Next Wave #1121: Fran Lobo

Pinning down a musical enigma...

Fran Lobo is the enigma that can’t be pinned down. Following the release of several acclaimed singles, the London-based singer is gearing up for her much-anticipated and intensely self-aware album ‘Burning It Feels like’ out this August. With shades and recalls of Kate Bush, Alice Coltrane and Prince, the artist describes the album’s core sentiment as that of self-examination. “I’ve grown a lot through the last three or four years of therapy and I’ve been able to really analyse relationships or the ways that I’ve thought about things,” she explains. “There’s a lot of songs about struggling with self-esteem, the feeling of a sense of belonging or self-worth and it’s an exploration of me noticing these traits and trying to take back control of my power in life.”

Though her lyricism may be fiercely tender and revealing, a straight and narrow depiction of self- inspection has never been of total appeal to her. As a master of implosion, she’s keen to break up the traditional mould, though such an urge hasn’t always been to the artist’s clear knowledge. “My friend who mixed the record said ‘your songs always have something weird happening.” She explains that many of her songs configure as a “journey”, one which “you’re not really sure where you’re trying to get to” but incredibly often met by “some sort of flip there just as a musical mischief.” Lobo’s work embodies the conception of the unforeseen, with unpredictable and patchworked production that makes it challenging to classify or confine her to a specific genre. “It’s like mixing and throwing paint,” she offers.

It’s true that this patchwork quality could have arisen from what had been a varied musical childhood, pulling in familial musical threads of classic rock and country from her dad, metal from her brother, her mother’s fixation with the Bollywood universe and pop and her own keenness for acts such as the Spice Girls. “I guess it was quite mixed and through school I was introduced to lots of different kinds of music,” she explains. But Lobo never fell particularly towards one genre or the other. In fact, the possibility for a music that enables the simultaneous existence of several themes, seems to have always been an area of interest for the artist. “I remember when I was eighteen, walking into a studio and explaining what I wanted to make – Rage against the Machine but sounding like Mariah Carey.” Reflecting upon her upcoming release, she takes a moment of satisfied realisation – “Now I’ve made it happen.”

In creating a soundscape that is multi-faceted, it seems that Lobo is seeking to acknowledge the dichotomous experience of the human condition. That it’s possible for many things to exist and be true at the precise same moment. “My main theme is the building of fantasy worlds in your head, getting lost in dreaming and projecting what you think your reality is.” Ultimately, she describes wanting people to hear something that’s “been moving, almost emotional but also energised.” Lobo’s EP is indeed a mirror turned to the colour and chaos of what it is to be and feel many things at once.

‘Burning It Feels Like’ will be released on August 18th.

Words: Talitha Myners

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