Frances Black Biography (1998)
At the age of sixteen, a terrified Frances Black took to the stage for the first time, opened her mouth to sing ... and nothing came out. She left the stage mortified, never thinking that that briefly absent voice would later make her Ireland's top selling solo artist in '94 and '95, would see her voted Ireland's No. 1 female artist in 1995 and would rake in such prestigious awards as the 1995 and 1997 IRMA (Irish Record Music Industry) Awards and the Most Popular Artist Award at the National Entertainment Awards ceremony.
Having begun her professional singing career in 1986, when she toured with her family to promote The Black Family album, Frances joined the internationally famed traditional group Arcady. It was, however, her inclusion amongst the best of Ireland's female singers on the million selling album Woman's Heart in 1993 which secured Frances' current status and launched her solo career.
A succession of singles and albums followed, hurtling into the top of the Irish charts. Her first album Talk To Me (which was No. 1 for eight weeks) and the single All The Lies That You Told Me were two of the biggest hits by an Irish female artist and showcased the purity of her beautiful voice in a collection of songs ranging from the traditional to upbeat country songs to ballads of such passion that Nanci Griffiths was moved to tears by Frances' rendition of her song Grafton Street.
1996 witnessed the continuing rise of this unique talent and saw her well and truly step out of the shadow of her sister Mary Black. After headlining the Guinness 'Celebration of Irish Music' Tour of Australia and New Zealand, her third album The Smile On Your Face went straight to No.4, receiving a platinum on its first day of release; and the singles When you Say Nothing At All and Alker Bilk's Stranger on the Shore were huge hits. Here Frances' famously sensitive handling of the more melancholic numbers rubbed shoulders with some funky backbeats and touches of powerful jazz; and paved the way for a new direction which would be catalysed by her move to Sony Music in 1997 and her teaming up with producer Declan Sinnott, with whom she has worked on her first single with them Love Me. The single is a cover of Yvonne Elliman's hit and is released on 29th June with two original tracks: Don't Get Me Wrong (written by Celine Carroll) and Armed With A Broken Heart
It is not only that indisputable voice which has made Frances such a star, but her relaxed, honest and congenial approach to the triumphs and turmoils of her life, which spills out into her performances and which Ireland has so taken to its heart. Now with a new album Don't Get Me Wrong planned for a late August release and a major UK tour on the horizon, Ireland are finally sharing Frances with us.