Fran Smith is a Yorkshire-based singer, songwriter, musician and producer. Named a "BBC Live Music Highlight of the Year" in 2014, she has performed in the US, Canada, and throughout the UK, captivating audiences with her beguilingly tender yet powerful voice, virtuosic piano-playing and wry northern charm.
Described by The Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone as blending “the melancholy of late seventies Fleetwood Mac with the caustic know-how of the Arctic Monkeys”, Fran has supported and toured with the likes of Martha Wainwright, Joan As Police Woman, the Unthanks, and Athlete.
Fran’s self-titled debut EP combines the passionate beauty and acerbic wit of her folk-influenced songwriting with chamber-pop production inspired by Joanna Newsom, Kate Bush and ANOHNI. It was self-released without a manager, record label or publicist, but nevertheless its ambition and originality shone through and BBC Introducing began to champion Fran and her music, both regionally and nationally. All four of the EP’s tracks went on to achieve significant BBC radio airplay across Radio 2, 4 and 6 Music, generating thousands of new fans and culminating in live performances on primetime Radio 2 and Radio 4. When Fran appeared on the BBC Introducing stage at Live in Hyde Park, the footage of her performance was shared more widely online than any other performer at the festival.
Following the success of her EP, Fran went to New York and recorded in Brooklyn with musicians Brad Albetta and Rob Moose, known for their work with Rufus Wainwright, Sufjan Stevens, and The National. One of the songs from these sessions – Contours – was later reworked by Fran at the legendary Air-Edel studios in London, and self-released in 2016. Fran produced the accompanying music video, which starred two dancer-choreographers from the world-renowned Phoenix Dance Theatre in Leeds. Described as “cinematic and stunning” (The Revue), “sexy and sad” (Soundwaves Review) and “romantic, sensual and angry – often at the same time” (Simon Hattenstone, The Guardian), Contours is simultaneously intimate and epic in scale, and led BBC Radio Leeds to declare, “Incredible! Fran is really setting the bar for songwriting!”
Fran holds a Master’s Degree in Songwriting with Distinction, and recently her lyrical prowess has seen her sharing stages with performance poets and spoken word artists such as John Cooper Clarke and Holly McNish.
Fran moved to Toronto, Canada in 2017-18, seeking adventure and songwriting inspiration in the world’s most diverse city. She performed a number of live shows, collaborated and shared ideas with other musicians and songwriters from different backgrounds.
Now back in Yorkshire, she is working on material for her forthcoming debut LP, and can’t wait to perform the new songs for her UK audiences later this year!