LUCCA FRANCO

“Hopefully it’s the kind of show Aretha would’ve put on thirty years ago except in Melbourne, sung by a little Italian-Australian girl.”

You’d be correct in thinking Motown was a thing of the past, right? Wrong. Meet Lucinda, known musically as Lucca Franco. The 24-year-old from Oakleigh has always had a love for Motown and soul, and is now taking her passion and reinventing the sound. And how did it all start? I hear you asking. Well as Lucinda recalls, it all started with one talent show that took place 14 years ago.

“When I was 10 years old I entered a talent competition where I placed and ended up winning. From there I started singing lessons and it wasn’t until I was about 13/14 that I really started taking it seriously. I just fell in love with music and that sound. I found my first Aretha Franklin record at that age, it was kind of like a ‘Best Of’ record, and I just fell madly in love with her sound and that genre of music- the old soul singers, Motown. People like Aretha, Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Michael Jackson and I just started singing all her tunes all the time. I became obsessed with the soul sound.”

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The talent competition wasn’t the only competition Lucinda starred in during her youth, either. The up and coming soul star placed in a song writing competition at the age of 12, adapting her with the skills she ended up using to write her debut album from a young age. The song, There Are Days, was the first song she ever recorded. She also admits that she came across it on one of her old computers the other day and “completely lost it.”

“I was 12 years old and it was the school holidays and my dad had bought me a little keyboard and I worked out all these functions where you could make beats and stuff. At school I was severely bullied, like I didn’t have very many friends when I was younger and it was just this song about having your family and friends support you through any situation.”

So many achievements at such a young age, and Lucinda had realised that music was the path she had to be on. Many artists make sacrifices when they first enter the industry, however Lucinda was beginning before she even finished school. Despite this, she admits that moving to Sandringham College from an all-girls Catholic school for year 11 and 12 was the best decision she ever made.

“Sandringham had amazing music teachers that nurtured my music and my creative side. One of the bands I started in the classroom became the band I ended up playing in right up until recently. We were like a reggae, funk band and worked our butts off and gigged from the age of 16 to about 22. Then Michael, the guitarist went overseas and worked on a cruise ship so whilst we never disbanded, it kind of put a halt to our music which led me to start the Lucca project.

“After that, I was really lost for a couple of years. I knew what I wanted to write but because I wasn’t super confident on guitar or piano, I was just banging out a few simple cords here and there whilst the chords were all in my head. I got myself a vocal loop station so I started writing with that but I was never really doing anything with the songs I wrote, I was just keeping them there.”

Lucinda was fortunate enough to meet her current producer, Lee Bradshaw at an event 18 months ago, where Lucinda worked as a vocal coach. Describing their meeting as a “serendipitous” moment, she says he completely understood the artist she wanted to become. The two went on to work together, with Lucinda going on to record not only a song he wrote, but writing, producing and recording her entire up and coming album with him.

“We wrote a bunch of songs that I’m really happy with that turned into this project. I worked with some incredibly songwriters and had some cool people playing on the recording- we did live recordings of the album. We’d spend 9 hour days in the studio and played these songs and it came out incredible. We’d overdubbed different sections as we couldn’t fit all the musicians in the room at the time. I got other vocalists in as I wanted it to echo the old soul sound and it was just so much fun. It seems like a lifetime ago now even thought it was only 6 months ago but I’m really excited to get it out on stage. It is my proudest achievement.”

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The Lucca Project was written entirely on piano and according to Lucinda each song was recorded with up to eight different musicians. She emphasises the team effort behind the album through the writing, recording and production as inspired by the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown. About The Funk Brothers, Lucinda describes the collaborative effort that they underwent and how she wanted to replicate that. Despite having been working on her debut single Sinking Feeling for years, she admits the support she had from her team was what solidified it into becoming her entrance into the industry.

“I started writing it ages ago. But I only ever had a chorus for it and it was constantly stuck in my head. I never knew where to go from there- I’m one of those people who has books and books and books filled with unfinished songs. When we started the process of writing Lee was like “Well what have you got? Bring your old stuff in” and he liked it. The way we worked on that song together was like thinking about what was going on and what I was feeling when I wrote it. It’s when you’ve got that ‘sinking feeling’ when you’re starting to date someone new and it’s all going cool and then things just start changing and getting weird really quickly. I write very differently by myself to when I’m co-writing as well but a lot of this album came out with just talking about what I was feeling when I was writing and it brought out all these cool songs.”

And the rest of Lucca’s debut album is set to have the same vibe, according to Lucinda with the ‘break-up’ theme no doubt playing a huge role. Fans are to expect it to be sassy and funky, whilst the sole love song on the able is sultry and sensual- “all of the songs are really different, but the theme of the album is definitely there,” she admits.

Showing just how much Lucinda wants to echo the Motown days, she will be pressing her album onto vinyl for die-hard vinyl fans. She also plans to head over to the United States and go back to where Motown all began, and also where her love for Motown all began.

“I want to bring my myself back to where this style of music was made. And if people like this project enough, then I want to create another one because I’ve already got a million ideas. I want to make Lucca my original – and full time – work. That’d be awesome.”

