Frances – Grow
Grow is a song by Frances, a 23-year old singer-songwriter from England. Frances premiered the song in 2015. This track also appeared on her full-length debut album, Things I’ve Never Said.
Mum’s List, a film directed by Niall Johnson and released in 2016, included Grow in the soundtrack of the film. In the same year, Frances released a music video to accompany the movie. The first music video alternates between showing Frances singing alone and scenes from Mum’s List.
In 2017, Frances collaborated with domestic violence charity Refuge. A second video was released to help raise awareness about domestic violence.
The stripped-back production of Grow keeps Frances’ singing focused in the center of the track. You can hear the pain in her breathy, vulnerable voice at it slightly reverberates throughout the song. Subtle percussion and bass come in at certain spots to help elevate the drama of Grow. In the song, Frances showcases her singing and songwriting ability without many of the excessive production techniques used in modern-day tracks.
In the final section of Grow, Frances repeatedly sings “Throw your arms out and grow your heart out”. Initially she sings alone, but more voices join her with each time the line is repeated. It’s a nice touch that adds to the dramatic payoff at the end of the song. After the crescendo, the song returns to using only the piano and lone voice of Frances.
The Music Video
Refuge and Frances based the character in the video on Melanie Clarke, a real-life client of the domestic violence charity. She received assistance from Refuge after more than a decade of abuse at the hands of her ex-partner.
The music video was created by Not To Scale, Le Cube, and BBH London. Ralph Karam (Le Cube) served as creative director for this project. The backgrounds and background characters were printed and tracked over 10 days, at Le Cube’s Buenos Aires Studio. The main characters for Melanie, Frances, and Refuge were created using 2D animation at the studios of Not To Scale and Le Cube.
Grow’s Refuge music video begins with a translucent female character. She leaves her apartment, walks down city streets, and works in an art shop where she appears throughout. At a market, she passes by a red-haired character sitting and singing along with the song.
As night falls, she returns to her apartment, where a silhouette of a man can be seen through the window. She goes through the same routines again, but this time everything appears gloomier. The sky darkens, and rain follows the woman wherever she goes.
When the main character heaves a sigh of dejection and prepares to step inside the apartment once more, someone touches her on the shoulder. The person turns out to be a smiling woman who hands her an umbrella.
Afterwards, everything becomes better for the main character. The rain stops, and the woman loses her translucency. When faced with a choice to return to the apartment, she decides to walk away.