Spotlight: Frances Ancheta
Written by DJ Tulisan on June 5, 2020
FRANCES ANCHETA is a Filipina American singer/songwriter and acoustic musician from San Francisco. Her musical style has been described by many as “thoughtful, eclectic acoustic folk and indie pop/rock” and “tropical new wave folk.” This is what her website says about her and her music, but what do we really know about this talented indie Pinay artist?
Born and raised in San Francisco and in Daly City as well, Frances started music at a very young age. She learned classical piano at the tender age of six, and when she turned ten-years-old she borrowed her father’s guitar and started learning the chords to her favorite songs. She was heavily into the entertainment arts, having participated in her school band as well as dance and musical theater productions in high school. Her love for music extended into her college years, as she became part of the Barangay Dance Company for a year and later learned classical guitar. She further honed her craft by playing as an instrumental guitarist at restaurants, galleries, festivals and even weddings.
Frances’ parents hail from La Union, Philippines – her father from Luna and her mother from Santo Tomas. Music has been an integral part of her family – her father sung and played Filipino folks songs on a variety of instruments, her aunt played the piano, and her brother plays a variety of international flutes and percussion instruments while also singing. She also has many talented relatives who are musically inclined as well. Her exposure in the musical arts since childhood led her to a career as a Creative Arts Therapist at San Mateo Medical Center in the Bay Area, where she does creative and fun therapeutic activities with patients and music groups.
Her musical interests run the whole gamut, mainly pop and rock tunes from the ‘50s to the ‘90s. She loves the music of Doris Day, classic rock n’ roll artists like Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison, and singer/songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Don McLean, and John Denver. She also loves new wave, post punk, and alternative music from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Frances especially loves the ‘80s British groups like The Cure, The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Culture Club, and ‘90s artists like Jeff Buckley and Radiohead. Part of what makes her musical interests so diverse is that she is also fairly well traveled, not only being able to travel back to the Philippines but also to many countries in Europe and North America. Her love for multiple genres translate to her live performances, as she enjoys and plays a variety of styles ranging from pop to rock, folk to soul to R&B, old jazz to pop standards, Latin to Flamenco to some tropical/reggae inspired stuff, and of course, Original Pilipino Music (OPM).
Even though she has been musically inclined growing up, it took some time for Frances to develop the confidence to come up with her own songs. She wrote some poetry and came up with some original tunes, but it was a while before she was bold enough to combine them to produce her own music. After weaving the words into the music, Frances performed with other artists at local cafes, trying to get needed exposure and share her music to a larger crowd.
Eventually she wrote enough material for two albums, Now We’re Here (2008) and Patterns (2011), which she shared and promoted by playing at a variety of cafes, coffee houses, outdoor festivals and special events. But her public performances had to take the back stage years ago after she faced one of the biggest challenges in her life – cancer.
Despite this significant setback to both her health and her career, Frances persevered and eventually recovered. She notes that even though medicine healed her body, music healed her soul. This prompted her to redouble her efforts and return to the indie music scene. As a cancer survivor, she realized that music is what makes her happy and fulfilled, and this improved outlook in life allowed her to release her third album, Hidden Gems (2020) – more than eight years after her last album. Rejuvenated and inspired, Frances now performs more frequently at various festivals and outdoor concerts, and strives to keep a balance between her music, her career, and her family. As long as she is in good health and still able to perform, she plans to perform as much as possible and work on new songs.
Frances is hopeful that once life goes back to normal, she can resume playing in gigs again and maybe even do a mini-tour. She notes that Hawaii might be one of her future destinations, as she already received requests from her fans to perform in Honolulu. The future looks bright for Frances Ancheta, and she is ready to share her craft once again to those who like to listen to thoughtful, eclectic folk pop/rock music.
You can visit Frances Ancheta’s website at https://www.francesanchetasongwriter.com, where you can also purchase CDs of her latest album, Hidden Gems. All her albums are also available to stream at Spotify.
As long as I’m able and in good health, I want to keep making as much music as possible. ~ Frances
Pinoy Rock USA would like to thank Frances Ancheta allowing us to feature here in this site. More power to you Frances!