On the Couch with Frances Madden

Frances Madden oncWho is Frances Madden?
I’m a Sydney-based singer, songwriter and pianist.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’d collaborate more with other musicians, especially in my song writing. I probably wasn’t confident enough to do that when I first started out writing.

Who inspires you and why?
Lots of people give me inspiration. My family have had incredible faith in me and that inspires me to write and perform. Some of the great female singers, like Ella Fitzgerald and Eva Cassidy, are absolutely inspiring and not only because of their talent but because they faced difficult circumstances.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Make music! When I write or perform, I’m always trying to make something beautiful and true. If my music can touch people, if they can feel happy or at peace, then that can make a difference. I believe we are all given a talent and if we can discover it and use it correctly then it is of benefit to others as well.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Well I recently came back from New York and New Orleans and I have to say that was pretty amazing! But Paris is my favourite place. I have always had a strange fascination for all things French. French language, French food, French . . . ah, well now I better not finish that thought! I love Paris, the culture, the sophistication, the sense of the aesthetic.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
Well this may sound strange but our family has a lot of friends from overseas come and visit and basically they all want to eat my mum’s cooking, which is famous at least in our circles. But it is hard to go past an experience of Sydney Harbour, whether that’s on a boat, from the Opera House or the Bridge climb.

What are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished reading Beyond Chocolate, about how to overcome an addiction to chocolate. I don’t think it worked…

What are you currently listening to?
I listen to lots of different music, from the Beatles to Bach. Right now I’m listening to a compilation of Eva Cassidy albums.

Happiness is?
Happiness to me would be sharing the fulfillment of a dream with my family. We are very close. And of course an endless pack of Tim Tams. Not necessarily in that order.

What does the future hold for you?
Well, to me it’s all in Someone else’s hands. But I hope there will be more albums, more collaborations, more travel and touring, especially overseas. And family – I keep a look out for my own charming ‘Mr Darcy’ but you know, men are so modern these days.

Frances Madden  has become one of Sydney’s most exciting and in-demand young ‘popular jazz’ artists. Described by ABC Classic FM’s Mal Stanley as ‘one to watch’, she is a sophisticated and classy vocalist, pianist and original songwriter.

Frances’ original songs, whether up-tempo swing, blues or ballads, have a natural fresh quality and a universal charm that connects with her audience. Her distinctive interpretation of classics and jazz standards goes beyond genre, reinforcing both her unique sound and a broad ‘adult contemporary’ appeal.

Frances regularly performs either solo or with her band at leading jazz venues, hotels and festivals. Her band includes some of Australia’s finest up-and-coming young jazz musicians including Peter Koopman on guitar, James Heazlewood-Dale on double bass and Tim Geldens on drums.

Frances grew up listening to Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Eva Cassidy and Ella Fitzgerald who she acknowledges amongst her influences. She studied classical piano while at school, later moving to contemporary music and jazz, and taking up singing after she finished.

She then completed a Degree in Music Performance at the Australian Institute of Music. Since graduating at the end of 2010, Frances hasn’t looked back, establishing herself as a full time performing artist.

A couple of years into her music career, Frances began to write her own material and attracted the attention including that of the legendary James Morrison:  The result is her first studio album if this were a dream which includes eight original tracks and five classic covers. For more information, visit: www.francesmadden.com for details.

Image: Frances Madden