I have to admit: a few years back I was avoiding Italian music and band. I thought it wasn’t worth checking out. But after I discovered how rich and talented the Italian underground is, I can’t help but feel proud of sharing my citizenship with some incredible artists, just like Francesca, a fantastic vocalist and composer for Black Reflex.
Hi Francesca! How are you doing these days?
Hi Benedetta! First of all, thank you for dedicating this space to me. I would say that finally, after a long period of restrictions, a new opening has started again, which means giving voice to our work with live
I was impressed at how you hold the stage during your live shows. What is the secret of your naturalness in front of the audience?
I am glad you liked the way I am on stage because, as you say, it is natural. When I sing, I feel free, I feel myself, and the audience is my dialogue partner. The voice is also a body; through movements, facial expressions and glances, I try to tell what I am singing because it is not easy to perceive the words, except for those who already know the lyrics. And when the sense of what I do and sing reaches the audience, well, the feedback I receive opens up an exchange, there is interaction, and that is the meaning of the live show for me.
Wow, that is a great answer, so deep! What are your goals with Black Reflex?
My goals with Black Reflex are: to become one big family in music, together to create catchy songs, and to leave a mark of having done something good for ourselves and for our listeners (I would also add my children). As of today, we are already working on the songs for the new album, and the new single with a video clip will soon be released.
Are there different processes you use to create songs?
The songwriting phase goes through periods of reflection and listening. Usually, the guitarist creates a riff, an instrumental idea opens up and then, on a rough instrumental basis, I start to sketch out a vocal track. I look for a melody by singing words that do not make sense but have a sound that fits well at that moment. Then I enter the song with my whole self, looking for the emotion that it conveys to me, and usually, it is an emotion that is part of my background. This eventually
allows me to translate what I first heard as a feeling into lyrics.
What do you think is essential in the work of an artist?
Honesty. Presenting yourself for who you are and doing it to the best of your ability.
I’m sure being in a band is very rewarding. Can you share with us one of the best feedback someone has given you about your music?
The gratification is not being in a band, it’s not identifying with the band, but it’s sharing the same passion with the band members, turning it into songs, and then receiving positive feedback for our efforts.
The most beautiful feedback comes from the audience and other bands who, not driven by a competitive spirit, appreciate us and seek us out to play together on stage. I also admit that it was very gratifying to read reviews above my expectations in fanzines, webzines and magazines such as Rock Hard and Classix Metal.
Unfortunately, women are still discriminated against in the music industry. Have you ever been a victim or witness to an incident of discrimination?
It sounds like I’m answering as a feminist now, but I’m not, I’m for equality, not for extremism, but unfortunately, it is true that women are still discriminated against and not only in the music industry. Then some genres are considered purely male, while others are more inclined to the female gender, and these clichés are still widespread. How many times have I been asked if I sing in a choir, am a chorister, or am a poster girl, not believing that I am the vocalist in a rock/metal band! Many times. Then people ask me if I sing opera because that is the role that is seen for a female metal singer. But I don’t sing opera, not here; I have sung in theatres presenting “The Phantom of the Opera” in musicals, but that is another story.
Oh wow! I am obsessed with Phantom! But well, that’s another story as well. What subjects were you most and least good at at school?
I loved studying; I was good at all subjects, especially maths and foreign languages. Thanks to an Erasmus scholarship I won when I was at university, I went to Bristol for 12 months and there, apart from taking exams, I met a lot of real musicians, friendly people who welcomed me and made me feel at home. Yes, because I learned English by listening to old tapes, pressing “play” a thousand times and “rewind” to understand the lyrics and living as a ‘pure English’ person in Bristol.
Let’s play a little game: what song would be the soundtrack of your life?
All the songs I’ve written with Black Reflex are the soundtrack of my life over the last 20 years; they are all taken from my personal experiences.
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Anything else you would like to add to FemMetal’s readers?
What people see on stage is the end of a lot of hard work behind it. I’m a single working mother of two children, 12 and 10, and my eldest has a severe disability. As you can imagine, it is not easy for me to find the time and concentration to devote to my music; I have to fight for that time. Music has always been a part of me, and now more than ever, the love for music repays me by giving me that warrior strength and courage to face everyday difficulties; it keeps my enthusiasm for life alive. Between sacrifices and satisfaction, what I do makes me free, makes me myself, and a real mother, able to transmit positive stimuli and joy in life to my children. They are my engine.
Hi! My name is Benedetta, I’m 29 and I live in Northern Italy. My passion has always been music: I started taking guitar lessons when I was 6. Now I work as a sales representative, but in my free time I interview talented people, I spread the word about my favorite band (MoonSun), and I go to concerts or travel around Europe.
I am a huge collector of anything Tolkien-related, autographs, merchandise, and CDs. I am quite an original person and don’t mind being the voice outside of the choir (even though I play in the church’s choir!).