Francine Honey talks ‘I Carry On’, songwriting and her Career so Far and Going Forward

We featured Francine Honey for the first time just a couple of weeks, with the premiere of her fantastic new single ‘I Carry On’. So impressed were we, that we needed to find out more – so we fired some questions over the Atlantic for Francine to answer!

Hi Francine, Great to chat to you! A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to premiere the video for your latest release ‘I Carry On’.Can you tell us the inspiration behind the song?
The song “I Carry On” is a song of courage, hope and gratitude for the people in life that help carry us through the hard times. I wrote this song with Robert Gray, who happens to be my neighbour.  I hadn’t seen him for a while and I had been travelling so it was a bit of a shock when he told me he had been fighting cancer for the past few months.  He asked if we could write together.  A few months later, he sent me the start of this song and we worked on it together crafting an inspirational message for those going through a tough time.  It is a tribute to those in our lives who help us through our struggles as a way to thank them for helping carry us through.  We both want this song to help people who are struggling right now.

The video itself is a fantastic watch. That must have been fun seeing that come together?

Thank you for premiering the video.  It thrills me so much that it is being seen and is helping people through these turbulent times.  Since I am not on the front lines helping people, I have been on lock-down at home.  I had to cancel the plans to film many videos face to face.  I was planning on releasing a different song and with what is happening in the world, shifted gears because I really felt “I Carry On” is the song the world needs to hear right now. I didn’t think we would be able to do a video at all but then I had the idea for the video just play through my head when I woke up one morning, so I called Neilson Hubbard who works with me on all of my videos in Nashville and told him of my vision and we came up with a way to work on it at a distance.  So, I cleared out the living room and my partner shot the footage of my singing the song at home.  I had heard and seen all of the wonderful things family and friends were doing out on the front lines and at home, making masks and headbands, homeschooling, putting rainbows in their windows to show their support.  I wanted to video to represent how people come together and are getting through this time by helping each other out.  Even the last scene of the video walking towards the water with my arms out-stretched was filmed by the side of the road as I jumped out of the car quickly with the beautiful sky to catch that shot.  It was one take that I did alone with my cell phone on a tripod with my car running and the door open…and it just turned out!  It makes me laugh out loud at how it was all meant to be because it worked and the sky was amazing at that particular moment as I was driving home from dropping off some food I had prepared for my father-in-law (who is also in the video).  Neilson Hubbard and Joshua Britt did such a great job of editing and putting it all together in the end.  It was a lot of fun putting it together and to see how wonderful it turned out, still makes me tear up at certain parts when I watch it.

The song is part of an exciting project which you’ll be releasing later this year. Can you give us an insight into that project?

So as you can surmise by seeing the video, I am not in my 20s.  In fact, I have lived a bit of a life up until now.  I have decided to chronicle my life story in song and I am planning on entitling the project “2020 Vision”.  You see the year 2020 was the year I was supposed to retire in my previous job as a federal government employee. It had always been a year I was looking forward to and working towards.  I am not a touring artist per se but I do love doing house concerts and performing at smaller venues.  One of my mentors has been Verlon Thompson. I admire him as not only a wonderful songwriter, but as a performer.  His shows are mesmerizing and he tells his life story as a way to connect with others.  At first, I really struggled with this because it seems too egotistical and really, who cares about MY life story but then I started thinking about all of the people who have reached out to me, telling me that by hearing what I have been through, it has helped them.  By hearing my story, they felt less alone in the world. By hearing my story, they believed that dreams could come true.  So, I decided I would just do it and see what happens.  It has been such an interesting and reflective project.  I guess some people write a book about their lives which I may do and have each chapter end with a song but for now, I am putting together my life story in song along with a 2-hour show.  Just me and my life, there for all to hear.  I have a few more songs left to record and am hoping to release the double album later this year. 

For much of your life you treated music simply as a hobby and never dreamed of making it a career? What changed?

