Francis and the Lights

Over the course of a decade, the one-man alt-R&B act Francis and the Lights has grown from a passion project to a frequent collaborator with Drake, Frank Ocean, and Chance the Rapper, as well as a respected artist in his own right. Francis Farewell Starlite pursued a career as a musician after dropping out of Wesleyan University and taking a cross-country road trip that returned him to his birthplace of Oakland, California. He spent a year in the city's Soundwave studio working on his 2007 debut EP, Striking, and its mix of '80s R&B influences and 21st century indie sounds made a fan out of Drake. Soon after the release of Francis and the Lights' 2008 EP A Modern Promise, Starlite incorporated the project into a limited liability company and received a $100,000 investment from Normative Music Company in 2009. The following year, the It'll Be Better EP arrived, and 2010 also saw Starlite tour with the likes of Ke$ha, Mark Ronson, and Drake, who had him contribute to the Thank Me Later track "Karaoke." Francis and the Lights spent some time collaborating with Lyrics Born, Das Racist, and Birdy before returning with 2013's Like a Dream EP. After working with Chance the Rapper, Nico Segal, and the Social Experiment in 2014 and 2015, 2016 was Starlite's biggest year yet: not only did he collaborate with Frank Ocean, Cashmere Cat, the Weeknd, and Chance the Rapper (on the Coloring Book and Hamilton mixtapes), Francis and the Lights' debut album Farewell, Starlite! arrived that September. Boasting production by Nate Fox, Ariel Rechtshaid, Rostam Batmanglij, and Benny Blanco, among others, the album also included a song recorded in the living room of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. In May 2017, Francis and the Lights signed to GOOD Music. Just before the end of the year, he surprise-released the project's sophomore effort, Just for Us. ~ Heather Phares

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