Singer Francinne, Brazilian turned K-pop star, talks about life in South Korea after living an abusive relationship in Brazil

In less than a year, singer Francinne changed the direction of her career to the other side of the world, entering the pop rhythm of South Korea as the first Brazilian without Asian ancestry in K-pop.

— Certainly (this work) represents a new phase in my life. I come from a phase of almost giving up on my career, you know? And then it all happened in less than a year. I went to Korea, things I didn’t expect would happen in my life. I felt really valued, for my talent, my art – said Francinne, who, in the last year, went through a turbulent moment after exposing that she lived an “extremely abusive, controlling and violent relationship”.

‘It was a refresh in my life’

For two months, July and August of this year, she studied the Korean’s pronunciation in Seoul to record her new single “Fading like a moon”, released this Wednesday, the 27th, along with the MV, also filmed there. At EXTRA, she told details about the trip, the turn she took in the music scene and how much more enchanted she was by the South Korean culture.

— The trip (to South Korea) was a very unexpected thing. It all happened so fast. My manager arrived like this: “do you have a passport? Have you seen? Let’s get the visa from Korea.” And I said: “ok”, but, like that, always with my feet on the ground, “ok, ok”. Then later, he says: “Next week we are going to Korea”. And I: “Hi?? Serious?” I wasn’t buying it. It was a very quick thing, you know? Francinne said, in front of the computer in her house in the video conversation with the report. — I felt very embraced, very welcomed by the culture. It was a refresh in my life, in my career. I’m very happy at this stage.

Francinne described the trip to Korea as an 'amazing' experience.
Francinne described the trip to Korea as an ‘amazing’ experience Photo: Instagram @francinneficial / Reproduction

The importance of feat. with Spax

While this experience marks Francinne’s debut as a soloist in K-pop, this was not her first exposure to South Korean pop music. In 2020, she was invited to collaborate with singer Spax, a former member of Blanc7. The two recorded a version of “Te Quiero mas” with lyrics in Portuguese and Korean. For her, this opportunity was fundamental for her career change.

— The feat. with Spax was the main reason for me to enter this world because it was his fans who came to me – reported. “They’re the ones who taught me Korean words.” I did not know anything. They sent me some dramas to watch, some songs. I liked K-pop, but I’ve been following it a long time ago, since 2NE1. I hadn’t really immersed myself in Korean culture.

Read more: Spax talks about partnership with Francinne, unprecedented union between K-pop and Brazilian music

Francinne and Spax during the recording of the MV for 'Te Quiero Mas'
Francinne and Spax during the recording of the MV for ‘Te Quiero Mas’ Photo: Instagram / Reproduction

Francinne said her favorite K-pop groups are 2NE1 and Blackpink
Francinne said her favorite K-pop groups are 2NE1 and Blackpink Photo: Felipe Garcia / Press Release

‘Korea saved my life, saved my career, saved my dreams’

While talking to Spax, Francinne remembered a song suggestion he had given her, saying it would match his voice. So she decided to practice singing it, until she made a video and posted it on Instagram.

— I called the attention of Korean businessmen here in Brazil. Hey, girl, I’m here. It was something I didn’t expect, one thing connected with the other and put it together. In less than a year, I went, came back from Korea, recorded a video, recorded music. And I’m very happy. I say Korea saved my life, saved my career, saved my dreams.

‘The main focus of the clip is choreography’

About “Fading like a moon”, Francinne said that the proposal was to follow the “K-pop formula”.

— The song is all in Korean, and the chorus is in English, to make you sing along. Nowadays they (the idols) have already made songs only in English to reach the world audience, but as this proposal was to make K-pop, we did it in Korean,” he said.

Therefore, she stressed that there could not be a lack of choreography with striking dance steps from the chorus, which become the symbol of that song, as she notes in the groups’ video clips.

— When we talk about K-pop, the first thing that comes (to mind) is the choreography. It has to have choreography. The main focus of the clip is choreography. We have already prepared the TikTok dances. Every clip in K-pop has a movement, something that sticks in your head, right? she said, doing a dance step from the aespa song “Next Level,” marked by a specific hand and arm gesture. “So mine’s going to have a little thing too.”

Francinne, who lives in São Paulo, also went to Seoul to record the music video
Francinne, who lives in São Paulo, also went to Seoul to record the video. Photo: Felipe Garcia / Publicity

Concept girl crush for the music video: ’empowerment’

For the music video, his team asked for references from K-pop groups that adopt a concept girl crush, like 2NE1, Blackpink and aespa, that is, they deliver a style with empowerment and valorization of female freedom.

— Like it or not, I don’t know if they made this song thinking of me, because it has a lot to do with my story, you know? It speaks of freedom, of getting back on top, it says “I am free, you cut my wings, but now I’m going to fly”. I said “but guys, did he make this song for me?”

As the main difference between performing the work in Brazil and South Korea, the singer mentioned the rehearsals she did on the trip before entering the studio to start recording.

“I don’t know if they do this with every singer, but I rehearsed it like three times in the studio with the producer because of the pronunciation. He would pick up the guitar, make me sing. It said: “then I want you to sing with sadness because you are saying that you were left behind”. He knows? So there was this whole theatrical thing he wanted me to use in my voice. It was almost a clip direction. He directed my voice. I thought it was really cool. We did all these rehearsals before actually recording.

