One of my favorite descriptions of Freddy & Francine is: two voices, one guitar, and four stomping feet. Bianca Caruso and Lee Ferris are Freddy & Francine. They are folky. They are rocking. They are soulful. Their voices are vivid and powerful and they make each song a celebration.
Find out more about this Los Angeles duo on their website.
Here’s a video for their song “If You Want Me.”
I’ve got to ask: why Freddy and Francine? Is there a story behind the names that are not your own? Does it just sound better than Lee and Bianca?
We started writing songs together about 10 years ago. The first song we ever wrote was called “Over & Over” and we deemed the genre of this song as “1950’s Prom Rock.” We performed the song for the first time at a Jewish Chinese Restaurant in L.A. called Genghis Cohen. We asked the audience to grab partners, get on the dance floor and come up with really cheesy ‘50s names and Lee said “I’ll be Freddy” and I said “I’ll be Francine” and by the end of the song everyone was yelling “Freddy & Francine!” We thought, “that’s got a nice ring to it.”
How long have the two of you been singing together? How did you meet?
We’ve been singing together for over 10 years ago. We met in the 40th anniversary production of the musical HAIR in Los Angeles.
Lee, we understand that you toured as part of the Million Dollar Quartet show as the Carl Perkins character. Had you been familiar with Perkins’ music before that gig? What did you learn by being part of that show?
Yes. It was an amazing once in a lifetime experience and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. I have always been aware of Carl Perkins and the early roots of Rock and Roll, but while doing the show I came to have a deep appreciation for his contribution to American music. In the 500 performances that I did, I discovered what it meant to be a professional performer and musician. It also taught me that serving someone else’s vision for that long as an actor was very challenging and made me want to pursue my own music more than ever.
Who are your musical heroes and sheroes?
Just a few… Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Eva Cassidy, The Rolling Stones, Jeff Buckley, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Etta James, Linda Ronstadt, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Lucinda Williams, Kendrick Lamar, Wes Montgomery, Sarah Vaughn, Brian Wilson, and both of our moms.
For those who are not familiar with your music, how would you describe it?
Your next recording will be done in Nashville. Why the switch from West Coast to Nashville? Can we expect a different sound emerging from Freddy and Francine with the release of this new EP in 2018?
We love to make records in a different environment than we live in. It gives us a fresh perspective when we’re not distracted by our everyday scenery and lives. Nashville is great hub for music where we have many friends and we feel that environment will influence our new music in a very positive way.