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jazz-influenced singers Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Eva Cassidy as well as French music by Edith Piaf,. Yann Tiersen, and Carla Bruni among others. Yet it was ...

Francesca Blanchard is a singer-songwriter born and raised in France who traveled the globe with her family before she settled in a small town in Vermont. Her original songs, sung in French and English reflects on her travels, both physical and emotional. Francesca will be recording her first full-length album in the spring of 2014.

“quietly and profoundly stunning. a humble ode to love, heartbreak and home that says more about all three topics than some songwriters do over entire careers. remarkable.” - Seven Days VT

Francesca Blanchard is a young French-American singer-songwriter whose lyrics and melodies reflect her bilingual, multicultural upbringing. Born in the south of France in 1992, where her family resided until she was ten, Francesca recalls her Mediterranean childhood as one of bare feet on terra cotta tiles, fuchsia sunsets, fresh mistral breezes, the aroma of lavender and evening cricket choirs. “La vie douce” (“the sweet life”) aptly describes the rhyme and rhythm of those early years, where extended sojourns to a family cabin in the Alps further nourished a love of wild, open spaces and the solitary peace of simple living in the heart of a family that was anything but conventional. With parents who have worked intermittently for overseas humanitarian agencies, Francesca lived and went to school in Ethiopia and Burundi. Family journeys have taken her to over 30 off-the-beaten-path countries such as South Korea, Mauritania, Rwanda, Kenya, Egypt, Thailand, Australia, Honduras, Tanzania, Guatemala and India. She’s learned to “travel light and invite surprises”, but also to rely upon an open mind and a listening heart as she’s encountered such a varied sampling of humankind. Growing up in a household consisting of a father and step sister from France, an American mother, and adopted siblings from Ethiopia and Guatemala, Francesca’s own family reflects a spirit where the sense of “belonging” comes not from a particular place or heritage but from the bonds of being passengers on the same metaphorical ship of life. Music has always been a part of Francesca’s upbringing, thanks to a mother who is herself a singer and songwriter. While Francesca resisted the guitar lessons her mother imposed on her at first, once a suitably cute dreadlocked college grad music teacher was found Francesca agreed to keep at it. At first, all Francesca wanted was to learn to play “Blackbird” by The Beatles, but over time her finger picking improved and she began writing her own songs. The musical backdrop of her childhood included jazz-influenced singers Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Eva Cassidy as well as French music by Edith Piaf, Yann Tiersen, and Carla Bruni among others. Yet it was theater, not music, that first ignited Francesca’s passion for performing. Francesca has been appearing on stage and screen since the age of 11. She began participating in professional theater companies shortly after her family moved to the pastoral state of Vermont. Her leading roles as Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird and Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker earned her astounded responses from local critics and audiences who marveled at the emotional depth captured by this precocious pre-teen. Stage work led to roles in several local film productions and to the Circle in the Square Theater School in New York City. Francesca is now pursing her undergraduate degree in Theater Arts at Boston University. While she has always approached acting as a professional, it wasn’t until she had a chance to record her own 6-song EP in 2011 that it became clear that she has a fruitful career ahead of her in music as well. Aided by Vermont singer-songwriter and producer Gregory Douglass, Francesca recorded Songs on an Ovation and began selling the collection of original compositions and well-chosen covers in French and English to friends, family and neighbors. Soon, the EP began earning Francesca local acclaim, leading Burlington, Vermont weekly Seven Days to rave “Barely out of high school, the local singer-songwriter already displays guile and artistic sensitivity that would be the envy of many tunesmiths twice her age — and, for that matter, music critics of a similarly mature vintage. Her debut EP, Songs on an Ovation, is quietly and profoundly stunning. It is a humble ode to love, heartbreak and home that says more about all three topics in the span of 17 minutes than some songwriters do over entire careers.” “Beyond the arts, our society offers few rewards for intuitive, introspective souls,” asserts Francesca, “which may explain why I feel safest and happiest hugging my guitar and opening up to the flow of gathered impressions. When I write songs, they spring from an emotional pool that almost plucks the chords independently, and then I fill in the lyrics according to the melody and the mood that unfolds. I can’t calculate the end product. That may change, but it’s a very organic process for me and it’s a necessity. I express myself most easily and truthfully through song. Also, since I am both a French person and an American person – two compatible selves that can, alas, never be fully synthesized, I sing and write from two distinct points of view.” While she finishes her studies at Boston University Francesca is gearing up for future recording and gaining experience by opening for established artists such as Suzanne Vega, Caravan Palace and The Parkington Sisters. She also had the opportunity to perform at the prestigious Francofolies festival in Montreal in 2013, and her rendition of the classic French song “Sous Le Ciel de Paris” was featured on the Putumayo collection Vintage France. While she approaches the cutthroat music business with some trepidation and a desire to retain the balance between the romance and emotional intimacy of her artistic self with the pragmatic detachment of today’s DIY, socially mediated industry, Francesca’s unique gifts as a singer and songwriter promise a long and successful future. “I am grateful for the universal nature of music,” notes Francesca, “It’s made everywhere, by anyone, in as many ways as the human heart can feel. As I see it, if it touches hearts, it’s good music. That’s what I want to make.”