The Quarantine Challenge

Her biggest challenge on reaching her destination, however, had nothing to do with work, but rather with measures to control the pandemic. Francinne said she had had to stay in a South Korean government accommodation for two weeks without being able to leave her room. What relieved her most during this period was, as she highlighted, the contact with fans through social networks. Having Wi-Fi on site therefore made all the difference, she said, explaining that she didn’t yet have a cell phone chip to use there.

— (In July) I got royal quarantine, officer. I suffered,” he admitted. — They saw that my passport was Brazilian and they said ‘you’re going here’, they put a red sign on my neck, and I started to get desperate, they separated me from everyone I was with, they put me in an Indian queue and like “you go to government accommodation”. I’ve already started crying at the airport, “oh my God, I can barely speak English, I can barely speak Korean, I can’t even speak Portuguese properly (laughs)”. And then, girl, they put me in the government hotel. We have to pay for everything at the entrance, 14 days. And right at the entrance there is a paper that says “when you enter, you cannot leave”. It started to give anxiety, crisis. It was very restricted, could not open the door that sounded alarm. I was feeling like I was in a science fiction movie.

Francinne traveled to South Korea to record 'Fading like a moon'
Francinne traveled to South Korea to record ‘Fading like a moon’ Photo: Felipe Garcia / Publicity

Korean lessons

After the period of isolation, Francinne said that the moment of happiness had finally arrived, when the realization that she was really in South Korea to make a dream come true. She said that she heard the song for the first time when she was still in Brazil, but the producers thought it was better to do the training abroad, together with them, so that there would be no mistakes in pronunciation, even though the singer already takes Korean lessons.

“But, like, I only know the basics of the basics of the basics, like ‘hi’, ‘bye’ and ‘bathroom’. I can’t even say “where’s the bathroom?”, just “bathroom”,” he joked, amid laughter.

Fan support

Before traveling, Francinne took the Covid-19 test and, upon arrival, did it again, as well as during the quarantine at the hotel. She explained that, even without the passenger showing any symptoms, it is necessary to be isolated when disembarking in the country.

— It was tense, but it was the fans who helped me through this phase and made the days go by faster. I started recording my breakfast, showing the food, eating with them (using Wi-Fi). I didn’t even have a chip! I was praying not to pass a wind on the antenna (so as not to lose the internet), because if not, I was screwed – he recalled, citing the meditation tips he received.

K-dramas fan: ‘felt at home’

When she was finally able to visit the South Korean capital, Francinne said she felt very welcomed. She also praised the safety of the place and enjoyed the freedom of using her cell phone on the street to enjoy the walk and take pictures without fear of being robbed.

— It really hit me when I came out of quarantine, I got to know the city of Seoul. I swear to you, I felt right at home. I am dorameira (term used for fan of East Asian series, called dramas), K-poppeira (fan of K-pop). I only watch K-dramas (South Korean series), so I’m used to the language, I said, “Guys, I’m at home. I loved it! I want to stay here forever,” he said, describing the experience as “amazing”. – I never expected this turn in my life. So I was so grateful. All the troubles in the world could happen, but I was like “oh man, I’m in Korea!” Much gratitude!

Francinne visited K-drama 'Itaewon Class' recording site
Francinne visited K-drama ‘Itaewon Class’ recording site Photo: Instagram @francinneoficial / Reproduction

To communicate, Francinne had the help of the businessman at first, who is Korean, but speaks Portuguese as he already lives in Brazil. Afterwards, she was accompanied by an interpreter, which greatly facilitated interaction with people.

— As I told you, I was enchanted with the city. I had already been enchanted with culture, food, music. And after we go there, we don’t want to leave anymore.

Meeting with Leia, Brazilian idol

One of the events on the trip that most excited Francinne was the meeting with Brazilian idol Leia, from Blackswan, whose civil name is Larissa Ayumi.

— I was already following her work, but we had no contact, so the companies, hers and mine, stirred up the meeting. We went to a cafe. And it was like that, it felt like we were two sisters meeting. we turned best friends forever (best friends forever)! It was very cool. Now we’ve exchanged contacts, we always talk. I’m always rooting for her. I told her that when she comes to Brazil she will stay here at home. We’ve already agreed (laughs). It’s not an easy way for her to live there, but I believe everything will be fine. She is very talented and will send a lot!

Brazilian idol Leia, a member of Blackswan, and singer Francinne met in Seoul
Brazilian idol Leia, a member of Blackswan, and singer Francinne met in Seoul Photo: Instagram @francinneoficial / Reproduction

Return from live shows: ‘with lots of choreography!’

As for plans for the near future, Francinne said she was excited to meet fans face-to-face again at live shows.

— I promise to bring a show with a lot of choreography! That singing and dancing thing I always wanted to do. It’s one thing I love: performance. A show later this year, soon, more information. It’s the beginning now, we’re retaking our entire career, revamping the whole show and putting together something very special.

Francinne gained notoriety when she was covering Britney Spears. That’s why his passion for performing on stage goes back a long way.

— One memorable moment was when fans cried like ‘I’m seeing ‘A’ Britney in front of me.’ I don’t think I’m similar, but on stage I thought “I’m going to embody this woman”. I was very happy to be able to pass a little bit of that to them – remembered.

About Hrishikesh Bhardwaj

Tv specialist. Falls down a lot. Typical troublemaker. Hipster-friendly advocate. Food fan.

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