Frances Livings is a grant winning author, poet, foreign-language jazz singer and songwriter.
Born in London and currently residing in Los Angeles, she holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in English Literature and Media Studies. She studied jazz (voice and piano) in Hamburg Germany, Frances is also the founder of her own label, Moontraxx Music.
This is what the press has to say:
Livings shows a deep understanding of love, loneliness, passion and acceptance, and ably articulates every emotion in her songs. (…) She has a truly gifted approach in telling a story, Frances Livings style. ~ Cassandra Walker (The Entertainment Bank)
This (The World I Am Livings In) is actually more a piece of art than it is music, (…) thus, don’t do anything else once you’ve tossed the disc on, or you’ll miss more than you ever guessed was there ~ Mark S. Tucker (Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange)
Frances Livings has a beautiful voice and the jazz accompaniment pairs perfectly with her words (…) a beautiful CD that I would urge anyone to purchase ~ The Poethound
Frances Livings is a wonderful singer ~ Michele Wilson-Morris (The Entertainment Bank)
Welcome and thank you for your interest! Let me introduce myself:
I have always been passionately independent-minded, imaginative and curious, always searching for new inspiration. A wide range of life experiences deliver the substance from which I draw artistically. I have lived to date in four countries and have a passion for travel and meticulous research.
In 2016 I released my second solo album, Ipanema Lounge, a collection of world jazz songs in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Prior to this work, I released an album with original material, The World I Am Livings In, with my original songs in English.
Another continuous project of mine is the creation of poetry and music. My first release was the EP During the Hours in collaboration with some of Los Angeles’ finest jazz musicians. I am continuing to work on this project and released A Breath She Took a few years. I will soon be releasing a full-length poetry album.
As a singer I have been featured on a noteworthy arrangement of Cole Porter’s jazz standard In The Still Of The Night for Daddy Deep’s album Professorship. I have worked with the guitarist and composer Greg Porée as a guest vocalist on his most recent albums, Inventions and Phoenix and was a co-writer of the song In Time For Spring.
I have been living in Los Angeles for the last fourteen years. Born in London and raised in the hilly countryside of East Anglia, I grew up in both metropolitan and suburban surroundings. As a teenager, my family moved to Germany, where I was exposed to a foreign environment in which I had learn another language. Later, I spent many months writing a dissertation in South-West France. The surroundings, besides having a productive effect on my writing, reminded me of the English countryside.
I vividly remember as a child, lying on my bed and listening to Cat Steven’s interpretation of ‘Morning Has Broken‘ on my red, fold-able Philips record player, wishing I could someday write a moving song like that. Ever since I was small I loved drawing, reading, singing and improvising melodies. Luckily, my love of words and music was supported at a very early age. My musical talent was discovered and supported with piano lessons and later cello lessons, training me to be a member of the school orchestra. I immediately fell in love with the cello and it broke my heart that I had to leave it behind when we moved to Germany. In Germany I only very briefly received piano lessons. But it has become my instrument of choice; my musical typewriter.
Songwriting: Musical Interests & Influences
My musical interests and influences are broad: During the 1980’s the selection of international music played on German radio stations was very limited. But I lived close to an American army base so I was able to listen to the American billboard charts every Sunday evening on the radio, recording my favourites on a tape recorder. In addition, every week I would buy the small lyrics booklet with the charts. I still know the lyrics to hundreds of pop songs by heart. I discovered R&B, funk and jazz and admired many artists who were also writers and not just performers, like Laurie Anderson, Ricky Lee Jones, Stevie Wonder and their ability to construct interesting lyrics, sounds and stories that enveloped me. But it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I became serious about singing and songwriting.
I wrote my first song at 19. At the same time I joined my first band and has since then worked on a growing number of musical projects. Parallel to my musical career, I studied art history, English literature and media studies and was awarded with a full scholarship for a dissertation, earning me a PhD in art history in 2003. Besides that I have worked as a waitress, handyman, antiques dealer, teacher and tour guide but it was mainly freelance theatre work (as a stage manager, tour manager, dresser and costume designer) over a period of almost ten years that made my love of inventing stories resurface and coined my interest in creating atmosphere.
In 2000 I co-founded the electronica collaboration 4UrbanArtists. We were three members, often including guest artists, and experimented with trip-hop loops, grooves and sounds we recorded and performed live in various clubs in Germany until 2003. Improvisation was an essential component. After the band broke up, I concentrated on my own songs.
The Music Industry in Los Angeles
In 2005 , I moved to Los Angeles. I spent a short period of time in Pasadena, but still travelled to and fro, after having received a writer’s grant for a book publication, Erscheinungen des Sakralen. During that time I also worked mainly on my poetry and songs. My entrepreneurial spirit led to the foundation of the music production company Moontraxx in 2009, under whose name I released the 4UrbanArtists’ long overdue six-track CD “Sticky Traxx“. The 4UrbanArtists has now become a side project for songs I still write and records in that style, like the track ‘Urban Survival‘ (2010).
My theatre background, mingled with the circumstance of often having had to adapt to new and unpredictable situations and my experience in the field of experimentation and electronica, when writing and performing with the 4UrbanArtists, has determined my style as a writer and performer. I love songs with strong lyrics, interesting chords and memorable melodies. But one of the main things for me is, how the imagery touches people and which story it tells.