|THE ISLAND EXPERIMENTAL 9: 'Effortless' is an Unforgettable song...and Dance|
By Wills Morgan
Wills Morgan is back! And he writes about local musician Karin Fransson.
The Swedish-born, London-based singer/songwriter that is KARIN FRANSSON steps up to the 'mike'. Her opening call is delivered in a pure tone: 'Oh I...don't...wanna...' Now she leads her band into the first chord of her signature tune, 'Effortless'. This is a graceful waltz (in the key of E, of course) brilliantly disguised as a popular song. It sounds...it thrills. It does not shout out its wares, but the stimulus provided by this one song is...for me at the very least...irresistible.
Still in the first verse of her confessional lyric the music stops unexpectedly. Miss Fransson offers up a small vocal cadenza. 'I'd like to have a real bad hair day with you....' she sings. Then's she's back with the band: '...and stay with you...cuz baby you...' The audience is lulled into a sense of security. They start thinking: well now, this is all right. The girl's doing good, she looks good, sounds great. Nothing overtly provocative here. Calculation made. What's next?
Well friends, I'll tell you. What's next...is that our singer/songwriter now slips in the word 'damn' next to the word 'comfortable'. Is this surprising? You may think not: this is a pop song after all. Another thought comes to you: this is a dance...and it's quite something to behold. I'm insisting in my belief that with 'Effortless', Karin Fransson is more than making her mark here. She mixes sweetness as a performing artist with her prowess as lyricist and composer. She disarms. She wins. And I like the way she moves me.
Who is she? Will she say? What is her background? How does she write her songs? And why...why is her debut album called 'Private Behaviour?' I decided to contact her through a well-known social medium. She sent her replies another way: "For me my songs are very personal; my processes, learning, hurting, feeling all coming out. It’s my 'private behaviour'. It’s me".
"I write songs on the tube, in a park, on my way to work...at work...in Sweden...but ultimately when inspiration strikes. And this can happen at any time. Normally, I've had a line (of melody and words) come to me whilst on my way somewhere. I record it (or memorize it if I'm without technology): then go back to it at a later time and either a) finish b) feel it out. If it’s not ready, then I leave it.
"But there are also times where it’s more instant: and I’m playing a nice chord sequence, and my mind kinda just takes me to wherever my thought process is...in other words, it can be a very long process over some years. Or a fairly quick one in an afternoon (she smiles). It’s all highly therapeutic though."
Her background? "I grew up on an idyllic island in one of the largest lakes of Sweden where I spent a lot of time daydreaming. If I wasn’t wandering the forest singing, I’d be on my bicycle over to my friend’s house...singing another new tune I couldn’t get enough of at the top of my lungs. Next, I was introduced to the viola: had a lot of fun playing together with friends and in orchestras. Some time after that I picked up the guitar and learned to accompany myself. A great feeling!
"Having indulged (in my other big interest - languages) at college, I decided to get on the music train and moved to London for studies in contemporary music performance and production. This is when my writing of songs got started, and along with it collaborations with various songwriters: Tarmo Keranen at Sony Records, and the super 'Yardbirds' singer Andy Mitchell (a fellow ISLANDER like you, Wills!) just to mention a few. And then I went on the road: started doing lots of gigs as well as recording sessions for other artists...mmm".
‘PRIVATE BEHAVIOUR’ was recorded and released on 'Too Hip' records sometime last year. If Iistened to carefully, it provides as fine an entertainment as any long playing album of songs can provide. For those who attend THE ISLAND bar and restaurant regularly on a Wednesday night, there are additional joys. Look who’s credited in the starry list of cameo appearances! There’s Debbie Copes, vocalist extraordinaire. Also, Patrick Long has co-written a song. Valentin Gerlier’s guitar is there too. And Phil Ryans'. And Andy Mitchells'. Ms. Nyika’s in the corner on bass. Plus there’s a track featuring the great Orphy Robinson on vibraphone. Wonderful!
At the heart of this creative activity, participating in it...is Karin Fransson. Each song lends light to a little 'something' in her being. She swings and shines. She's like a star, in the delight of the sky. Stars do not show-off: They just show. And that's what make her live appearances all the more important. We at THE ISLAND EXPERIMENT have been very quite fortunate in this aspect of her work, as Karin has been with Wade Bayliss' mid-week crew since it's early birth (and she's on all the Experiment discs, too).
Karin has had herself compared with other soulful sisters of song: but if we have to go there (and I fear we must) allow me to make this final suggestion. Nat 'King' Cole: first a pianist, then a band-leader, song-writer, song-singer and popular broadcaster. Nat was and is an American original who was able to prove in his brief career that you don't have to be afraid of the sight and sound of elegance in popular music. So it is that with songs like 'Effortless', Karin Fransson is on her way, shaping her live-ness with originality and flair. Like Nat's famous song, she is...Unforgettable.
'Private Behaviour' is available on iTunes, at www.karinfransson.com and in other places. Karin Fransson's next appearance is live at The Good Ship, Kilburn on the evening of April 26. Also on the bill: Prita Grealy, Hattie Longfield and Ms. Nyika. Experimentals all.