Fran Lobo is no stranger to the world of production, her career in music spanning several years beyond just her work as a solo artist. Of Goan and Maharashtrian descent, Fran grew up in London, absorbing the wide variety of genres that defined her family’s taste; everything from nu metal to country, to Bollywood. This large mix of genres makes her own personal style an amalgamation of her influences as well as one that is clearly influenced by her work as a choral conductor and composer with Deep Throat Choir. In sum, Fran dances away from any one musical binary, lo-fi pop meets post-punk, while the weight of her voice and her ornate vocal stylings act as the deciding rudder, moving her through each track in an ever-changing way.
Emphasising community and natural production, Lobo manages to craft a personal treatise through her work, unafraid of difficult themes, her music gives way to emotion, embodying it in a way that is raw and powerful. While her early work brought media acclaim from outlets such as Dazed, The Fader, The Guardian, and BBC Radio 1, Burning It Feels Like is sure to turn heads as her debut album, arriving three years after her last EP. Teased through early singles Tricks and All I Want, accompanied by their respective woozy and aesthetic music videos, it is set to be a deeply personal and poignant release for Lobo.

Honing in on the concept of ‘love addiction,’ the feeling of being enveloped in a heated connection with another person and the highs and lows associated with being hooked on someone in such a way, Lobo picks apart the personal and lays herself bare. Entirely written and produced by Lobo, Burning It Feels Like is an exciting next step for the uncompromising artist.
Hi there Fran, thank you so much for your time. Super excited to listen to your debut album, I read that the inspiration for the title came from a therapy session. This obviously hints at the personal nature of your work, what strengths do you find in being vulnerable?
Hey, thank you! The inspiration for the album title came from the practice of recognising and locating feelings and sensations in the body and sitting with them to understand them – letting them be present and then noticing when they are triggered and when they pass. The title hints at feelings of anxiety, hurt, and addiction as well as a whole host of other feelings which can’t necessarily be named. I wanted the listener to interpret it in their own way.
I feel things very deeply, so showing my vulnerability and being able to express that in my music is my way of processing and expressing these emotions and learning more about myself along the way. I feel that music in essence is an act of vulnerability, pure release and expression, which is a strength as well as a gift.
You did your own production for the album, alongside Andy Ramsay of Stereolab as engineer. What was this process like?
I wrote and produced my album, bringing in trusted collaborators to help bring the vision to life, offer their interpretations and ideas as well as to keep me company during the journey as it gets a little lonely working by yourself and I love being around people in the studio.
I worked with Andy and Jimmy Robertson on my EP Brave, which was released on Slowdance Records in 2021. They both engineered and Jimmy mixed the record. I really enjoyed working with them, so I decided to get them on board for the album too as well as pulling in my earliest collaborator on this project, Pascal Bideau (Akusmi) and composer/producer, Sam Beste (The Vernon Spring) to contribute layers, ideas, co-engineer and co-produce. They are not all on every track, but I brought them in to offer specific things on various pieces. Jimmy Robertson mixed the entire record – he is a very special person and my ride-or-die in the studio!
The process of making this record was quite lengthy. The main task was reimagining and re-producing older songs to fit with the general vision of the newer material. In a sense, this debut record was also a deep process of finding my voice in the fullest way, which was at times a solitary journey working late in the studio on my own, eating hula hoops and trying things, getting stuck, taking long breaks between working and then trying to work things out almost like a puzzle either solo or bringing in other musicians to try ideas and then organising and arranging it all in the mixing process.
The album is set to be released on Heavenly recordings, what drew you to this label?
The main thing that drew me to Heavenly was the trust and openness they had with me from the beginning. There was no ‘let us know what happens and keep us in the loop… we are interested.’ It was more ‘We love what you do and we want to work with you’ straight after the first meeting! I was taken aback by their belief and passion and the fact that they are really nice and warm people. They don’t feel like ‘music industry’ and they let me get on with my work in my own way.
Initially, you were more drawn to performance rather than writing lyrics, what eventually sparked your transition to writing?
Being drawn to writing was a natural progression from performance as I felt it was a fuller way of telling my story. Growing up, I performed in musicals and loved the theatre, but looking around, everyone looked the same and you had to have a certain look and even personality to fit into these crowds. I was just like, I’m different, I want to say something! And in order to do that I should write my own music.
