Francesco Yates is a 26-year-old Canadian singer/songwriter. His music effortlessly blends the pop sound with nuances of R&B and soul. 360 Magazine’s Vaughn Lowery had the chance to sit down with Francesco and chat about his early beginnings in the music industry, and what’s to come for his career.
Listen to Francesco Yates on the 360 MAG Podcast HERE.
Originally from Toronto, Canada, Francesco draws his early inspiration from the iconic movie School of Rock. At age 11, the film felt like a dream to him, one that he knew he was going to chase after. Being surrounded by differing music that his parents would play throughout his childhood, too, influenced his artistry.
Francesco recalled hearing his dad listen to “Brown Sugar” by D’Angelo, and other artists like Bob Marley and Led Zeppelin. Being introduced to a diverse palette of performers gave Francesco the opportunity to play and experiment with his own music. “I never felt boxed in, y’know,” he stated.
Having a more classical musical background, Francesco also learned to play the piano at a young age. He still accredits his experience with the piano as a major shaping factor for his career. Incorporating his self-proclaimed “piano chops” into music production, this allowed Francesco to experiment with his sound. With the piano being the initial instrument, he was trained in, he loves to create music with the keys.
At just 16-years-old, Francesco landed a record deal with Atlantic Records, something that he never saw happening. He remembers the feelings that he felt when signing over, stating, “I felt like a deer in headlights.” He made sure to soak learn everything he could during the experience, asserting that “the lessons I learned are invaluable.”
Francesco’s debut EP was released in 2015 while being co-produced by Robin Hannibal and Pharrell Williams. The opportunity to work with such legendary artists is one that he surely did not take lightly. Francesco remembered Williams vision that he had for him, always offering up this one piece of advice. He recalled Williams stating, “the only thing you gotta do is play guitar and chew bubblegum and not look at the audience, that’s what you gotta do,” referring to Francesco’s effortless self-assurance.
Francesco’s latest track, entitled “JIMI” combines his natural imaginative flow with a seemingly pop/R&B/rock feel. He recollected on the writing process for the track, and how the lyrics nearly popped into his head instantly. Using the beloved piano to advance the writing process, “JIMI” hints to Francesco’s laid back, modern vibes
The track carries a feel-good, upbeat aura throughout. The chorus is met by Francesco’s uplifting, impressive voice when he sings out to a lover, “I think I love you, baby, like I love my guitar.”
Modernly as an independent artist, Francesco’s excited for what the future holds next. He hopes to continue to grow and build his own imprint, his own record label. When discussing his number one goal to achieve in the next few years, Francesco communicated that he would love to play theater tours consistently. He’s not driven by the metrics and streaming numbers that he could generate, but more motivated by his passion for his craft. Francesco simply wants to “just be happy and be living.”
We’ll see Francesco join the Backstreet Boys on their North American tour stops in Canada beginning July 24. Opening up for such an iconic group comes as nothing new to Francesco, as he’s opened up for other popular artists like Justin Timberlake in the past. Being able to have opportunities to open for incredible artists has ultimately shaped the way that Francesco works, always striving to learn from other musicians.
Article by: McKinley Franklin x Vaughn Lowery