Lucinda is launching her debut single Sinking Feeling later on Sunday April 23 at The Toff in Town and hopes to replicate her Motown idols.

“Hopefully it’s the kind of show Aretha would’ve put on thirty years ago except in Melbourne, sung by a little Italian-Australian girl alongside some incredible musicians. There’ll be hooks that grab people’s attention and singalong music, especially with Sinking Feeling.”

Check out details for her EP launch on Facebook here

Check out Lucca Franco on
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Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

RICKY MUSCAT

A man who has tried every trade but always called music home

31-year-old Ricky Muscat said that music was “built in him,” as he called his late father a major inspiration. A self-taught musician, he was always participating in music at school but could never afford singing lessons. “I never really learnt anything…. I just sang.”

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Entering the workforce at a young age, Ricky tried every single apprenticeship but only lasted a week or two.  “It just wasn’t me,” he said.

At the age of 20, Ricky decided to try and audition for reality TV show, Australian Idol.

“I got to the point where I was like, “I know I can sing” so I thought, let’s try Idol.”

After getting knocked back the first year, he decided to try a second time and at the age of 21, Ricky was a contestant on Season 4 of Australian Idol.

I was thrown into the deep end,” Ricky explained as he learnt everything from vocal health and technique to utilizing the stage.

“Most people go to singing schools. “This was my foundation…where everything started. If it wasn’t for auditioning, I wouldn’t have known how to get into it.”

Life was always busy at Idol as his biggest highlight was making the Top 12 and eventually fifth place. A mad AFL fan, another special moment was featuring in a half-time performance at the MCG. After Idol, Ricky was regularly performing around Melbourne.

Six years ago, he was approached by James and Vince Leigh (formerly of bands Pseudo Echo and Invertigo), and this introduced Ricky to the conventions of songwriting, a new adventure for the soloist. “Everything I learnt today has been through them. They know what people want because they’ve been in the game.”

Staying away from major record labels, Ricky is now on his way towards his first debut EP with his band MUSCAT.

His upcoming single, Girlfriend will be the latest from the band as the single heavily hints the message that he is single and looking. It’s about being out and about and connecting with this one girl that you just can’t take your eyes off.”

You can check out a quick snippet of Girlfriend here.

The EP revolves around relationships with girls, which are all based on personal experiences. Co-written with James and Vince, Ricky is now starting to master his craft of lyric writing with melodies and music being his strength.

Currently, Ricky and his band MUSCAT are regularly playing around Melbourne with upcoming gigs supporting RNB superstars Pretty Ricky and Ashanti on Saturday 2nd August at Brown Alley and Ginuine on Friday 21st August at Trak Lounge Bar. Keep your eyes peeled on the release of his single Girlfriend and his debut album.

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Follow MUSCAT on
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A Quick Chat With James Franklin

We are STOKED to announce our very first guest that will soon appear on Real Songwriters TV, James Franklin, who will be releasing his debut EP this weekend. So we thought we’d do a mini Q&A before the real deal.

1) Give us three words to describe your music.
Soul Meets Folk.

2) So we hear that you are releasing a debut EP later on this month. What can listeners expect to hear?
I hope that when listeners hear the EP, they will feel a range of emotions. When we were working on the EP we wanted to make it feel like a live show. Sleepwalking and Testify start and finish the EP and they are soulful and funky tracks you could dance to at a cool bar or club. The other two songs in the middle of the EP have a jazz and folk feel to them and are songs that you and your loved ones could slow dance to. I really tried to create an EP that could touch every listener in a special way.

3) Who did you work with to produce the EP?
On this EP I worked with two Australian music legends, Steve Wade and Doug Brady. Steve (Ex Little River Band) having shared the stage with acts like Hall & Oates, Chicago and America co – produced and played various instruments on the EP and Doug Brady (Sound – Engineer/Producer) who has worked with artists like John Farnham, Lenny Kravitz and Keith Urban co – produced and engineered the EP. I can’t believe how fortunate I am to have two huge names working on this EP with me, without them I wouldn’t have been able to do this!

4) Sleepwalking is your debut single and is a very upbeat song with strong lyrics. Could you tell us your thoughts when writing this?
I wrote Sleepwalking when I was still in high school. At the time, I was being told by teachers that being a musician wasn’t something that was possible and I knew that all I wanted to do was be a musician and I knew I wanted to do whatever it takes to make it happen. So around the time I wrote the song, a career in music was less of a “risk” in my mind but more something that I had to do and the song talks about not listening to people who tell you that you can’t do something when you know you can and you will.

5) Are your songs based off personal or fictional experiences?

Every song I write is from something I experience. Although the story that I have written into the song might have a different character in a different setting, whatever that character feels in my songs I have felt before. It’s very hard for me to write a song that moves me when it is about an emotion I haven’t experienced. Whilst I have tried to write songs that don’t relate to me, I never feel that they are good enough to stay in my setlist.

6) When will the EP be released and will there be a launch?
Saturday July 25th is the release date for my debut EP The Laundry Room Mixtape follow my facebook page for all updates about future gigs!

Follow James Franklin on
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