your own restaurant…
Actually, that’s one of my plans. Lookout for Livvi Franc’s reestaurant and bakery. [laughs]
See, the name fits perfectly.
Yeah, I think it’s a pretty cool name.
Where did the Franc come from because I know that’s not your real last name?
No. Franc is actually my late Granddad’s name. My grandfather on my mum’s side. It’s funny…the story behind that is when I was about two-years-old, I was at the piano playing with both of my hands, sort of like really getting into it. And my Grandfather looked at me—there were other family members in the room—and he looked at me and said, ‘she’s going to be a musician’. To this day, his word has been proven. So I’ve used his name to honor that memory of him.
Let’s say ten years from now, you’re performing to a sold-out crowd and it’s the last song of the night. You dedicate a song to all of your fans, which song would it be?
I would say “Hummingbird”. I think a lot of people can relate to that. Also, the way the song sounds, it sort of puts you in a different place. On the chorus, the song goes ‘I can fly but you’ve never seen my wings’. I know so many people have felt that in different aspects of their lives. They feel their real abilities haven’t been realized. I think it’s just a really great way to end a concert—leaving people with a good message and a good feeling in their heart.
For more on Livvi Franc and to listen to her first single, “Now I’m That Bitch”, go to: myspace.com/livvifranc