We had the good fortune of connecting with Penn Francis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Penn, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think that risks are essential to growth both in one’s personal life as well as in one’s professional life. For me personally, I’ve always had a hard time being open and expressing my feelings. Vulnerability has never come easy for me so naturally taking the risk of displaying my emotions in song form was a struggle and a huge risk for me. It’s been a journey, as I do still feel uncomfortable sharing my inner turmoil at times, however, I understand that there are other people like me that can relate and hopefully find value in the words that I present. It’s also helped me to be more open and upfront in my personal life and changed the way that I approach dealing with others. My work typically touches on topics such as injustice, isolation, depression, anxiety, inner turmoil, etc because those are things that I have and/or continue to experience. In a society where boys & men are told to suppress their emotions, I feel that it’s important for me to combat that and let my listeners know that those feelings are natural and they aren’t alone. I use my work as a diary of sorts and choose to be honest and upfront with where I am at that point in my life. In my opinion, honesty is the first step to overcoming any issues at hand and bringing awareness to mental health is crucial in these trying times.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Growing up in Los Angeles, I played in several bands around the LA/SGV/OC scenes before venturing off to focus on a solo career and a songwriter/producer/visual artist. Blending both analog & digital instrumentation, I like to take the experimental approach such as dabbling in multiple genres from the likes of Indie, Hip Hop, Ambient, Drum & Bass, & New Wave to name a few. My focus is to not allow myself to be restricted by one sound and constantly push my boundaries. My “B(e)sides” series is a clear representation of that and a means to explore new concepts without restriction, while my albums, EPs, and singles are of a more structured approach that best represents my Indie/Hip Hop inspired sound. Lyrically, my work is a diary of sorts that explores topics such as struggles with mental health, relationship issues, self doubt, depression, and injustice to name a few examples. I aim to shed light on vulnerable topics that I am and/or have experienced in my personal life with the intention of connecting to my listener on a personal level while allowing them to understand that they aren’t alone in those feelings of uncertainty.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I tend to spend a lot of my time in isolation working on my craft, but LA is beautiful and there are tons of great hiking spots, restaurants, venues, festivals, etc. However, with the state of the pandemic, there aren’t many places to recommend at the moment.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Firstly, I’d like to shoutout my family and friends for their love and support in everything that I do and I’d also like to shoutout everyone that engages with my work. The fact that anyone takes the time to listen and engage with what I do is something that I’ll never take for granted. Artists you should listen to: Frythm, Salami Rose Joe Louis, Chinsaku, Vex Ruffin, Venus Hides, Xinxin, Brainstory, Froth