Colne singer following in the footsteps of rock royalty The Cure and Manic Street Preachers

Post-punk band Frank have written songs inspired by Burnley and Colne, including Pendle Hill.
Post-punk band Frank have written songs inspired by Burnley and Colne, including Pendle Hill.
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Armed with Burnley and Pendle-inspired songs, this Colne singer is following in the footsteps of superstar rockers, The Cure and Manic Street Preachers.

Graduate Lily Fontaine (21) is taking her post-punk and psychedelic rock band Frank to France, after being discovered by James Sanger. The music mogul, who has worked with both The Cure and Manic Street Preachers, is credited with 67 million record sales worldwide as an artist, song-writer and producer.

Frank, fronted by Colne singer Lily Fontaine, is raising money to travel to France and work with music mogul James Sanger.

Frank, fronted by Colne singer Lily Fontaine, is raising money to travel to France and work with music mogul James Sanger.

Frank will record material with James for a potential new EP with four tracks inspired by Burnley and Pendle. They include the hypnotic The Wallace Hartley, and You Won’t Believe How Beautiful She Is When It Has Snowed, about Pendle Hill.

Lily, who attended Park High School and Burnley College, said: "To have someone with a history of music industry experience be interested in our work is such a reassurance of what we are aiming to do, and from the conversations we have had with James so far it is clear that he is a really creative character, so we can’t wait to see how he can help us develop what we have been writing into something special. It’s exciting and we feel really lucky to have been discovered by him."

Lily was inspired to write songs about East Lancashire, particularly Pendle Hill, when she moved to Leeds for university.

"I found the stories of the semi-rural small-town much more interesting and much more important to talk about than the tired old conversation on romantic love," she added.

"Much like Wallace Hartley, Pendle Hill is such an iconic element of growing up in and around Colne and I think it means a lot to everyone from this area, even if we don’t always realise it. I was just overwhelmed one day by how impressive it looked."

Frank have been fund-raising to get them to France, and smashed their £500 target in just 48 hours through Crowdfunding.

"Everybody’s favourite band was once, like us, a local band, and success can only come from the support of other people," Lily said.

"I don’t think any of us were expecting it, and we’re incredibly grateful."

Their fund-raising reflects their exciting journey as a band so far. The past year has been a whirlwind, with their tracks being played on BBC Introducing West Yorkshire. But that's not all. They have also recorded a DIY five-track EP, almost sold out their first headline show at Headrow House, featured in OnBeat, a zine about creative women of colour, and supported artists at venues across the UK.

"I didn’t even know if my weird, overly metaphorical songs were any good when I released my first demo last year, so to have a BBC radio DJ (Alan Raw) call my song ‘a beautiful piece of music’ meant so much more than I think he realised.

"When it was played, the band and our friends gathered to listen to it in our drummer's bedroom where we write, practise, and recorded the EP, and we spent the night celebrating.

"It’s something you daydream about but you don’t think will actually ever happen, and to do it with people who have become some of my closest friends, is just the best feeling," Lily said.

The singer also dreams of helping people through her music and has written about her struggles with mental health, as well as societal and political issues.

And in 2015 she hosted charity gig Refujam to raise money for refugees fleeing war-torn countries.

"The news was filled with images of families suffering as they tried to escape the conflict in Syria," she said.

"I remember seeing it and feeling ashamed because these people were just trying to get to safety, but they were being stigmatised by a large portion of the society I lived in.

"Pendle and Burnley has an incredible local music scene, and I found a lot of the people I had met and befriended within it felt the same sense of sympathy and helplessness towards the crisis, so I decided to put together a day festival to try and raise money towards the British Red Cross’ refugee appeal.

"Not only did it mean the world to raise £546.34 for the cause, but to see the support from the local community was heart-warming, especially because so many of the people who came down were also around my age at the time (16 - 18)," she said.

"So to see the youth of Pendle express passion and empathy towards a humanitarian crisis reaffirmed my faith in both my area and my generation."

To support Frank's musical mission and find out more, please visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/get-frank-to-france-2