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Angelique Francis brings home the blues

As part of the college’s continuing celebrations of Black History Month, Ottawa singer, Angelique Francis celebrated the many blues and soul musicians who paved the way for music.

Francis and her band performed at the D-building and the Student Commons Feb. 7, where she shared some of her original songs such as Room to Breathe and Good Things. Multiple instruments were also used to create tremendous sounds such as the trombone, upright bass and tambourine.

Her band was made up of her father, Kiran, her sisters Kira and Kharincia as well as guitarist, Garrett Warner.

Although their sound might be defined as one genre, the 21-year-old shared a different message to first-time listeners.

“We’d thought we’d show you a different of variety of blues music,” she said. “We’re not a typical mixture of blues. We mix ourselves with soul, R&B, rock – stuff like that.”

Francis’s love for music began when she started performing at the age of seven. Even though her parents made sure that her education was the first priority, they still encouraged her to pursue music.

They believed that music was something that could be beneficial for her, later in life.

“They said ‘First, you’re going to learn the piano’”, she recalls. “‘Second, you’re going to learn the guitar and then after that, you can learn anything you want.’”

“So at age 10, I picked up the piano – that was my first instrument – and I was known as a piano prodigy,” Francis said. “At 13, I also picked up the guitar and at 14, I picked up the upright bass.”

Francis and her band have performed at many venues such as Ottawa Jazz Festival, Montréal Jazz Festival as well as the Unity Festival in Toronto.

Not only has her music reached a national audience but has also reached international success. When her band had an opportunity to perform in Europe, Francis was amazed by the reception she received.

“It was incredible being contacted,” she said. “The show was sold out and everyone knew the words to my songs.”

Francis says that her musical influences originate from “everything” as they derive from different aspects of life. She hopes that as a musician, she is not only able to share the love of what she does, but also help listeners in many ways.

“If I’m able to affect one person, then my goal as a musician is [fulfilled],” she said. “One of the reasons why I went into music is because I wanted to help people in their daily lives – whether it’d be sharing similar experiences or helping uplift them.”

Fans can catch Francis and her band on March 9-10, where they’ll be performing at Ottawa’s O-Town Showdown at the Glebe Community Centre.

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