Francesca Blanchard is back. The Burlington-based singer-songwriter just dropped a new single with an accompanying music video, titled "Baby." The clip, directed by prolific filmmaker Kayhl Cooper, was shot on the hottest day of summer 2018. Though Blanchard confirms that new track precedes a new album, it's unclear when that record might be released. Her acclaimed debut, Deux Visions, came out in 2015.
The single represents a shift in style for Blanchard, 27. Formerly known for somber acoustic folk with both English and French lyrics, Blanchard presents a punchier, synth-laden R&B sound. Local musicians Zack DuPont (the DuPont Brothers), Ezra Oklan (Matthew Mercury, Dwight & Nicole) and Christopher Hawthorne (Matthew Mercury) contributed instrumentation.
Cooper has become the Queen City's go-to music video director. As is typical of the young filmmaker's work, the video combines the absurd with the mundane, mashing up comic and deadpan elements all at once.
Blanchard apes John Cusack in Say Anything by holding a boombox above her head outside the window of a young man played by Burlington indie folk singer-songwriter Erin Cassels-Brown. Locals Charlie Hill (J Bengoy), Steven Yardley (the Pyros), Erik Benepe (Fever Dolls) and former Dedalus Wine Shop, Market & Wine Bar executive chef Michael Judy perform calisthenics with glazed expressions as Blanchard delivers an impassioned performance that goes squarely unnoticed by the cadre of sporty dudes. To quote defunct Burlington garage-rock band Apartment 3, "trying sucks." Yet Blanchard's prolonged, unnerving eye contact with the viewer seems to suggest a creator unafraid to keep persevering.
In early 2018, Blanchard released "Maria," a charity single inspired by the devastation of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.