Guest Column – “What qualifies a lead singer to be a director?” by Travis' Fran Healy

Guest Column – “What qualifies a lead singer to be a director?” by Travis' Fran Healy

Travis-newWith Travis returning with new album Everything At Once earlier this year, they now have a video for latest single Magnificent Time (produced by Keane's Tim Rice-Oxley) directed by a certain Fran Healy. In a guest column he explains why lead singers make great directors... perhaps!

Having offer to write 500 words on “What qualifies a lead singer to be a director?” for Q I deflected the question to my editor, Sarah Iben, who was sitting over there, tweaking the last bits of this film I made for this new Travis album Everything at Once.

“Nobody is qualified to be a director,” she said, not looking up. “Ok. Thanks. I’ll tell them,” I said.

But this question led to another, deeper, scarier question. “What qualifies me to be a lead singer?”

I grew up in a quiet house. No music. No culture. No siblings playing their record collections. No dad extolling the joy’s of 70s rock. I didn’t have a record player till I was 12. I could sing a bit, when I had to, and I could make up little songs when nobody was looking. But to be a lead singer?? I think some of our most scathing reviews, have scratched this deepest of insecurities. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing!! I’m totally unqualified!! Shhh!

As a child, drawing was the thing I was best at and loved the most. It was the thing that got me noticed at school. My primary school teacher, Mrs. MacLeod took me under her wing and injected me with confidence. I drew pictures, spoke in pictures, and ended up going to Glasgow art school to paint pictures.

I also loved movies. Going to the cinema was a big escape. I had this belief that movies just existed. Nobody made them. All those names at the end I never connected to what I just saw, because apart from the cast, none of the others appeared in the movie. They were hidden. I never met a film maker or stood on a set until we were making music videos and by that time, I was too busy learning to be a pop star to want to do that. It looked mental. So many people, so much equipment, extremely big budgets. Fuck that!

So drawing or singing were the things I reckoned would be my ticket out of The Bit. “The Bit”, as me and my art school friend Edd called it, was our term for being poor and we both were in the small minority at art school to hail from The Bit.

Anyway I think my point is, apart from being passable at it, nothing qualified me go to art school, nothing qualified me to write songs and wiggle my arse on a stage and so I agree with my editor, who knows a thing or two about film making, that nobody is really qualified to direct a movie, in fact, nobody’s qualified to do any of this arty stuff… You just have a go and hope you get away with it.

All I know is that I had the best most creative time of my life this past couple of months and oozed a confidence I didn’t think I had. Fran Healy @franhealy

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