Francisco Martin on His First Single 'Swollen,' and the Feeling That Inspired It
Ever since Francisco Martin competed on American Idol earlier this year, we've been watching him very closely for his next move—and he finally made it this week when he released his debut single.
And it turns out the new track "Swollen" was completely worth the wait. The beautiful, hand-picked acoustic guitar melody and delicately powerful vocals are exactly what we've come to expect from the singer-songwriter and producer. They're even more impressive when you consider he made the whole thing by himself in his bedroom studio.
We think Francisco's career is just getting started, and we got the opportunity to find out everything that went into the song, straight from the artist himself. Keep reading to find out how "Swollen" came to be.
Sweety High: What was the process of writing "Swollen"?
Francisco Martin: I wrote this song last December. I was going through a week of chaos and stress and met this girl. We spent most of the day together and I found myself falling for the idea of her. We were complete strangers but somehow, I painted this picture of what I thought she could be and who she could be in my life. We haven't spoken since that day, but I couldn't get her off of my mind for days after. I decided to write out the emotions I was keeping bottled inside, which ultimately became "Swollen."
I tried to describe the little things that happened that day. The chorus came about super easily and the verses followed. The rest of the song came off the top of my head in a matter of minutes. I knew I wanted to make an acoustically driven song but also include some pop standards in the melodies. I'd want the people who listen to relate to that same feeling I was feeling around the time I was writing it. To this day, I don't think she knows this song is about her.
(Photo credit: Elissa Felman)
SH: What inspired the song, and why is it meaningful to you?
FM: I remember thumbing through my playlists and came across James Bay's "Peer Pressure." I fell in love with it instantly and it inspired me to start off with that guitar riff that plays throughout the entire song. This song was the first song that sparked serious songwriting in my music. I wanted to embrace the vulnerability and this sort of "hopeless" feeling the song evokes. I guess that's why I get pretty emotional when I sing it even though my feelings towards that certain person is gone.
SH: Do you have a special process for creating the melodies in your songs? What does crafting the music in a song look like?
FM: I almost always start songs with a guitar or piano melody. I like to have that settled before I even have lyrics or melodies written. Once I have a progression I love, I get down to the songwriting, and if I really believe in the song, I start the production. A lot of my songs start off that way and I don't like hindering the songwriting process by overthinking every single lyric I write. I believe in letting the words flow freely. I also have to let myself know that some things will work and some things don't. The ideas I have can be great to me but once I hit the songwriting or production point, the whole idea can turn out not in the way I imagined it.
SH: What is your biggest advice for dealing with heartbreak and getting through it?
FM: Heartbreak is a terrible feeling. I don't have great advice on it, but all I can say is to allow yourself to be in that place, and don't stay there for too long. Let yourself process those emotions and eventually, go on with your life.
SH: How has the pandemic changed the way you make music, if at all? Has it been a challenge?
FM: I found a silver lining through this pandemic because as an artist and producer, I have all the time in the world to create and write. I kind of lost touch with reality in a sense that I've dedicated myself to writing and producing. I'm not distracted by the things that life throws at me because I'm in my safe zone. If you know me, I'm always in my bedroom studio sitting in the corner making records.
(Photo credit: Elissa Felman)
SH: Are there any artists that are particularly inspiring you during these unusual times?
FM: John Mayer has always been a big part of my life. Battle Studies was my first taste of his genius and I haven't stopped listening since. I always get inspired by new music so I'm always on the search to find artists I haven't listened to yet. I've been listening to a lot of Finneas' work and Jack Antonoff's Bleachers to get me inspired as a producer. I have so much admiration and respect for people who take the DIY approach to songwriting and production. I guess that's why I'm so in tune to doing all of it myself.
SH: What do you do to differentiate yourself from the other artists out there?
FM: I tend to stay far away from the current trends in pop culture when I'm in creative mode. I know myself very well as an artist and know what direction I want to head into. I believe a lot of artists out there struggle with self-awareness and wind up confusing themselves and their supporters. I'm also very big on the DIY aspect of things so I work harder every day to better my abilities as a singer-songwriter and as a producer.
SH: Is there anything else you'd like your fans to know?
FM: Know that I love you for supporting me and my music. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if it wasn't for the support and love you bring to the table. New music is coming and I can't wait to expand and grow along this journey with you. Stream "Swollen" everywhere now!
Watch the video for Swollen below:
If you can't get enough of this wonderful track, click HERE to find what else happened in music this week.