What's that lame country song we all liked in high school? "Two People Fell in Love?" The lyrics are cheesy, yes, but the idea is universal enough: We all exist because two people fell in love (or the modern adaptation, lust).
Robert Francis' creation story sounds improbable; his parents were from different countries and walks of life. It seems as if they grew up in two different worlds. "They did grow up in two different worlds," Francis says, "My mom came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 18, worked a few different jobs. One was as a nanny. Then she got a job filing different things for a record company. It was a pretty entry level position."
Francis' father was the opposite, a classical music producer who was living in L.A. He's known as the owner of one of the largest sheet music collections in the country.
"My parents met at a Christmas party at the record company."
And that's how this musician came to be. Once content to just play on other people's records, finding love himself is what made Francis start writing music. "Growing up in L.A. is really fast-paced. She was really beautiful and charming, and it was easy to see that she was being sucked away into the vapid Hollywood world. When I put this relationship to rest that was the only part that was killing me: They are out there on their own, and I can’t do anything to help them. I was happy to record on other people’s records until that happened, and then I started writing music."
That revelation produced Francis' first album "One by One." What he describes as a "fairly naive record," was what gained the attention of Atlantic Records, and got him in the studio to record "Before Nightfall."
He has toured state-side with Fanfarlo, Noah and the Whale, and now with Jason Mraz. "Jason's good to tour with because his crowd is a loving group of people that support the opening act, buy their cds."
Francis is playing larger venues in Europe as a headliner. He selling out records overseas. His single "Junebug" has reached number one in France. "I'm like Lady Gaga over there."
He's opening for Jason Mraz, Wednesday night at the Carolina First Arena. Doors at 7. General admission is $35 pre-sale, $40 day of the show.