It is apparent that rising star sisters Sarah Frances and Michelle Rose have been making music together at an early age. Both classically trained musicians, Sarah started as a violinist and Michelle played cello. The sound they make together is an intoxicating mix of pop vocals and enthralling lyrics. Their musical genre can be classified as a mix of R&B, indie rock, grunge and pop. Performing throughout New York City, they have been written up by various media outlets including Nylon, MTV and Paper Magazine as the not-to-miss indie-pop sensation of today’s music scene. They started to grow in popularity when their single hit “Vampire” was released on Kitsune, a notable music label in 2012. The following year, they received wide acclaim from Deli Magazine as the Best Emerging Artist. They continue to grow as musicians, experimenting with different kind of sound techniques and mystifying audiences with their charismatic on stage presence.
What is the message you are looking to convey to your audience through the lyrics you use?
Sarah: Love. A lot of Frances Rose lyrics encompass the image of a first date or new connection.
Michelle: Female empowerment, love, lust, loss, passion, nostalgia.
Does having a foundation in classical music help your music making and coming up with melodies?
Sarah: Absolutely. In pop music, you work with loads of I, IV, V progressions. To have the gift and understand classical music, like how to read the actual notes, different key signatures and time signatures, and then to be able to break the classical voicing rules in pop composition continues to amaze me. I know I’m a huge geek, but music theory never gets old 😉
Michelle: Definitely when it comes to my ear training and understanding of dynamics, chord progressions, and sonically resolving. I love improvising. I think the confidence I have from having a classical foundation definitely relates to my top line writing.
What is the process of composition for one of your songs?
Sarah: Acoustic guitar, piano, lyrics and then we produce around the vocal.
What other artists are you influenced by?
Sarah: Lately, Billie Eilish, Charli XCX, Madonna, Björk…I like all spectrums. Demi Lovato has an incredible voice…been listening to a lot of Famous Dex lately…I love charli’s new sound, also ALMA this Finish singer is pretty cool.
Michelle: I try to listen to non modern music to get vocal influences. I love early Madonna, Pat Benatar, Peggy Lee.. singers that were around before auto-tune.
Do you think having the right “image” as a singer helps to boost success and what image are you going for?
Sarah: Our image as Frances Rose is nostalgia. We love vintage shopping, expressing ourselves through our clothing and being best friends and sisters, that is who we are. Frances Rose represents feminism, non-conformist identity, brutal honesty, and most important: love.
Michelle: Having the right image can help, but if the music isn’t strong, it certainly doesn’t mean much. Now that we live in the age of Instagram you find a lot of solid imagery, yet sometimes little talent sonically. I think an image should always evolve and change. If your image conveys a strong persona yes. Image and style is important when it represents something greater than just the artist.
Tell us about your publishing deal with Warner Chappell. Did it help get you clout in the music industry?
Sarah: Yes and no. Warner/Chappell was a great home for us, but sometimes being a small fish in the big sea can drown you. We’ve learned a lot along the way..
Michelle: Being thrown into a corporate environment as a young artist was a bit backwards but it taught me a lot. We’v never really had anyone to help us navigate the major label publishing world, and it was pretty sexist. I think I gained more clout for being self motivated, and driven.
What venues do you like performing at the most?
Sarah and Michelle: Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, and Baby’s All Right remain incredible New York havens for indie music. Elsewhere is an amazing new venue with stellar sound that just opened in Brooklyn also…we just played there with Shamir and Partner, and the sound is unreal. Definitely check it out.
Who are some artists you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Sarah: Famous Dex, Richie Quake, The Knocks, Janelle Kroll, Mirah…
Michelle: Finneas, Allie X, Teengirl Fantasy, THE KNOCKS, Sofi Tukker.