Six questions with free summer concert artist Neal Francis
Neal Francis, a Chicago-born artist, likes to make music that makes audiences get up and dance.
He crafted his latest album “In Plain Sight” while living in a church he claims was haunted throughout the pandemic. He will be performing at the free summer concert series Friday, Aug. 5, at Howelsen Hill.
The gates will open at 5:30 p.m., with Elise Wunder and Das Winderband opening for Francis.
Francis chatted with Explore Steamboat to talk about his sound and what folks should expect for the show.
Explore Steamboat: How did you get into music?
Neal Francis: There was a piano in my house when I was growing up, and my parents both were big music fans — always playing music on the stereo. My mom played a little piano and stuff, and that’s kind of how it goes.
ES: How would you describe your sound or your musical inspirations?
NF: Everything I listen to, I’m just trying to distill something that I would find compelling as a listener. All eras of dance music from all recorded music, and even back to classical music as well. So many different things. Somebody described our music in Germany as “glam funk,” which I like.
What: Neal Francis at the Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series
When: 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5
Where: Howelsen Hill
ES: Tell me about your latest album and the year you spent in a (possibly) haunted church in Chicago?
NF: The drummer and I lived there for well over a year, and closer to two years of the pandemic, and a little bit before actually, (starting in) October of 2019. Yeah, it was definitely haunted, I don’t know by what metric you’d say.
I’ve never encountered anything like it before. But it was crawling with spirits and weird energy. It was pretty weird. But working there was a gift, because we had all this time and we had the entire space at our disposal. It was just really kind of a miraculous thing that we were given access to.
ES: What has been one of your favorite or most surreal moments from throughout your music career?
NF: We just went over to Europe and got to see how beautiful things are over there. Playing shows in Amsterdam and throughout Holland, and Germany. Seeing people there singing along to the songs was incredibly cool.
ES: Do you have any new music in the works?
NF: Yeah, I’ve got a new EP coming out later this year. Six brand new tracks and one remix of an old track. Writing new material for the next record, which I hope will come up next year. So yeah, there’s so much I’m working on. We’re touring relentlessly.
ES: What do you have planned for your show in Steamboat?
We’re just gonna rip it up, wake everybody up in Steamboat and put on a rock and roll show and hopefully get everybody dancing. I don’t know what the venue’s like, but you just kind of approach every show with the same sort of attitude. Just like to put all our energy out there and put on the best show we can.
To reach Katy Pickens, call 970-871-4208 or email her at kpickens@SteamboatPilot.com
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