Kaitlyn Frances Changes Gears and Goes Viral
Story by Ryan Percy
Photography by Olivia O’Neil
Almost everyone has a dream they want to chase, but with paying bills, managing relationships and attending school there sometimes are not enough hours in the day.
Kaitlyn Frances is a singer and songwriter, originally from Chatham-Kent, who found her way down to Windsor and set up new roots. Originally it was for schooling, a four-year degree in psychology at the University of Windsor. But as the pandemic started to send her hurtling towards burnout from online classes, she made a decision.
“You’re stuck on the high school, university then job pipeline,” Frances says as she stares out the window of her waterfront apartment, “no one ever says after high school if you have a dream go for it.”
With the pandemic shifting her life to online classes and social situations being cancelled, postponed or eroded burnout started setting in. Classes and lessons she would attend with glee became monotony where she felt she was teaching herself more than the school was. It all came to a head in her fourth year, a moment where things started to turn sour.
She felt like she was drowning. The bubble was ready to pop.
“In the pandemic people are dying all the time, I could die next week,” she says with a sigh, reflecting on her mortality, “So I was like, ‘why am I doing this?’ I was locked in my room with my computer. I’d rather just sit here and write music all day, because that’s what I love to do.”
The idea burst out and blossomed after a meeting with her parents. She told them she did not find any joy in her studies anymore and showed her mother some of her music.
“I showed her a few tracks and she was like ‘I knew you could sing, but I didn’t know you could actually create, is this something you want to do?” Frances reminisces, her eyes glittering with old happy tears, “I was crying and told her ‘I’ve always wanted to do music, but I didn’t want to disappoint you.’ My parents said they could never be disappointed in me. Being true to myself and actually using my gift was the best thing for them.”
Frances took the chance from there, diving into music, writing lyrics and recording at local studios. All while teaming up with local and international producers.
What developed was a sizable backlog of tracks, enough to already fill out an EP and then some. At this stage in her career though, Frances is focusing on singles, aiming to put out one track a month to build up her listeners and fanbase.
Her debut track on Spotify, originally put out to claim her artist profile, is you’re in love with my best friend. The track is a slow R&B walk down a path of anxiety and worry, based around Frances’s relationship with a previous boyfriend.
“I was so insecure around him, and I was always thinking ‘I bet you like my best friend better than me’ because he seemed to laugh more with her than with me and smile more,” Frances recounts, “The only reason I put it out was because I thought maybe somebody else had experienced that feeling, that random anxiety filled thought.”
She was right, her first track struck a chord with people stumbling across it. Not long after, she started receiving messages from girls who had gone through similar situations and feelings. After releasing more music, she debated removing the track as it did not match the same tone of her other music.
“I did decide to keep it up,” Frances says with a smile, “it will always look cringy because that was my first song. But even though I don’t think it’s my best work, I’ve had people who love it so I don’t want to take that away.”
Her song writing process is one of instantaneous creation. She describes it as bubbles of inspiration, caused by hopes and fears, anxiety and joy. The feelings build up, eventually becoming ideas she can play with and draw from. But if the track does not come out at first it probably was not meant to be.
Her second track, mixed signals, is a funky pop mix about meeting her current boyfriend and unsure if she was actually hitting it off when they first met.
Her third track Electric is a techno funk dance track inspired by her blossoming relationship with her boyfriend.
But even more important was how it led to her blowing up. Her celebration video on TikTok of Electric’s first radio play garnered over five million views.
With that fame came a flood of fans and loving messages. However, all the positivity was not without some negativity. The occasional comment of ‘you’re not actually good’ or ‘I don’t believe your music was on the radio’ did not dissuade Frances.
“My music is a reflection of me so sometimes it’s hard to not take it personally,” Frances sighs, “But I have to remember this person doesn’t know who I am, how good a friend, daughter or girlfriend I can be. That’s how I stay sane, I’m going to expect haters, that’s inevitable.”
One of her latest tracks, close to me, which features local rapper and producer Kin9 G has even gotten a permanent place on the MIX 96.7 playlist and has plans to be distributed to over a hundred radio stations across North America.
While she lives and breathes music and could almost survive on it alone Frances does have her pastimes. Exercising, playing with her dog, making charcuterie boards and spending time with her boyfriend. This helps fight off the sanity draining abyss that is having to be her own social media manager and constant advocate as an up-and-coming musician.
Kaitlyn plans to release at least one track every single month this year with a further goal of an EP and two different albums showing off her R&B and Pop music talent respectively.