Life With Livvi Franc
Singer/songwriter Livvi Franc is that chick. She has jet setted to the UK and been a top shot in LA - but strip her of the spotlight and you’ll see a Bajan fuh real. Here the Queen’s College alum shares the story behind 'What Now', insights into the best parts of being a Bajan, her favourite Bajanism and the real way to tell which corncurls are the cheesiest.
Kurama Magazine: When you’re “over and away”, what’s your absolute ‘must-have’ from back home?
Livvi Franc: I wouldn't say there's a current "must-have" (even though as we speak I'm in LA craving a cold glass of mauby) but I do remember having a slight obsession with brown mints and ginger mints for quite while. I would take two giant bags full with me to last my whole trip. It was a problem.
Kurama Magazine: You’ve written for some big names recently, like Ciara and Rihanna… what’s your writing process like?
Livvi Franc: My process is different all the time. I think the people in the room at the time plays a big role in my creativity. A lot of the time I'm on my own and I just let the music speak to me. I can't let myself over think it so I just turn it up loud, dive in and start swimming.
KM: Any songs that were particularly meaningful to you?
LF: I would definitely say that 'What Now' recorded by Rihanna is a special one. I wrote it in a moment of emotional angst to the point where I hadn't cried in a while, which is weird for me. I was outside the studio in London on a stairway in the cold and it all hit me like a ton of bricks. I wrote those words with tears in my eyes... it all just poured out of me... it was an uplifting and grounding experience. It was like watching the magic happen right there in front of me.
KM: How are you going to top that?
LF: I think I'm reaching a turning point right now in my career. I've spent the last couple of years writing songs... not necessarily intended for anyone in particular. I now see how important that was, taking down the wall, stepping outside of the limitations that were blocking me from being freely creative with no boundaries. It made me a more confident writer and a more confident person. The two are strongly connected. I've started focusing mostly on my project now. It feels good to do it with a stronger foundation. I'm hoping to put out some music next year.
Watch Livvi perform 'Through the Blinds' live with Simon Pipe on Balcony TV:
KM: What do you do to stay grounded?
LF: What keeps me grounded is my family. It's easy to feel lost but it's so wonderful when my family remind me who I am... .underneath all the colours and masks I wear, they know the real me even when I don't know who she is.
KM: What do you do for fun?
LF: I like alone time a lot. That includes going to watch a movie on my own... dinner table for one. I like baking too; it's the best therapy. Listening to music, having a glass of red wine and surfing the web (do people still say that?) is what you'd find me doing most nights. I like drawing too... abstract patterns and colours. It's nice to have another creative outlet other than writing.
KM: A Bajan isn’t a Bajan without a favourite food! What’s yours?
LF: My favourite Bajan food is ‘bake’ (not baked) chicken.
KM: What’s the best thing about Barbados?
LF: My favourite thing about the island is that as small as it is I can go for a Sunday drive (evenings are best) and discover beautiful places I've never seen. Not only beautiful but mysterious and magical, like there's a story behind every one.
KM: What makes you ‘proud as pie’ to be Bajan?
LV: Growing up in Barbados was a lot different from where I was born in England... it was a big change for my sister and I coming here; we were 7 and 5 respectively. I'll never forget the bus rides home from school with friends... walking through neighbourhoods and people's backyards and stopping at the snack shop a lady had in her garage. "Corn Curls and a Plus, please." We all used to check the little character on the back of the Corn Curls bag… Busy Bee, (forgive me if I get the names wrong) Red Rooster. We swore we knew which character was on the bag with the cheesiest Corn Curls. Now, of course, I realize the two aren't related in any way.
Livvi Franc has grown more confident as an artist.
KM: What’s your favourite Bajanism?
LF: I love how Bajans give directions. "Guh straight, straight up so. Den yuz see a upstairs and downstairs white house and de road is ben tuh de right... doan guh dey keep straight, straight...." and so on. It's classic.
KM: Any fond memories from your school days?
LF: I entered the pageant one year; I think I was 14. I just wanted to get up there and sing. When it got to the question and answer section I froze and completely blanked out. I just walked off the stage.
We’re glad Livvi worked up the courage to eventually walk back on stage and now she’s doing big things for our little island. Find out what’s next for her by following @LivviFranc on Twitter and also on Instagram at livvifranc.