FRANCESCA BELMONTE is a singer and songwriter from London, UK.

She is TRICKY‘s singer, they recently collaborated on “False idols” album, soon to be released worldwide within the end of May.

Reykjavik Boulevard just met her to find out more about her work with Adrian Thaws aka Tricky, her italian origins and about IRELAND, the place where she grew up.

77

We know you a little. Tell us more: who is Francesca Belmonte?

My mother is Irish, my father is Neapolitan. I was born in London but raised in West Cork, Ireland. I’m a singer-songwriter now living in London.

What kind of music do you listen to?

I have a very eclectic taste… I’m very lucky as my parents had great taste in music. I got Van Morrison and the Dubliners from my Dad and The Shangri-las, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry and Carole King from my mother. My brother is also a musician and I got to know about Nirvana, The Pixies and Tricky through him. As I grew into a teenager and started finding my voice I listened almost exclusively to Billie Holiday and Nina Simone (with whom I share the same birthday 21st Feb). My mother works as an Art teacher in a school for gifted musicians which has helped me appreciate more classical music such as Chopin and Mozart. I thought I knew about music until I met Tricky. He introduced me to loads of new bands I either hadn’t heard of or hadn’t given the time and has definitely helped broaden my musical tastes.

How did you meet Tricky?

I met Tricky at an audition he was holding in London for a new singer.

Do you like Italy?

I adore Italy. I adore Naples. Every time I go to Naples I come back feeling more grounded and with a clearer sense of who I am and where I came from. My grandmother used to come to Ireland in the summer and spend all day cooking making “gnocchi” and red sauce. My father has a strange relationship with Italy; he had a rough time there and left when he was around 8. He never spoke to us in Italian and I didn’t see the Italian side of the family much when I was growing up. I can sing a few songs in Italian but I cannot speak the language, I am learning though… Slowly!

What are your future projects?

My main future project will be working on my debut album which will be produced by Tricky and another producer called Fybe. It will be released on Tricky’s label ‘False Idols’ in 2014. Apart from touring Tricky’s new album ‘False Idols’, this will be my sole focus.

What are your dreams?

I have many. I’m living a dream in a way. I get to share a stage with an artist I respect hugely. An artist who has something important to say and an artist who inspires me. I get to be on the road and sing every night, in a way this is all I need but I am definitely still hungry. My dream is that my album gets a response that enables me to be on the road performing for most of the year. I’m addicted to the road, I like the constant movement, it makes me feel calm. A dream to move people and make them feel something.

What emotions have you got in your concerts with Tricky?

That’s a hard question. It’s different every night. Tricky’s music is spiritual and intense; certain songs always get you, She Makes Me Wana Die, Nothings changed, We Dont Die, Passion of the Christ. Tricky is no pop star so you never know what you’re going to get. He goes on a journey as we walk onto the stage and you’re either with him or you’re not and that applies to the band and the audience.

Who and What inspires you?

My biggest inspiration is my brother. He was in a near fatal road accident 2 years ago. He was knocked off his bicycle by a speeding police van and suffered horrific, life changing injuries. We nearly lost him but he fought his way back. The injustice of the whole thing was unfathomable. He is doing very well now and is recovering steadily. The way he has kept his cool through the nightmare and through his affliction is staggering. Human resilience is inspiring and the art born of this struggle is inspiring and encouraging.

Tell us about Ireland.

I am very proud of my Irish heritage. I grew up in the rebel county and had a very free childhood. Lots of open space to run wild in, beautiful mountains and a view of the Atlantic ocean from the house. One of my biggest gifts from Ireland was an appreciation of nature and the importance of it to maintain a sound mind. We lived off the land and my father would fish. Our nearest neighbour was Timmy, who lived about a mile away. He was old school, a very wise man. He used to plough the fields with a horse and old fashioned wooden plough. I could talk about Ireland for hours. There was never a lot of money, we moved in the 90’s during the recession and were quite poor but I had no idea we didn’t have a lot growing up and no one had a lot so we would all get by together; it was normal. Ireland is a very special place, it has a mystical history and has struggled throughout time, a unique Ireland, there’s nowhere like it.

How are your fans?

‘Fans’ are very cool and very supportive and I can’t wait to show them the album. I’m very lucky because Tricky’s fans are very loyal, they believe in him and he believes in me so with a bit of luck that will translate!

By: Luciana Cameli