Interview with Francine Honey
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I’ve been around music all of my life. Being French Canadian, it is simply a part of our culture and our cultural celebrations. Every family gathering ended in singing French folk songs where everyone repeats the last 2 lines of every verse so I guess there was no one thing that “got” me into music, music just was and is. I’ve always written songs and started getting back into music by writing songs for other people for birthdays, anniversaries and any special event. So I guess that is what did get me doing music seriously. I did have a career as an IT Project Manager and Systems designer. If it weren’t for music, I would be managing and designing systems.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love nature and being outside. Long drives in the country to hiking the Gatineau Hills or travelling to places where I can hike the mountains are my passions. I find taking that time to experience and observe the world brings perspective and clears the mind of all of the pressures and stress of life. In doing that, it clears the path for creativity.
How long has your band been around?
I quit my job in 2013 to pursue music full-time.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I moved back to Ottawa recently which is where I spent most of my adult life so far to be closer to my adult children. I’m originally from a small town in Ontario called Tweed. It’s influenced my music since country is a big party of what I listened to growing up and there is such a character to the town. There’s all the going’s on and everyone has their story and it’s unique and not all at the same time. As I’ve travelled, I see the same characters and the same charm in many other small towns making the music universal.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
I’ve been solo most of my career. When I am releasing an album, I’ll get the Stingers together so we are Francine Honey and the Stingers. I wanted to play on my last name obviously and to me, it signifies the darker, swampier type of music that I write.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
My most memorable shows are those where people are having fun. I normally always pull someone up on stage to sing a song with me. That’s how memories are made.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favourite venue so far is the Bluebird Cafe.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Wynonna Judd, Brandi Carlile, Dolly Parton and Bruce Springsteen.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Be who you are inside and don’t get caught up in competing with other artists or trying to be like them. The world has them but they don’t have you! No matter what, be kind.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
I’d tell myself to enjoy the ride and just make music and forget about everything else!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
The song Re-Drawn is about the most impactful day of my life which is when my husband left me to raise my 2 children alone. It talks about the strength I found inside when all the lines that defined who I was were erased. I’ve started over a couple of times since then and it always reminds me of the strength you don’t know you have inside.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I love playing “Honey” since it gets me and everyone else dancing. It gets requested a lot along with “Stay” and “Snowflakes on My Eyelashes”. That last one amazes me since I almost didn’t record it because I thought it was too sad but it helps people through their grief and that is a true gift.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Everything inspires me. I normally will wake up with a song idea, melody or some lyrics in my head. Sometimes at 3 am and then the song won’t let me sleep. I’m normally working on 3 or 4 songs at a time. I take advantage of the mornings to write. Sometimes I just sit at the keyboard or with my guitar and noodle and something comes out of nowhere. Sometimes it sits there for a while and then the lyrics or the idea behind it will come if I sit with it long enough. It speaks to me. Once the idea is out there, then I will spend a lot of time editing, making sure the key and tempo are right. When the song isn’t in my head anymore, I know it’s done.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Life is a struggle but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Even though my songs are about real life, there is always hope. By hearing these stories in song, I hope people realize that they aren’t alone. That someone else has been through what they’ve been through and if you keep dreaming and working hard enough your dreams will come true.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
I guess I’ve been really fortunate since I’ve only really had one real problem. We are all honest with each other and laugh at ourselves and that helps a lot. We have a mutual respect for each other’s talents.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Yes! I have a contest for the song just released called “Girls’ Weekend”. I’m offering ladies a chance to be in the Official Music Video for “Girls’ Weekend”! The song celebrates gals and their gal pals. They simply send me a photo or video of themselves by Tues. Sept 6, 2022 and if their submission gets selected they can win a night for 4 at a Delta or Marriott hotel of their choice.
“Girls’ Weekend” is the first single from my double album Rockets in My Boots to be released in 2023.