Francesca Blanchard is a singer and songwriter currently living in Burlington, Vermont.
Francesca’s early years were spent in the south of France where she was raised in a bilingual household by her French father and American mother. Francesca’s family settled in Vermont when she was 10 years old, but she continued to travel the world with her parents, whose work for humanitarian aid agencies brought her to Ethiopia and Burundi, South Korea, Mauritania, Rwanda, Kenya, Egypt, Thailand, Australia, Honduras, Tanzania, Guatemala, India and more.
Over the years, Francesca took to acting and singing, performing in plays and writing songs on her mother’s old guitar. In 2011, when she was 18, Francesca independently released the EP Songs from an Ovation, featuring songs in French and English. Soon, the EP began earning Francesca local acclaim, leading Vermont weekly Seven Days to rave “Barely out of high school, the local singer-songwriter already displays guile and artistic sensitivity that would be the envy of many tunesmiths twice her age — and, for that matter, music critics of a similarly mature vintage. Her debut EP is quietly and profoundly stunning. It is a humble ode to love, heartbreak and home that says more about all three topics in the span of 17 minutes than some songwriters do over entire careers.”
After graduating from Boston University with a BFA in Acting, Francesca released her debut album, deux visions, in 2015. Deux visions (which translates as “two visions” and plays on the word “divisions”) featured original songs in French and English and was roundly praised by local and international media. The Vermont daily The Times Argus enthused, "Deux visions shines on the strength of Blanchard’s accomplished compositions, tasteful guitar work and gorgeous vocals. A seamless mix of folk, jazz and roots-rock with some French chanson thrown in for good measure. The most ambitious and impressive debut album to come out of Vermont since Grace Potter.” Jazz Weekly wrote, “Singer-songwriter Francesca Blanchard sounds like a throwback to the old days of folk singers that came from Laurel Canyon in the 70s. This album has her singing in English and French, with acoustic and electric guitar, with a voice that has a hint of early Joni Mitchell and a feel of Neil Young.”
Francesca has toured extensively in North America and Europe, headlining her own shows and opening for Joan Armatrading, Suzanne Vega, Lucy Dacus, Lauren Ruth Ward, JOSEPH, Caravan Palace, the Von Trapps, Yuna, Lissie and others. She performed at the prestigious FrancoFolies Festival of Montreal in 2013 and 2015, the Calgary Folk Festival in 2016 and was presented by tastemaker outlets such as Daytrotter, Sofar, WFUV Radio, and others.
Following an intense year of touring, Francesca decided to sign up for Outward Bound and spent the first half of 2017 backpacking and trekking through the West Coast and Ecuador, where she chose to extend her stay to volunteer as a music and theatre teacher for children of low-income families. During that period, she released the single “My Heart.”
In July of 2017, she returned home, and started writing again.
Francesca’s music reflects on the transition of a young artist growing into herself. Her new songs convey different stages of heartbreak and a pining for freedom against internal odds. In her new work, Francesca brings sarcasm, self-deprecation and a certain light-heartedness to soften the blow of coming to terms with one’s self. Re-defined production and a new ear for sonic arcs (along with a self-imparted responsibility to have a little more fun) propel Blanchard in a fresh and unpredictable direction.
Her revised approach has already led to new milestones. In October 2017, Francesca’s single “Free” was featured prominently in a pivotal closing scene on the ABC TV series Grey’s Anatomy. The size of her audience mushroomed, leading to massive jumps in her social media following and the inclusion of a number of her songs on influential Spotify playlists.
In January 2018, Francesca released the single “Maria,” which she had written for a benefit concert to aid Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. A love song "from the point of view of an island, to a woman named Maria,” proceeds from the single were donated to hurricane relief efforts on the island.
Francesca is currently finishing the production of her second album, which she plans to release in 2019.
“Deux visions shines on the strength of Blanchard’s accomplished compositions, tasteful guitar work and gorgeous vocals. A seamless mix of folk, jazz and roots-rock with some French chanson thrown in for good measure. The most ambitious and impressive debut album to come out of Vermont since Grace Potter.” - The Times Argus
"Colored by her love of folk, rock, jazz, French chanson, soul, world music and pop, Ms. Blanchard takes deux visions beyond the standard spare singer-songwriter route by encompassing one genre into another and folding one influence into another.”
- World Music Central
"Francoise Hardy meets Nico and does in a few in English anyway? This gal might seem moody, but there’s nothing about her that screams art chick. Blanchard has the chops to be a wily entertainer to take you places you haven’t imagined and you’ll get there on her own particular magic carpet ride. Certainly a left leaning, modern pop date, this is no yeah yeah girl looking for fling. Deep music fans will appreciate someone is still out there that wants to fan their flames with high octane, high quality stuff that’s delightfully out of the ordinary. Well done throughout.” - Midwest Record Review
"The juxtaposition of bits of rural slide guitar twang and the romantic cadences of Blanchard’s French lyricism make for a steadying folk tune for a chilly, early fall morning.” - CMJ
"Francesca so easily writes songs that tug at your heartstrings that you'd swear she was in love with you. Deux visions succeeds because even at it's most quiet, minimalistic point it still has your emotions in a bear hug and won't let them go. This is an album that’s drenched in tears, an album that finds love in a thunderstorm, and leaves its lover at the airport gate.”
- The POP Stereo Review
"On one hand you have the traditional singer songwriter with strummy guitars, lilting vocals, and a bit of heartbreak. On the other hand you have a French chanson artist who is intimate, beautiful, and lovelorn. When you take these two elements and mix them into one record you have an album that's filled with fragile beauty with a striking accent.”
- The POP Stereo Review
"With a coffee shop-like intimacy Blanchard pours a linguistically alternating twelve song cup of poetry that ripples with subtle dynamic on a glass sea of acoustic emotion. Where captivating meets a soundtrack for life’s reflective moments is where you’ll find deux visions. This is one record that absolutely soars.” - Nanobot Rock Review
“Blanchard’s debut EP, Songs on an Ovation, is quietly
and profoundly stunning. It is a humble ode to love, heartbreak and home that says more about all three topics in the span of 17 minutes than some songwriters do over entire careers.
A remarkable debut.” - Seven Days
“Singer-songwriter Francesca Blanchard sounds like a throwback to the old days of folk singers that came from Laurel Canyon in the 70s. This album has her singing in English and French, with acoustic and electric guitar, with a voice that has a hint of early Joni Mitchell and a feel of Neil Young.” - Jazz Weekly