Francis Tuan (PL)

Francis Tuan is currently recording his second album, which is set for release on March 10th, 2023 by legendary Polish indie label Karrot Kommando. This time, the album shall be entirely in Polish to emphasize the fact, thatin 2022 he became a PhDofPolish Literature of the Wrocław University, where he is also a professor teaching in that subject. The album shall be followed by a club tour and performances during Future Echoes in Sweden(February) and SPIKE in Bulgaria (May).

Francis Tuan is the stage name of Fryderyk Nguyen. Born in Wrocław, Poland, of a Polish mother and Vietnamese father, he has been influenced by both cultures since birth. His mother has been a singer in rock bands throughout her younger days and never stopped playing albums by The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix or Cream, and especially her Polish idols like Czesław Niemen or Breakout. His father, on the other hand, an amateur guitar player, sang him Vietnamese lullabies, which he loved, but did not understand.

His first “stage” success came after his performance in a TV Child star program “Od przedszkola do Opola”.From then on, he was determined to become a musician. He started forming bands from the age of 12 but his first serious group was formed at middle school in 2009 and took the name of Katedra. Influenced by the 60s, the band gained nationwide success after their participation in the 5th edition of “Must Be the Music”, where they reached the final. Katedra toured the country and released two albums, but in the end, members of the band decided to split up.

This time, Fryderyk decided to go solo, taking the stage name of Francis Tuan. It’s actually his ‘other’ name, because Tuan (meaning ‘handsome in Vietnamese) is his middle name, and Franciszek (Francis) is his name taken by him during confirmation. Since Francis sings, plays guitars and keyboards, he was initially self-sufficient, and his first songs were home recordings. He decided to give his music a Vietnamese touch, expanding the sound by the đàn nguyệt and đàn tỳbà–folk instruments of his father’s motherland. He then asked his friend Magda Hrebecka to join him on mandolin and backing vocals, and after a while, the drummer of KatedraPaweł Drygas joined in. The first line-up of the new band was established.

Together they recorded their first EP “Poems” with compositions to Fryderyk’s favorite English-language writers. The song “I Thank You God For Most This Amazing” became a hit played on radio stations throughout the country. It was placed at #3 among the best tracks in 2017 voted by listeners of ‘Program Alternatywny’presented by Agnieszka Szydłowska on legendary Trójka.

Unfortunately, Magda soon decided to move to the UK, so the line-up had to be changed. That’s when AjdaWyglądacz came in to play on bass. Ajda,a singer, songwriter and guitar player of Chwilantropia became a great boost to the music of Francis Tuan. Their first international success came, when they were invited to play during ‘Live at Heart’ in Sweden. Having already demo songs for a whole album, they were able to perform full shows. The reception in Sweden was very warm, and rumours about the band started spreading. The band was included in the INES Talent program for 2020. Their single “Borders” was featured on Canadian Cashbox Radio and also did well in local charts. The band recorded their debut album “Let’s Pretend”, which came out in February 2020, with an intention to promote it throughout that year. For this purpose, they invited GabrysiaCybuch(from Fox in the Box)to play on keyboards, thus becoming a four-piece. But… we all know what happened in March 2020. All shows and 90% of promotional activities were cancelled. This still allowed the band to take 3rd place as “New Hope” voted by readers of Teraz Rock magazine. The INES Talent program was extended for a consecutive year, but that didn’t help much due to sustained restrictions.

During the pandemic, Francis Tuan managed to play online shows during Canadian Music Week and LiverpoolSound City, as well as several shows supporting big names and a few individual broadcast live on the radio. The summer and autumn of 2022, after signing a record deal with indie label Karrot Kommando, was devoted to the recording of the new album. The first single ‘Lody naturalne’ was frequently played on radio stations, reaching #1 on Radio Afera for two consecutive weeks and staying in the Top 10 for 3 months from August to October