International award-winning Leamington, ON-based singer/songwriter and recording artist Francine Honey has released a double single — both solo and a duet — for her newest song, “I Carry On” and it is available now.
The song is a testament to the human spirit and its ability to overcome the challenges that life throws our way. It asks the question: Where does this courage come from?
Co-written and recorded with Honey’s songwriting friend and neighbour, Robert Gray, “I Carry On” is the second single released in anticipation of Honey’s upcoming fifth project, 2020 Vision — a chronicle of her life story so far in song. The double album due out later this year follows the Fall 2019 single release of “Red Sky” and full-length Holiday album, Take Me To The North Pole.
Watch and listen to “I Carry On” here:
Honey explores: “When the path through is unclear, there are unexpected heroes that appear with help. Whether it is a partner, a caregiver, a parent, a child, a friend, or one’s faith in something larger than life, this song expresses gratitude to those that light our world and help us through. There is nothing like seeing the light of love beaming from someone’s eyes when we need it most.
“I have had my share of challenges in life struggling to make ends meet as the sole provider for my two children and somehow I always knew I’d get through them,” Honey adds. “Robert and I were outside chatting one day as neighbours do and he told me he was going through a major health challenge with cancer.
“We bonded over our mutual feelings about overcoming challenges with the help of a positive attitude, gratitude, love and song writing! We talked about how others have inspired us in the past, and wrote about how people are there for you when you need them and the strength that we as humans find to survive and overcome our challenges.
“You just do what you have to do to get through it.”
It took them a few months to find the time to sit down to write this song they talked about, and when they did finally meet, it came together pretty quickly. In fact, Honey was headed down to Nashville to record Take Me To The North Pole and loved the song so much, she asked producer Neilson Hubbard if they could record the song for release in 2020. Honey invited Gray to Nashville to be there if he wanted to see the song being recorded, and after, asked if he wanted to take a stab at singing the song himself in the studio.
“Luckily, he agreed,” she recalls, “and it became clear a duet brings new meaning to the song.”
For this reason, there are two versions of “I Carry On” — the solo is a more country version with Honey’s vocals, and a duet featuring Gray which adds another dimension to the song, she says.
Honey is not new to dealing with adversity and finding a way to “Carry On.”
A mother of two and former federal civil servant, Honey is finally living her dream; she has the love of her life, and the career she long denied herself. Her path through life and into songwriting has been years in the making: Although she's made music since childhood — "I wrote my first song in 1976" — Honey never dreamed of making it a career. Instead, she studied math and computers, got married, had kids and worked as a project manager. Her life seemed perfect. Then a near-simultaneous breakup and job loss forced her to relocate, find a new career and raise a family alone. Music went on the back burner; she never stopped writing, but songs went unfinished — until her kids fixed that.
“When my 18-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son kept telling me to "Get a life, Mom!" they really were showing wisdom beyond their years,” she says. “After spending time thinking about what my life would be after they left the nest, I realized I had stories to share, and there was still an opportunity for me to at least try and turn my musical hobby into my profession.”
Along the way, the down-to-earth artist has displayed extraordinary dedication to her craft. Honey’s debut self-produced (in her living room) album An Ordinary Woman came out in 2008 and was followed in 2014 by Re-Drawn, produced by Lang Bliss in Nashville. The latter includes the song "I Soldier On" — and its French partner "Je Vis Sans Limites” — in support of the Soldier On fund in Canada. In 2015, she also re-recorded many of her early songs for the EP An Ordinary Woman (In Studio) with Mark Plancke of SharkTank Productions in Windsor, ON.
Honey took a few years to work on her craft, studying, exploring and chasing her sound, until 2018, when she began working with GRAMMY Award-nominated producer Neilson Hubbard in Nashville, TN. She recorded her full-length album to be continued… live off the floor in six days.
The album has received critical acclaim Internationally; her song “Stay” is a finalist in the 2018 International Songwriting Competition in two categories, recognized from more than 19,000+ entries around the world, receiving semi-finalist nominations in both the Americana and Blues categories. In addition, “Stay” was a semi-finalist in the 2018 Canadian Songwriting Competition (Folk/Singer/Songwriter).
The Austin Songwriting Group out of Texas awarded first place honours in the Country Category with “Stay” and first place in the Singer-Songwriter category for “Can’t Break Through To You” in April 2020 along with five other song placements including a third place for “I Carry On” in the Inspirational category.
2019 saw Honey release a few singles starting with “Flocons de neige sur mes cils,” the French counterpart of “Snowflakes On My Eyelashes.” This was followed by “Chez mon oncle Lucien”, a song written around the Hangman’s Reel that her grandmother used to play on her violin, is a traditional French-Canadian song with the memory of doing maple syrup at her uncle’s farm. “Red Sky” was released in October 2019, described as a gritty and dreamy flight through change.
Honey’s music has received critical acclaim and sees airplay on CBC, Radio-Canada, AM800, CTV, SiriusXM, Folk Roots Radio, and more across Canada, the US, UK, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands. Her over 20k+ fans online are very happy she left her government career to pursue music full-time. She performs regularly on-line with her series “Honey In Your Coffee” and streams almost every live venue performance. Her belief that music gets you through life and her commitment to helping people feel less alone by sharing life through song connects people across the world to support each other. Her campaign last year to touch those suffering with grief through the holidays with her song and video “Snowflakes On My Eyelashes” and the French counterpart garnered over 1.5 million views, but most importantly connected people grieving from all over the world. It’s no wonder that the video for “Snowflakes On My Eyelashes” was a finalist in the UK Songwriting Contest.
As a graduate of the Berklee College of Music Professional Singer-Songwriter Certificate Program, Honey regularly makes the nine hour drive from Ontario, Canada to songwriting workshops in Nashville where she has been mentored by icons like Beth Nielsen Chapman (who contributes backup vocals to Honey's “Snowflakes On My Eyelashes”), Mike Reid (“I Can't Make You Love Me”), Mary Gauthier (“Mercy Now”), Verlon Thompson (“Boats to Build”), Gretchen Peters (“Independence Day”) and Jonatha Brooke (“Put the Gun Down”).
Honey is a member of the Americana Music Association, Songwriter's Association of Canada (SAC), Nashville Songwriter's Association International, and Canadian Country Music Association. She co-ordinates the SAC’s Leamington & Windsor Regional Writer's Group mentoring other songwriters, has showcased at the Texas Songwriters Symposium four years in a row, as well as at the NSAI Tin Pan North Festival, Hugh’s Room, the WinterFolk Blues and Roots Festival in Toronto, the Kingsville Folk Music Festival, and the Folk Music Ontario conference. Her music and songwriting have not only taken her through Canada and the U.S but to the U.K., Switzerland, and Italy.
She continues to co-write with other artists, aiming to have her music recorded by fellow performers and licensed for TV. "If I could get a song on Grey's Anatomy or another TV or Netflix series, that would be cool," she laughs. "But really, I just want to keep going, writing better songs. I'm finally a songwriter and I know I'll do this the rest of my life.”