FRANCESCO YATES: FASHIONISTO
TALKS SCHOOL OF ROCK AND CAPTURING MUSIC MAGIC
Often times film can have a profound affect on our lives, but perhaps even more so for FRANCESCO YATES, a young musical artist that has been renowned by industry giants to be, “the next big thing”. At only 19 years old, Francesco has captivated the music industry. Interestingly enough, a bit of credit can go to Jack Black and the film, School of Rock. The movie features Black as a wannabe rock star who poses as a substitute teacher at a prep school, and tries to turn his class into a rock band. After watching the movie, Yates wanted to be a part of that class.
Growing in Scarborough, Canada, Yates’ first experiences with music came from a neighborhood music shop where they hosted a summer music camp for kids. They would be assembled into bands and at the end of each week, they would put on a big performance for friends and family. “I have always took a liking to music but this kind of sealed the deal. It was something I really wanted to be a part of.”
From the beginning, Yates was fascinated by an eclectic variety of sounds from iconic musicians such as James Brown, Michael Jackson and Prince. Other influences included music he heard around the house: his mother being a disco queen brought in music from the 70s and 80s, whereas his father introduced him to rock and roll with bands like Led Zeppelin. Yates has become a product of all those influences.
Yates has come a long way in his relatively short career. He’s partnered with major industry influencers including Robin Hannibal, Kendrick Lamar and Pharrell Williams. When asked what his experience was like working with such celebrities at such a young age, Yates notes, “In a way working with some of these artists can be intimidating because you have instances where there are a lot of high profile people who are considered “gatekeepers" in the game and you have to be able to deliver your talent to them without hesitation. Nevertheless, I enjoy and welcome the challenge, it makes me up my game and make the best music possible.”
His first single, Call, exudes a swoony pop ballad that evokes a similar sound to that of Bruno Mars or Justin Timberlake. The inspiration for Yates’ debut album came from musical influences both past and present. “I find it interesting to blend the two in such a way that it seems like one music. Organically my sound was very singer/songwriter, acoustic music and it really evolved. I am grateful for the producers on my album, Robin Hannibal and Pharrell Williams, they helped me realize my sound. I’m really proud of this body of work and each song can stand alone, but also as a full album.”
Yates describes the process of making music, capturing a magic moment and completing the piece as “the best feeling ever”. He learned quickly from being in the studio that you cannot force music; you have to be open to let the song develop on its own. “When this happens, that’s when I find that music is most authentic and people are actually able to connect to something.” Being only 19 years old, he attributes much of his success to keeping with the mentality to either “go big or go home”.
When it comes to fashion, Yates finds that it coincides with music; it is just another facet for him to express an idea of himself. “I look back on some of music’s greatest icons from Michael Jackson and James brown to Madonna and there was something so unique and distinct about them as an entertainer. It was bold and bright and flashy but there music also spoke volumes. I think fashion is super important to establishing your identity and it can also be fun.” When Yates wants to elevate his inner-rockstar, he wears a Jimi Hendrix inspired head scarf on stage that puts him in a completely different state of mind when performing.
When it comes to his everyday sense of style, Yates describes his look as “casual, but generally very monochromatic.” He tends to wear a lot of black and white, while adding a unique detail to his look with a pair of shoes or jacket as his one major statement piece. Fashion is fun for Yates, experimenting with seventies-inspired, rock and roll elements and bold prints. As he’s grown older and become more of an artist, he has become more involved and selective about what he wears.
Although, there is one particular component to his overall look that tends to get a lot of attention: his hair. “Believe it or not, I am constantly playing with my hair. It’s got a life of it’s own. After my shows people love running up to come and touch my hair. I don’t mind them feeling the hair, but it’s a little strange to have someone comb through my hair with their fingers.”
Having just finished a tour with SoMo, Yates notes that he’s been opened to a completely new side of the business. He loves being in studio and creating music, but live performances and connecting with people is inspiring and rewarding all at the same time. “I have personal goals of performing in stadiums, but for the time being I am working on sharing my music and really getting my name our there.” When asked what piece of advice he would give his fans out there, Yates says to embrace the moment and live the best possible life you can live. “I don’t take any of my experiences for granted and I tend to set new, bigger and better goals for myself as time goes on.”
We have no doubt that those bigger, better goals will bring us much more of Francesco Yates.