Eight years can seem like forever to some, but in that span of time, Canadian pop star Franceso Yates has done a lot of living.
Inspired to be a musician by the movie School of Rock, which he saw at age 11, the now 19-year-old Toronto native signed a management deal three years later. Two years after that, at age 16, Yates signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records in the U.S., home to fellow pop artists like Bruno Mars, Vance Joy and others.
Acclaimed producer Pharrell Williams, he of “Happy” fame, proclaimed that Yates was “absolutely gonna be just a huge, huge, huge pop star. But not in the way people have been thinking of pop music in the past 10 years.”
As we’ve seen countless times in the past, an artist’s reputation preceding them doesn’t always live up to the hype. Fortunately for Yates, his musicianship and songwriting abilities demonstrate he is in fact worthy of the buzz.
It is something he takes all in stride.
“It’s been heavy in some ways to have so much happening, but if anything, I feel as though the crazy, hectic nature of those early days have finally settled down,” Yates says.
Even if Yates is now feeling increasingly at peace with his rapid rise to fame, his self-titled 2015 release has undoubtedly helped further his career. Yates is, by all accounts, the “total package” when it comes to being the quintessential pop star.
Not only is Yates more than a proficient multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, bass, piano and drums, he also prides himself on being a songwriter. He says that while the latter skill has come to him relatively easily, he believes the singer connecting with the song, whether they had a hand in writing it or not, is one of the most important facets for pop artists today.
“Whether someone takes on a song that was written by someone else, collaborated on writing a track, or wrote it entirely themselves, as long as you’re able to connect with the song and deliver it authentically, I think that’s what people are looking for these days. It doesn’t matter who writes the material, it’s about the movement behind the song, and if that song connects with an audience. That’s what I think audiences are looking for,” Yates says.
Yates recent Juno nomination in the category of Breakthrough Artist of the Year shows it’s not solely his audience connecting with his music. Competition in the category was undeniably tough, with Yates competing for the prize against equally worthy contenders like Tobias Jesso Jr., Alessia Cara, Scott Helman and Coleman Hell.
And though he did not emerge victorious, having received a Juno Award nomination so early in his career is nothing he is going to complain about.
“I remember being in rehearsal when somebody told me that I had scored a Juno nomination. It’s an absolute honour. It just feels good to have been included in a category with such great talent.”
What: Francesco Yates, special guest to Hedley and Carly Rae Jepsen
When: Monday Apr. 11, 7 p.m.
Where: Moncton Coliseum, 377 Killam Dr., Moncton
Tickets range from $35 to $75 plus service charges. Advance tickets are available at the Coliseum Box Office, by phone (506) 857-4100 and online at tickets.moncton.ca