Aussie singer-songwriter and accomplished performer Frances Madden is used to having a grand piano in front of her, so singing without it at the Australian Open Women’s Tennis Final last Saturday was a bit daunting.
“I had to prepare for this one in the lead up,” she told the Phoenix. “It was new to me and took some getting used to because you feel more exposed standing up the front. But it is also freeing to just focus on singing and using your hands in expressive ways.” She was invited by the AO to perform before the game that saw Ash Barty win the women’s singles title, being the first Aussie to do so in 44 years.
She got the gig through a recording she did on a self-penned song called, She Will Rise, which she sang at the major tennis event - and the producer who helped her with it happened to be the musical director for the Australian Open – Chong Lim AM.
“He told me he had played the track for one of the producers at Tennis Australia... and they absolutely loved it,” she said. “Of course, at that point I didn’t know Ash Barty would be playing in the final.”
Frances dedicates the power ballad to women and young girls everywhere and wrote it when she was facing her own battles with doubt about her future.
“I was also writing about my own journey and some part of me came up with the encouraging words that I needed to hear at that time.”
Arranged and produced by Frances specifically in a style of an anthem for a women’s sporting event, the song was it a hit on the night. And after such a rough patch many performers have endured during the past two years of cancellations and disappointments, the moment she was announced to sing is one she will never forget.
“This was just epic, I was standing on the side of the court in the dark while they played the hype music and a massive light show throughout the arena,” she said. “Then they called my name - it is a memory I’ll carry with me for a long time.”
Frances’s plans to perform at the Blue Mountains Theatre and Community Hub last August were scrapped amid NSW lockdowns, so she was very disheartened.
For now, Frances will be kicking off a five-show tour with her band, which includes ‘super-talented’ double-bass player and Blue Mountains local Brett Hirst.
After this Frances plans to release her album Beautiful World in Japan and do a tour there. You can check out her music on Spotify or through ABC Music.
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