Hailing from Barbados, RnB singer Livvi Franc spent the first few years of her life in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. However at the age of five, she and the family moved to her father’s homeland of Barbados where she grew up. ‘Barbados is very different from England. It’s slower paced, but I used to travel back to England every summer, so I didn’t miss it too much.’
Born Olivia Charlotte Waithe, Livvi Franc is the newest singer-songwriting sensation to come from the islands, and she isn’t surprised to be compared to the world’s most famous Bajan, Rihanna. ‘In this industry you will always be compared to someone – I’m glad it’s someone so gorgeous and successful,’ she laughs.
What’s in a name?
‘The stage name Livvi Franc was inspired by my granddad,’ Livvi explains. ‘His name was Frank Wilson, and when I was about two, he noticed me playing the piano and predicted I was going to be a musician. Sadly he’s no longer here. So, in honour of him, I called myself Livvi Franc; Livvi because it’s my nickname, and Franc because it’s a funkier version of Frank.’
After considering a number of careers from interior design to acting, Livvi went on to impress Jive Records in 2007 with her rendition of an Etta James classic, and soon signed with the label. ‘I hadn’t really found what I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. I was always changing my mind. One week I wanted to do this, the next week it was something else.’
Livvi counts Nelly Furtado, Alicia Keys, Alanis Morissette as her biggest influences and System of a Down as one of her most favourite bands… ever! ‘I listen to everything. On my iPod I have Santigold, La Roux, Nelly Furtado, some soca, and some reggae and some country music.’ Her love for such broad and diverse music is said to be reflected in her debut self-titled album. ‘It’s all the different sides of me come together… There are a couple of tracks with a little reggae vibe, some with more of a UK or retro vibe. It’s different and it all falls into place.’
Livvi co-wrote most of the tracks on her debut album, collaborating with a host of very successful producers and writers such as Salaam Remi (Nas, Amy Winehouse), RedOne (Lady Gaga), and J.R. Rotem (Natasha Bedingfield, Rick Ross). She claims she wasn’t intimidated working with industry greats. ‘As a writer I count myself lucky. It was good to learn from them, and learn about myself and my own abilities.’
Being a B.I.TC.H
Livvi also wrote Walking on Snow for American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks. However, her greatest achievement to date is penning a track that was picked up by the late Michael Jackson. ‘Michael picked it up because he liked it, and actually recorded half of the track for what would have been his forthcoming album. I think he must have been travelling, so didn’t finish it and now he is unfortunately no longer with us.’
Livvi laughs exuberantly at the title of her playfully assertive debut single, Now I’m That Bitch, ‘I know, it’s like a smack across the face. But I interpret the word as “babe in total control of herself”. She explains how the song ‘comes from personal experiences… I can now say I know what I want. It’s like a female empowerment song.’
Now I’m That Bitch (featuring Pitbull) is out now.