Over the course of a decade, the one-man alt-R&B act Francis & the Lights grew 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 & 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 & 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 & 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. The following year the band was signed to Good Music. ~ Heather Phares