It's not hard to find new artists today who love the sounds of the analog era. But fewer in number are the artists with the energy, determination and ability to recreate those sounds.
Not only did Neal Francis recreate and reappropriate sounds of '60s and '70s R&B and rock 'n' roll on his 2019 album, Changes, he also reimagined the energy of those classic records, creating something fresh, authentic and anchored in analog.
But like many other performers, the launch of Francis's career was grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.
"We had a pretty crazy year laid out for us," he tells Q104.3 New York's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke. "Two month-long tours of Europe and every major festival I can imagine here in the States, and also a festival in Japan. It was a Cinderella moment."
Francis has been through harder times before, from drug addition to sobriety to a rocky breakup that left him with nowhere to go. He now lives and records in the parsonage of an old Chicago church, where he served as the minister of music, until the congregation was dissolved last year.
"The building's on the market, but I'll be staying here until it's sold," he continued. "I'm just grateful for every day because it's been such a gift. It's such an amazing space."
Watch the full Out of the Box interview via the player above!
Photo: Liina Raud
Here's the music video for Neal Francis' "Changes":