Yes, this is very true.  I remember when I was deciding about university or college and having the choice to make when applying to programs whether to choose music or mathematics.  I never thought I could make it in the music business because I simply didn’t believe in myself enough.  I didn’t think I was a good enough guitar player, a good enough pianist, a good enough singer.  After all, who would want to listen to my crazy little songs I had been writing?  So I chose mathematics which provided me with a good career.  I always wrote and when my children were in their teens and leaving the house to go off to university themselves, I remember the specific moment when I decided to get back into music.  My son had made the comment “Get a life Mom!  You know how teenagers will make those comments when you are poking in their space too much.  I was hurt by that comment and when I asked him about why he had made that remark to me again, he said he didn’t want to leave me at home alone because he was worried about what I would do without him there.  What a gift that was!  I had never thought about it from his perspective.  The very next day, I went to the music store and bought some new strings for my guitar, a nice writing book and some new pencils and came home and started writing new songs.  It was like a faucet had been turned on. I wrote songs for all of my family members and recorded them on a self-released album that year for Christmas.  In fact, my son played Bass on those first songs because he was still home and I started playing at open mics.  He made a comment that I was hardly ever home and that I could wait to get a life after he left for university!  It was quite comical!  People started calling me asking to buy copies of my self-produced album and that started the ball rolling.  Working at my government job became such a chore and I planned and saved for years to be able to quit my job.  I worked hard to put aside enough money to fund my music up until now.  So far so good and I have my fingers crossed. I can’t see myself ever going back.

Can you give us an idea of your song writing process? Is there a set routine?

I write better in the morning.  I find that song ideas will come to me as I am waking up.  My sub-conscious mind works on songs overnight and I now just record myself as I am getting ready for my day in the morning because snippets of melody and lyrics will just come out.  I literally walk around with my phone on record mode.  I then try to keep that energy going and will get to my studio as soon as I can to capture that creative flow that has been unlocked from my sleep.  I consider those pieces the gifts and the creative part of song writing.  I will normally have the bare bones of the song during this time and occasionally the whole song.  Sometimes, there is more than one song idea with a melody that comes during this time as well.  I will then take a break and come back to them later and work on them some more.  I find the work part of the song is the finishing part. Ensuring that the song is clear in its meaning, that the melody works, deciding which instrument should be the main instrument and the key and arrangement is right for the song and the technical part of the song is correct (rhyming etc.).  I have over 400 unfinished songs.  I have 2 protected writing times during the week where I will sit with my binder and go through them and see which ones speak to me to finish.  Currently, these are the ones to complete my life story.

If you had to pick out a highlight from your music career, what would it be?

Since writing songs is what is the most important to me, I think being recognized for my song writing by the International Songwriting Competition as well as other awards have been the highlight for me so far, although, I am also very proud of the awareness and support I have brought to the Soldier On program in Canada to support veterans with the song “I Soldier On” as well as all of the people the song “Snowflakes on my Eyelashes” has helped through their grief.

To finish, tell us what you would like to achieve in music going forward! Have you got any particular dreams?.

When I quit my job to become a songwriter, my dream was to be recognized as a songwriter and to have my songs reach people and help them through life.  I feel as though I have achieved that already, which really is unbelievable that all of this has happened in the 6 years since I decided to do this full time.  It truly is astounding and humbling.  I feel as though my dreams have all come true.  I never wanted to be, nor will I be, a superstar like Adele or Taylor Swift, but my songs have reached millions of people and I am so thankful for that. I am hoping to continue to help people get through life with music and my dream is simply to keep doing that. I would love to have some of my music placed in TV or film.  I guess that is the one thing I have yet to see as an accomplishment.

At the end of the day, I wish to leave behind songs that will continue to help people through life and I hope to have the time to finish those songs that are important for others to hear.  I am very fortunate that I can do what I am doing now.  Despite 2020 being a crazy year so far, it is here, and I hope to keep inspiring others to carry on.


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