Francesca Belcourt is the cutest tomboy I’ve ever met.
When she rolls in to Tacofino shortly after closing for our interview, she’s already a little bit drunk because, as she so openly explains, her friend had a bladder infection so she was being a good pal and helping her numb the pain.
The young songstress is turning 20 this month but, all clichés aside, she exudes the energy of a very old soul. A playful and adventurous spirit, you can just tell by the way she carries her tall frame hidden in an oversized sequined sweater with big baggy jeans and a pair of old worn paint-stained canvas shoes. When I give her a hug, she just smells like an artist with that very distinct East Van musk. I offer her a can of Lucky and we grab a seat to talk about her new EP, Hush Hush, and her life as an artist in Vancouver.
“I have a lot of dude friends. I’m only just now starting to have lady friends. But when I was younger, I’m very androgynous looking, so people would always think I was a boy,” Belcourt says with a confident laugh.
She’s been singing since she was a child and has technically been a recording artist since she was nine. Ask her about the piano teacher she had growing up on Cortez Island who got her to sing backup vocals on a track called “Eating Our Way Down,” a song about a girl eating strawberries that may or may not have the most inappropriate undertones since Serge Gainsbourg’s “Lemon Incest.”
Blessed with supportive people in her life, Belcourt has always been pushed and encouraged to follow her passion for music as a singer, songwriter and producer. From a high school teacher creating a special class for her so she could learn Logic Pro to her dad inexplicably buying her new gear for her birthday each year, she has slowly been stockpiling the skills and equipment needed to do what she does today.
“My dad is a technology nerd,” she says as we crack open our second cans of Lucky. “When I was five he insisted on getting a Mac and when I was 12 he gave me GarageBand and showed me how to use it. So I would make loop-based songs with the drum loops they have and I wrote my first song using the poems I had written; I think it was about flying.”
Belcourt has a very distinct croon — soft yet confident, sexy and seductive — and the five tracks on her new EP are a very telling reflection of where she is currently at in her career. She harnesses a very new and present sound that incorporates electronic music with sensible folk undertones, while her lyrics breath throughout every track with poetic precision. She is the kind of artist who writes every day because she loves it and she wants to share her poems with you.
“It’s a huge part of my existence as a person. I love writing and I want people to listen to what I say, more than anything because every time I write a song I am putting my thoughts and feelings out there about a certain problem that I have and then I transform the problem in to something beautiful.”
There’s no shortage of talent or beauty coming out of this budding songstress and with the friends she’s making along the way in her musical journey, you can be sure you’ll be hearing more in the very near future.
Download Francesca Belcourt’s Hush Hush EP now at www.francescabelcourt.com
By Glenn Alderson
Photos: Lou Lou Childs