Published on April 15th, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Sabrina Francis On Performing At The Pure Grenada Music Festival, Upcoming Events & More
Performing alongside Chrisette Michele, Morgan Heritage, Alison Hinds, Daley and Jah9, the Pure Grenada Music Festival features a lot of great performers. When attending the festival, I was pleased to make a new discovery, and that was Grenada’s own Sabrina Francis. Francis opened up the first night of the festival on the main stage, performing alongside keyboardist Dieter Burkhalter, guitarist/vocalist Alesia Aird, and drummer/vocalist Keane Jules. Francis — who has performed alongside Joss Stone and Mr Killa — and her group closed their set with “This Is Home,” which the Grenada Tourism Authority has used to promote Grenada on an international basis.
I had the pleasure of speaking Sabrina Francis shortly after her festival set, and highlights of our chat are below. More on Francis can be found online at www.sabrinafrancis.com.
I first wanted to ask you about the song you closed, “This Is Home.” What was the creative process like for that song?
Sabrina Francis: Actually, that song started as an idea from when I was 16 years old. Dieter [Burkhalter], the organizer of the Pure Grenada Music Festival, he likes music on the water. He had this idea for a concert and every artist had to sing a song about Grenada. I had to come up with a song, and I came up with “This Is Home.”
In a way it was accidental that one of the songs that defines you was written for a one-off event.
Sabrina Francis: (laughs) Yeah, it was written for that specific event. Then Grenadians liked it very much, so they used it for the rebranding of Grenada.
There was a mix of styles in what you played tonight…
Sabrina Francis: Yes…
But all of the music was acoustic-based. Are you yourself an instrumentalist?
Sabrina Francis: No, I’m learning to play guitar. Boy it’s so hard, I’ll tell you. But I’m learning and I would like to be able to sing and play.
So that’s an eventual goal for you?
Sabrina Francis: Yes it is, really. This year, actually.
How are you learning? From a book? From private lessons?
Sabrina Francis: I’m learning music theory first. My pianist is helping me with that. Then when that’s done, I’ll jump over to guitar and my guitarist [Alesia Aird] is really good, so she’ll help me. (laughs)
One of the most impressive things about you is your performance skills. A lot of people can sing, but they don’t know how to handle a microphone or command an audience. When is your development did you start to work on all of that?
Sabrina Francis: (laughs) Wow, well, I didn’t always know how to perform live. I’ve been singing on a stage with a mic for about three, four years. When I just started singing, I was like a stiff board onstage, so I had to bend and break to become what I am now. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, but I had to improve, which I did through a lot of criticism and just getting advice and being humble enough to take criticism and apply it. So I’m here, this way. (laughs)
What do the next few months look like for you? Are you performing at other festivals or live events?
Sabrina Francis: Well, we have just local live events, but in October we’re planning a trip to the U.K… Some small concerts and one of the places we’re going to play is The Tabernacle. It’s in London. I’m excited about that.
Do you have any long-term goals for your career? Or are you the sort of person that takes your career one day at a time?
Sabrina Francis: I am the kind of person that takes everything one day at a time, but the people around me are not. Every year I have to write down my musical intentions. I think the ultimate goal for my music is to make a comfortable living with my music. I would really like to play, be requested to different countries, travel and play for a living. When that happens, I will consider myself successful.
When you’re not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?
Sabrina Francis: Writing. (laughs)
Writing music? Stories?
Sabrina Francis: I try to write music. I dabble in poetry a bit, but don’t tell anybody that. (laughs) I like nature a lot, I like to spend a lot of time winding down. Also, because Grenada is small for the music scene, I have a day job. I’m really focused on music right now and everything else is fun.
So finally, Sabrina, any last words for the kids?
Sabrina Francis: For the kids? Stay in school, please, and do music. It helps make life so beautiful.