This is the first in a series called “Friend of The Lily” where we feature women we admire.
Francine Thirteen’s latest track, “Lust Heals, Give Me My Sin Again” premiered on NPR in the spring. The song is “a reimagining of the Biblical creation story,” Thirteen explained. “It explores the themes of female pleasure and power.” The track also happens to feature a woman named Lily, but that’s not the only reason Thirteen found her way into our hearts. She classifies her work as ritual pop and focuses on feminine archetypes and symbolism. Her music and visuals are mesmerizing and powerful.
Today, The Lily premieres the teaser to her upcoming music video.
Thirteen tells us more over email about her career and her most recent project, Lust Heals:
The Lily: Can you give us some background on your career as an artist?
Francine Thirteen: My path as an artist has been quite a winding road. I grew up in church witnessing the way music affected people. That experience at an early age was my initial spark. I sang in a couple bands before gaining the courage to release and perform music solo. I premiered my first single on Afropunk in 2015.
TL: Tell us about your latest project, Lust Heals. What story are you telling in your song and what compelled you to tell it?
FT: Lust Heals, both as a song and project, is really my contribution to breaking the spell of ignorance and false morality. It is my reaction to a society I see riddled with both, especially as it relates to women. The opening lyric, “Eve has beauty she is cursed to never know,” is partially an allusion to the manner in which women are often not encouraged or allowed to own their desires, thoughts and even their bodies. Women are often encouraged to be in service to others before they are encouraged to be whole. This is only one layer of the project, which has many. The word ‘sin’ is a metaphor for the kind of truth that is deep and mysterious, but healing if we all just allow it to be.
TL: Why do you describe your music as ritual pop?
FT: I have a deep relationship with metaphysics and ceremony, both of which have been agents of my own healing. My work often deals with sacred archetypes like The Holy Whore, The Divine Mother and more. I see my live performances as rituals meant to bless the audience. All of these aspects account for the ‘ritual’ part of the description. The “pop” is really just aspiration and irony.
TL: The visuals in your teaser (and on your Instagram) are striking. How do these images come together?
FT: I spend a lot of time conceptualizing and writing before I ever attempt to bring an image to life. I consider how to best communicate whatever I’m channeling using certain colors, props and poses. I have been blessed to have a very talented group of the creatives to help me manifest my visions when its time. Photographers Netherina Noble, Justina X, Gem Hale and director Dom G Jones (who directed the visuals in the teaser) have played key roles.
TL: What themes do you focus on in your work? Why are they important to you?
FT: Culture, beauty, sex, fertility and desire are all prominent themes. They are important to me because I view them all as tools that can be used to deprogram ourselves from agendas that damage us.
TL: Anything else you want Lily readers to know?
FT: I am a Libra and a Scorpio, and I feel strongly that they are going to enjoy my forthcoming visuals and music.