Described by ABC Jazz’s Mal Stanley as a talented young vocalist and pianist and ‘one to watch’, Frances is one of the classiest young entertainers Australia has produced in recent times. Her mix of jazz and blues has been enchanting audiences at jazz clubs and festivals around the country.
Frances captivates her audiences with her genuinely warm stage presence together with a voice and style that is uniquely her own. She is also a talented and engaging original composer so when she performs her own swinging tunes and beautiful ballads, they merge seamlessly with the timeless classics she reinterprets.
ClassikON’s Q&A With Frances:
How old were you when you decided to be a musician and what led you the instrument(s) you now play?
I started playing piano when I was about six. I continued learning classical piano throughout school and AMEB with a very strict but wonderful Russian teacher. Around the time I finished high school, I had a kind of intuition which led me to also take up singing and switch to jazz! I went to AIM and completed my Bachelor of Music Performance there. I’ve been working as a full time musician since I graduated about five years ago and also I’ve been writing and performing my own music for the past three years.
When you’re not rehearsing/performing/teaching, where are you most likely to be?
Well, I try to spend as much ‘quiet time’ as I can writing and composing because it has become a core part of what I do. But because I run a band, there are always lots of business things to distract me and they take up a lot of time. For leisure, I have to confess I binge on period dramas occasionally. Jane Austen is my favourite but I just finished watching ten episodes of the Crown on Netflix in two sittings and it is wonderful 🙂
After you finish a concert, what is the first drink you want to have in your hand?
Ha! Now a girl has to keep some secrets! No, seriously, I just stick to warm water or maybe tea with lemon and honey. It is a necessity for a singer to take care.
If there weren’t external factors involved, how long do you think a concert should go for?
Well, when I play with my full band (eight piece), I generally do two sets of just on an hour each. It gives us the opportunity to do a range of tempos and styles and let different people in the band feature with improvisation, as well as do some pieces with tight arrangements. In my approach to jazz and our live performances, I like to do a show rather than a ‘gig’. We like to take people on a bit of a journey and give them something they can really enjoy.
When should we clap?
Hehe, well I know that is a tricky question sometimes for classical music because you can mistake the end of a movement for the end of the piece and get very embarrassed. Actually, in jazz and blues, there is a certain freedom about clapping because it is common for some or all of an audience to clap during a song after a great solo or improvisation by one of the players. So, clap whenever you feel like it!
Frances Madden: Haunting Melody Live @ The Basement
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