Signing Story: Francesco Yates

FrancesoYates, Credit Jimmy Fontaine

Photo credit: Jimmy Fontaine

Screen shot 2014-10-06 at 9.37.07 AM

Pharrell Williams and Timbaland agree that Francesco Yates is a “huge pop star” ready to “shock the world.” Not too bad for a guy who signed with a manager at 14 and inked a deal with Atlantic Records just two years later.

Now, 18-year-old Yates hopes to soak-up every bit of “insider” wisdom the industry can afford—while still maintaining his unique artistic integrity.

“There’s a certain amount of studio etiquette that is needed,” Yates explains. “You learn to work with writers and different people, and you do that through the experience they give you. To have these people around who let me work in the highest place that I can creatively, it’s great.”

Yates’ fresh, youthful vibe allows his sound to grow in a very natural, go-with-the-flow fashion. Thankfully, Atlantic has strongly encouraged such creative freedom, since Yates proved himself a strong and dedicated musician from the get-go. “It’s about identity,” he says. “If you come in with a strong sense of identity, people will support you with it. Atlantic helped build [my name] organically, from the ground up.”

“If you come in with a

strong sense of identity, people

will support you.”

The Toronto native finds this artist development process most rewarding, especially since it is an authentic, never-ending practice.

Yates explains, “I was fortunate enough that they were supportive of the direction I chose, given the many directions I tackled.” He says there’s now ample space to pursue the music he’s always wanted to create, in a team environment that supports and eventually enhances individuality.

“In most cases,” says Yates, “the label expects you to be ready with your sound once they sign you. [Atlantic] takes the time, and I appreciated that during development.”

So it took a few years, but after some intense self-discovery and harmonic enlightenment, the young music-maker is finally prepared to release his debut album, which includes the soul-infused single, “Call.”

Yates, who played guitar on Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Gust of Wind” featuring Daft Punk, quotes his musical mentor as saying, “‘The world wants to feel good again.’

“And I want to help with that,” Yates enthuses. “There’s a movement going on, and I want to be a part of it.” – Danica Bellini