Francesco Yates is only 19 years old but he’s already received high praise from a pop superstar. “He’s absolutely gonna be just a huge, huge, huge pop star,” Pharrell Williams has said of the Toronto native. “But not in the way people have been thinking of pop music in the past ten years.” A lot to live up to, but Francesco seems poised to do just that, both in his songwriting and his evocative musicianship.
The young singer has been making music since he was much younger, but everything clicked at age 11 when Francesco saw the movie School of Rock. Suddenly, for him, music became something that was markedly possible, even a potential career path. The first song he wrote was called “Jaguars,” and it all spiraled from there. “I’ve never stopped writing since.”
Francesco signed with Chris Smith Management and 21 Music by the time he was 14 and inked a deal with Atlantic Records two years later. The musician has been working on his debut album, exploring various possibilities for his sound. Working with producers like Robin Hannibal (Kendrick Lamar, B.o.B) and Pharrell, the singer has hit upon a deft combination of pop, R&B and soul, bolstered by emotionally poignant lyrics and a strikingly passionate vocal delivery. “Francesco is a perfectionist, as you can hear on records and that takes time,” says Robin Hannibal. “There’s no correction, it’s all live and off the floor. It’s done the traditional, real singing way, where you have to get the perfect take.”
The first single “Call,” a swoony pop ballad, recalls the evocative crooning of artists like Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake. It’s a song about having patience for someone you love, an idea that compels Francesco. Swaggering, propulsive number “Change The Channel,” a falsettodriven funk collaboration with Pharrell, was imagined through a conversation the two musicians had about Led Zeppelin.
Francesco’s instrumental prowess can be heard throughout the album along with his remarkable vocals. He recently played guitar on “Gust of Wind (featuring Daft Punk),” a track off Pharrell’s recent G I R Lalbum, and now balances guitar, piano, bass, drums and even harmonica. His love for various styles of music, from Prince to Queen to Michael Jackson to Bruce Springsteen, resonates through the music, but mostly it’s Francesco’s positive sensibility that is conveyed the strongest. “For me, music should be about something that’s positive,” he says. “It’s a vibe. You need to feel good when you hear it and when you play it.”
“I really want to accomplish as much as I can with this debut album,” Francesco adds. “I want it to be the biggest thing of my generation. It may sound farfetched and crazy, but that is the end goal.”
At the age of thirteen, Tyler Shaw discovered a guitar underneath a staircase. It was then that he discovered his passion. Having never taken a professional music lesson, Tyler on his own developed a love and ability to perform on stage, drawing inspiration from a wide range of artists including John Mayer, Michael Bublé, and The Script. Now twenty two years old, this Coquitlam, BC native has gone from fooling around with a set of secondhand strings to signing a major record deal with Sony Music Canada, recording two certified Gold records, two Top 10 radio smash singles, and working on releasing his first full length album this summer!
From one end of the country to the other, Tyler enrolled at University of PEI, and it was here where his dorm friends encouraged him to submit some of his YouTube video’s to MuchMusic’s Coca-Cola Covers competition. His talent didn’t go unnoticed and Tyler was chosen as the 2012 winner from over 13,000 submissions. His triumph was broadcasted live from the MuchMusic Video Awards stage in June, 2012.
In November of the same year, Tyler released his own original single “Kiss Goodnight” to radio across the country. The romantic pop jam is co-written by Shaw, Stephen Kozminuk and Todd Clark and produced by Kozminuk and Zuban Thakkar. It was nominated for a MuchMusic Video Award and quickly rose up the charts and rose to certified Gold. The song’s success led to Tyler securing an opening slot on Ke$ha and Pitbull’s tour dates in Toronto and Montreal. His second single ‘By My Side’ also drew significant praise, hitting top 10 on the Canadian airwaves.
Tyler prides himself on being an upbeat person who positively influences those around him, which is why he was elated to join the national WE DAY concert tour this fall, performing for thousands of high school kids looking to make changes in the world. He is also continuing his work with Free the Children by participating in many of their events over the summer, including a trip to Kenya in July 2013.
From his basement in Coquitlam to the national spotlight, he is ready to let his friendly personality and undeniable talent shine. His hard work was rewarded this year with a JUNO Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. He will open for Kelly Clarkson during the Canadian leg of her Piece by Piece tour in October of 2015.