Fran Healy (musician)
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Healy in concert with Travis, 2014
|Birth name||Francis Healy|
23 July 1973 |
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica, banjo, drums, sitar|
|Associated acts||Travis, BNQT|
Francis "Fran" Healy (born 23 July 1973) is a Scottish musician. He is the lead singer and main songwriter of the band Travis, having written nearly all of the songs on their first six studio albums, with the 8th being more of a co-written work. He is based in Berlin. Healy released his debut solo album titled Wreckorder in October 2010, which featured Paul McCartney on bass.
Although born in Stafford, England, Healy grew up in Glasgow, Scotland – his parents' hometown. His mother had moved back to Scotland after divorcing her husband. Healy has said that both his mother and his grandmother were major influences on him as a child. Healy attended Holyrood Secondary School in Glasgow.
As a young child at primary school, he was awarded a book of Rabbie Burns poems and a certificate "For Outstanding Singing Abilities" after singing the old Scottish song "Westering Home" while dressed in a kilt. However, Healy showed no further interest in singing until his teens. His obsession with song writing began to take shape when he got his first guitar in 1986 at the age of 13, having seen Roy Orbison perform his hit Pretty Woman on The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross. First songs played on the guitar were old rock'n'roll numbers like "Johnny B. Goode" and "Three Steps to Heaven" by Eddie Cochran. His first complete song was written about the Headmaster of his school, Peter Mullen entitled "Mr. Mullen Blues", with a sample lyric: "...and there was Pete Mullen, with his pie and beans. It was then I smelled it, it filled the room. Then some wee bugger lit a match and the whole place went Ka-BOOM...Where's your tie boy, Pick up that can. Get in line girl, do you understand...Cause his name is big Pete Mullen...And he's a man". He performed it at the school talent show but failed to move judges. He then played in several school bands.
In 1991, Neil Primrose, the drummer of Glasgow band Glass Onion, asked Healy if he would like to audition for the band; their previous singer, Catherine Maxwell, had just left the band. Healy joined the band on the same day he enrolled at the Glasgow School of Art. This band soon changed their name to Travis, named after the main character in the Wim Wenders movie Paris, Texas.
Travis' first single, "All I Want to Do Is Rock", was written by Healy while on a visit to Millport on Great Cumbrae, a small island in the Firth of Clyde. Going there with the sole intention of composing the best song he had ever written, Healy surprised even himself when the track was born. In spite of Healy's success as a songwriter since, he is without formal musical training. As the band has risen to prominence, Healy has continued to be Travis' main songwriter, as well as the band's main spokesman and most recognisable member.
Travis has twice been awarded British album of the year at the annual BRIT Awards, and is credited as having paved the way for British bands such as Coldplay and Keane. Travis have released eight studio albums, beginning with Good Feeling in 1997.
Other musical activities
Although Healy predominantly plays guitar, he has also been known to write and perform with piano.
He appeared on the BBC's last night of the proms celebrations in Scotland on 10 September 2011 in the Caird Hall in Dundee.
In interviews, Healy has talked of being influenced by songwriters such as Joni Mitchell, Paul McCartney and Graham Nash (of The Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young fame). Healy has since played with both McCartney and Nash.
Healy is a part of the movement Make Poverty History and has, alongside his band, played at the Live 8 concerts in both London and Edinburgh. He has also participated in Band Aid 20's re-recording of Do They Know It's Christmas? – Healy and friend Nigel Godrich also playing roles in its organization.
He has so far made two trips to Sudan with the Save the Children Organization, for which he has just launched the biggest ever global campaign to help the ten million children who die unnecessarily each year to survive.
Since 1996, Healy has been in a relationship with German photographer and former make-up artist Nora Kryst. Their first child, a son named Clay Kryst, was born in March 2006. After living in London for twelve years, the family moved to Berlin in February 2008, but still own a flat in London. Healy also has an apartment in SoHo, New York City.
In 2010, as a way to thank Paul McCartney for playing on his album, Healy and Nora Kryst both became vegetarian, and agreed to raise their son that way as well; McCartney is a long time advocate of vegetarianism.
Healy is a keen runner, having been a member of the Glasgow athletics club Bellahouston Harriers in his youth, and took part in the Berlin Relay Marathon in 2012.
At the 2005 general election, Healy was reported to be a supporter of the Liberal Democrats. In a 2013 interview, speaking of an earlier interview in which he appeared to criticise Alex Salmond, he said "I certainly came across as pro-Labour but the truth is I'm not pro-anyone."
- 1956 Fender Telecaster Sunburst
- 1958 Fender Telecaster Butterscotsch
- 1964 Fender Telecaster Black
- 1970 Fender Telecaster Natural White
- Fender Mustang Candy Apple Red
- Fender Mustang Olympic White
- Fender Thinline Telecaster Mahogany & Sunburst
- Martin 12 String Acoustic
- Martin D-18 Acoustic
- Vox AC30
- Marshall Amplifiers
- Wreckorder (2010)
- "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (2004) – as part of Band Aid 20
- "Fran Healy launches Save the Children’s biggest ever global campaign", Charities Aid Foundation, 2008-02-20. Retrieved on 2008-02-25.
- "Entertainment | Music | Stars sing out against war". BBC News. 16 March 2003. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- Alexis Petridis. "Sound of silence | | Guardian Unlimited Arts". Arts.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- Travis – Melody Maker, 12 January 2000 Archived 12 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
-  Archived 22 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- Michaels, Sean (5 January 2010). "Travis' Fran Healy goes vegetarian for Paul McCartney". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
- "Fran Healy: The Man Who Ran", Scottish Running Guide, Spring 2013, p.16
- Matthews, Jenny (21 April 2005). "Who's backing whom at the election?". BBC News Online. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
- Smith, Aidan (17 August 2013). "Inteview: Fran Healy on the new album from Travis". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
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