Betty Frances

Betty Frances

BandAlternative

Betty Frances is a highly original London based artist, whose eerie bluesy song-poems have drawn attention from the likes of Black Francis, of the influential band Pixies. Embarking on her first solo project only fifteen months ago, Betty has spent summer 2008 recording her first album.

Biography

Betty Frances Press Information

Betty Frances (Elizabeth Frances Holley) began her career as a solo artist in 2007, after performing as a guitarist in various bands in London’s toilet scene. Her subsequent recording of five demos with musician Johnny Parry, and a chance meeting with her musical hero and former Pixies frontman Black Francis, led to the reticent artist embarking on a solo project.

Originally from Bedford, a small town 100 miles north of London, Frances grew up in Queens Park, a renowned rough part of town, with her mother and two siblings. Singing in the school choir, as money was too tight for the keen young Frances to learn an instrument, she later received her first guitar from her father at age fifteen. Teaching herself to play by strumming along to records by Nirvana and Radiohead, the shy teen would memorise her neighbours boyfriends chord shapes and run home to practise. Thrown out by her stepfather at eighteen, Frances moved in to a small flat with her then boyfriend, a guitarist and aspiring musician. Coming from a not altogether musical family, her relationship with him would profoundly shape her musical tastes, introducing her to a variety of music from the likes of Chuck Berry and Johnny Cash, Sonic Youth, and notably Pixes. Her love of this band in particular, formed the scope for her future relationship with music and would later encourage her decision to become a performer.

As a one-piece act Frances played guitar and sang her eerie, bluesy poem-songs in around London for the latter part of 2007, with the occasional sit-in session musician. In early 2008 she met Black Francis in London after his show at the Koko. He’d heard her songs via his then guitar technician, Frances’ cousin Robert Greenland, and offered the following comment on her style: I want to say that the wonderfully spooky Ms Frances is timeless, but yet she would be right at home in Berlin circa 1925, or Paris in 1952, or Greenwich Village in 1968, or London now. I really look forward to her finished record this year.

In summer 2008 Frances began recording a seven-song record with Johnny Parry, at his lock-up in rural Bedfordshire. Taking inspiration from Frances’s almost cinematic lyrics, the pair sought to capture the nautical, circus freakshow imagery her songs conjure, and produced a unique and unusual record. Whether supported by a full band, or stripped down to singing alone with a guitar, her voice, with its alternating high-girlish shrieks with raspy bass notes, maintain her highly individual sound.

Discography

An EP by Betty Frances is due for release in 2009, and includes the following tracks:

Lady Odonata
The Pier Lady Song
Magpie Song
Swim the Blue
You've Lost Your Way
Like a Pony
Lonely Man

Set List

A typical set list looks like:

Lady Odonata
The Pier Lady Song
Magpie Song
Swim the Blue
You've Lost Your Way
Like a Pony
Lonely Man
In the Green