As a teenager walking around with headphones on at all times, I fell in love with a boy in my theatre group and I wrote my first song, Jamie. I asked my music teacher to help me scribe parts for clarinet and violin and I performed the song on the piano as part of my first-ever gig at the school music concert in Year 10. After that, I was like this is pretty great, I want to keep doing this.
Having overcome a traumatic experience within the music industry, to now be releasing your debut on your own terms is a powerful journey. How did you manage to bridge these experiences?
Support from friends and turning to music to release my emotions has always been a powerful tool for me and having a strong musical community, cultivating relationships with fellow musicians and close friends such as Lucinda Chua and Laura Groves has helped me feel uplifted and loved. My label, Heavenly, has also been very supportive and nurturing to me, letting me do things in my own time.
You are in some ways a performer before you are a musician. Does your work as an artist who works with installations feel disparate from your work as a singer and songwriter?
All the work that I do is intrinsically linked. The goal is always to express and show vulnerability and to learn about myself. I am very interested in the human voice and in sound design for example, and this comes across in all the work that I have done whether installation, films or music. During the process of making this album I have worked with movement directors and dancers, which is something I have always wanted to do and that I will take forward now across many things I will make.
What was your experience like growing up in London as an Asian-British artist, in what ways do you feel that the scene has changed, if at all?
To be quite honest, growing up, there were very few British-Asian role models for me. As a teenager I remember M.I.A, Jai Paul, and that guy from Cornershop – all amazing artists! But that was more in my early 20s, not really in my childhood. They were the British Asians going against the grain somewhat and it took until I was in my early 20s to get to experience that.
I feel in the last five or six years there has been a big change with the visibility of British-Asian artists, and with publications such as Gal-Dem (R.I.P) and Azeema Mag that helped pave the way, I think there are way more left field Asian artists who are being given the attention they deserve such as Nabihah Iqbal, who just had billboards all across London for her second album. Her music is of course influenced by her experiences as a Bristish-Asian, but the sounds are not necessarily using Asian instruments or samples.
I feel there can sometimes be an expectation that if you are brown, your music/styling or output should obviously reflect this. It’s a complicated thing to describe, but I don’t want to perform for the white gaze or because that is what people expect/for the sake of it. I’m making music that sums up my influences and my story, and whether that has a Bollywood sample on it or not, it reflects my experience as a British Asian.
At the moment there seems to be a movement in London with British-Asian club culture with Daytimers and the Dialled In Festivals, which are a real celebration of Asian culture which I really rate as it gives Asian artists a platform to perform, be together and for the community to connect with our culture.
You cite a wide range of influences to your sound, as well as a plethora of artists you listened to growing up. Who are you listening to at the minute?
At the moment, I’m listening to my incredible friends Lucinda Chua, Laura Groves, and Coby Sey.
You mention that you wanted the album to be brought forward through community and collaborative work as opposed to you “working alone at a computer.” How did this community come about for Burning It Feels Like?
This community has grown organically over my last ten years of music-making in London. Through going to gigs, supporting each other online and meeting up to jam and connect. Coby and I shared a studio together over the lockdowns in Hither Green Studios, Lucinda played on my record, Laura Groves and I played on Lucinda’s album, etc. A lot of cross-pollination and admiration for each other’s work.
There’s often a question that could be asked about the advice you might tell your younger self, but in the hope of being less derivative – what's something you actually might be able to learn from a visit with a younger you? Or what sort of practices have you maintained that hark back to you as a younger person?
If I sat down with my younger self, I would be able to learn about the reasons I have struggled with self-esteem, from needing more love to lacking a sense of belonging. In terms of practices I have held onto, I like to maintain my creativity and curiosity, which is something that can often get lost as we get older.
What are you looking forward to in the coming months, and how do you plan on celebrating the release of your debut?
In the coming months, I’m really looking forward to finishing the final music video, having the album out, and enjoying the summer with my friends. I’m excited about getting back to the studio and doing more music with friends. To celebrate the release, I will be doing a show at Laylow with all my friends as well as celebrating in my own private way with those closest to me.
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