7 Questions With Angelique Francis: First-time Blues Album of the Year Nominee - The JUNO Awards

Get to know 2023 Blues Album of the Year nominee, Angelique Francis in our “7 Questions With” series where we speak with first-time JUNO Award nominees from all genres.

Angelique Francis is a versatile and exceptionally gifted musician. This multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist, multi-genre singer-songwriter, and composer has wowed audiences across the globe with her electrifying performances, instrumental abilities, and powerful textured vocals. She is known for her eclectic mix of various musical genres including Blues, Soul, Folk, Jazz, Gospel, and Rock. Angelique has shared the stage/opened for a large roster of well-known musicians such as Gary Clark Jr, Joe Bonamassa, Eric Gales, Keb’ Mo’, Jimmy Vivino, Beth Hart, Tom Cochran, Burton Cummings, Sugar Ray, and the list goes on. Her diversity, passion and love of music can be heard in all of her original compositions.

1. How does it feel to be nominated for a JUNO award?

It feels incredible! It’s such a privilege to be considered for one of Canada’s highest honours in music. I’m so overjoyed that my album Long River has resonated with so many people around the world, and I am grateful for the opportunities this nomination has given me to continue to spread joy, share stories, and meet amazing people through my art.

2. Tell us a bit about your JUNO-nominated project.

The title track of this album “Long River” was written about the River of Life. Despite our differences and the vast variations in our personal histories, we are all floating down this river together. We are all connected in this way; We have all shared the same beginning, and we will all share the same end. This analogy is the focal point on which this album of completely original songs is based. A multitude of stories, experiences and emotions of joy, pain, triumph, anger, love, embarrassment, and humour are reflected throughout.

Much like life, Blues music is also a river. Blues is at the root of all modern North American forms of music, and its influence has flowed into the creation of many genres we know and love today; including Rock, R&B, Soul, Folk, Americana, Jazz, Gospel, Bluegrass, and many more. This album is not only a beginning to an exploration of the current human condition, but an exploration and consolidation of the many forms of blues, and blues influenced music.

This album was produced independently by myself, and my co-producer Kiran Francis, and recorded by the members of the Angelique Francis Band (Kiran Francis, Kharincia Francis, Kira Francis, Dave Williamson, Ed Lister, Kayla Francis).

3. What has been the craziest moment of your music career to date?

Getting nominated for a JUNO is certainly a proud moment for myself and my Band. I have had several highlights over my career including:

  • Sharing the stage with incredible musicians such as Gary Clark Jr, Joe Bonamassa, Eric Gales, Keb’ Mo’, Jimmy Vivino, Beth Hart, Tom Cochran, Burton Cummings, Sugar Ray, and so on
  • Winning 2 Maple Blues Awards (Canadian Blues Music Awards) and being nominated for four Canadian Blues Music Awards, a 2023 Canadian folk music award, and a 2022 Ontario folk music award.
  • Being a feature act at the Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea festival (Miami to Jamaica), Grolsch Blues Festival (Germany), Sighisoara Blues Festival (Romania), Massey Hall, Montreal Jazz Festival, Mariposa Folk Fest, Calgary Folk fest, Canmore Folk Fest, Ottawa Blues Festival, and many more.

4. What’s your favourite lyric from this project, and why does it resonate with you so much?

There are many lines from Long River that I love, but it’s difficult to identify one solitary lyric that stands above them all. I shaped this album so that each song would flow into the next one, and connect in various ways. Some of the songs are stories, like “Ashamed” and Caroline”, and some songs like “Long River” have lyrics that evolve and grow over the course of the song; each lyric fitting together like pieces in a puzzle forming an overall picture. Some lyrics are humorous, some are celebratory, but I think one verse that stands well on its own, is from one of my interlude tracks “Fear No Evil”. It goes:

“Take down your misconceptions,
Strike down mass deceptions,
Limitation is perception,
And don’t you make no sad exception (go and take your stand)”

The song is about overcoming one’s fears and the limitations we set for ourselves, and standing up for what’s right. It encourages us to believe in our power to make a positive impact in this world.

5. Which Canadian artist would you like to collaborate with and why?

There are so many incredible artists out there, it’s so hard to choose! Deborah Cox, Tamia, Glenn Lewis, Amanda Marshall and Divine Brown would definitely be included in my long list of artists to collaborate with. I grew up listening to these amazing musicians, and they have influenced me in so many ways; from my songwriting to my vocal stylings. It would be an honour to work with them.

6. What would you like music fans to know about you? How would you introduce your music to
new or soon-to-be fans?

I would describe myself as a multi-instrumentalist, multi-genre singer songwriter, composer and band leader of the internationally touring band: the Angelique Francis Band. I love to weave and mix various roots and roots influenced styles such as Blues, Soul, Folk, Americana, Jazz, Gospel, Rock, etc.

7. What’s next for you?

I have a ton of performances coming up all across Canada this year. For concert details and announcements, you can follow me on social media or visit my website www.angeliquefrancis.net. I will also be releasing more music videos from my “Long River” album in the on coming months, and be on the lookout for new music in 2023.

Tickets for The 2023 JUNO Awards are on sale now! Don’t miss out on an unforgettable night of Canadian music hosted by Simu Liu on March 13.