An Artist I Know – Francis Bennigan

Art Equals

This is a series I’ve created to share the work of interesting and creative writers, musicians, actors, directors, producers, and much more.
If you’re creating it I’ll share it.
These interviews will be taking shape as I develop them and may be published as podcasts and/or videos.

Francis Bennigan 2

Francis and I met in a musical theater class a couple of years ago at Lansing Community College. What I noticed about Francis was her sweet demeanor and total lack of ego. I was pleasantly surprised to learn she was a local to Lansing musician and was and is hard at work at creating her following. This conversation I had with her highlights some insights into her life and her craft of music making and songwriting.

As a youngster Francis knew at the age of three that she wanted to be a musician. She had melodies in her head and wrote her own words to other people’s songs. To hear her tell it being a musician is an opportunity to create a story. She’s always getting ideas for songs and says “it’s a complete lifestyle” for her.

She plays guitar, sings and considers herself a singer/songwriter although she loves blues and calls herself a soul singer. She currently performs with a blues, funk and soul band by the name of Past Lives Reunion. The band is currently in transition but have performed a few times a month locally here in Lansing.

When I asked her what her favorite type of venue is to perform at Francis stated that she loves the immediate feedback of an audience and being in the moment while performing. She values being prepared and organized for her performances. She loves the atmosphere of house shows and smaller venues like coffee shops. Francis likes working with other musicians and hopes to one day share a stage with other local bands Off the Ledge and Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers. When asked who some of her mentors are she stated she likes the career that Tori Amos has had and likes that Tori’s songs are like her own children.

At one point in her life The Voice found her on YouTube and wanted her to come in to audition and she stated she did not like the experience. It wasn’t the right fit for her as she felt it was too judgmental. She prefers to write her own music but does also perform covers.

Francis thinks that people who work hard at self-doubt can become better musicians but also feels that people need to relax when they are performing so as not to have tension show up in their voice. She said that a lot of her dreams end up as songs and she finds inspiration in just getting her internal struggles down on paper.

She is working on a new album and her songs are in pre-production and she describes this album as a reflection of her. In the recent past couple of years she was in a bad car accident and was thrown through a window and the album reflects that experience and subsequent feelings and her relationships with people, what makes them who they are. She has since had surgery on her hand which has made her guitar playing difficult.
She loves to collaborate with her cousin who is also a musician. They write songs together and he played an important part in helping her to recover from her accident. He is very talented as well and plays multiple instruments. She states that her accident actually pulled them closer together.

To improve as a musician she’s doing daily vocal exercises and sees a voice coach to help her get ready for auditions like the one she had for Echoes of Pink Floyd this past January. She’s states that she’s not afraid of challenges and she plans on attending LCC again to take classes in music theory.

In the future, Francis hopes to be able to perform full-time as a musician. Her creativity started with schooling as a Painter and she also loves landscaping and plants. Her favorite subjects to paint are trees & landscaping.

Lately, she has had time to reflect and she wants to concentrate on her writing. Francis states that “Joy has no cost” and that she is writing more than she has in years. She doesn’t take any bullshit from people and figures “this is who I am”.

Francis is a busy mother to a young daughter and also teaches guitar at Guitar Center in Lansing.


Francis Bennigan 1


Original Song “Anywhere Away From You”:

Devour Me:
Francis wrote of the song: I wrote this while sitting in the midst of a thunderstorm (one of my favorite pastimes). I had always been so afraid of letting someone in. Fear… fear of abandonment.. rejection.. this song embodies my prior fear. Thank goodness I faced that fear. In order to truly experience joy.. one must let go of all prior thoughts.. beliefs… just love. Yes, with the greatest joy comes the greatest sarrow. But man, that is what we are here for. To live!!!!!!

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