Juggling three loves with ‘Q’

Raised in a family of artists, ‘Q’ (a.k.a. Francesca Mudannayake) is an aspiring actress, musician, model, and journalist in the country.

Having performed in a few movies and short films, including the 2005 production ‘Water’ by Deepa Mehta and the short film ‘Red Mustang’ by Rehan Mudannayake, she has a knack for acting.

However, music is her true passion and she has four original songs and two covers under her belt.
She sat down with us to talk about her music, her other interests, and what makes her future plans. Here’s what we found out.

How was life growing up for you?

I always loved performing; since I was a child. I started acting when I was about six years old and also started doing ballet at the same time. I didn’t properly start singing until I was about 14. I always enjoyed singing around the house, but it wasn’t at a professional level.

Acting was my first love when I went to Elizabeth Moir. So in school, I took part in a lot of theatre productions. When I was seven years old, I had a small part in this movie called ‘Water’, then again at the age of 14 I acted in a movie called ‘Midnight’s Children’. Singing, acting and dancing were a part of my childhood. I grew up with them. However, I didn’t start making music until I turned 18.

How was the support you received from your family?

It was really good. My dad is a writer, my mom’s a pianist, and my brother is a filmmaker, so pretty much all artists in the family. They had no choice but to support me.

Why do you make music?

I definitely knew that singing was something I was good at, and wanted to get better at it. After I turned 18, I started listening to more and more albums; I started to really enjoy music. Then I realised performing was a wonderful feeling; I could merge all of things I love to do.

This is where the three greatest loves of my life combined, and I wanted every part of it.
Basically, I make music because I love music and performing, and being a part of this industry is just wonderful.

Do you think you could pick one out of the loves of your life?

No, I don’t think I could pick one. I love everything about performing. I’d like to reach that level in my career where I can combine all of these things and be complete. I see so many artists who do this. For example, Solange Knowles; she combines modern dance and music and her sets are architecturally driven.
So at the moment I do all of it and I love doing all of it.

Why do you want to be a part of so many different projects?

I am just interested in so many things so I want to do all of those things. So right now I do a lot; I model part time, I sing part time , I am a part-time journalist, I run a B&B and I make music; it’s so many different things and I actually like to have a lot of things to do.

I’ve never liked to be idle, so I like that these things are keeping me busy.
Do I see myself doing these things in the future? I don’t know, but it works for me at this moment in time.

How do you manage time?

I have no set schedule. Every day is different; it depends on the work I have. I maintain a strict workout regime, which I really care about. I think it is really important to be healthy. I try to do at least an hour of music practice. I am learning guitar at the moment, and I am not very good at it.

Who is your favourite band/artist?

Well, there are a lot. I sort of categorised them because I feel like most artists excel in different things. Some of them are great vocalists, some lyricists, and some performers.

Lyrically, I love people like Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, and Alex Turner.
Vocally, I love people like Billie Holiday, Amy Winehouse again, and Neil Simon.
And performance wise Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Jessie Ware. Jessie has remained to be a constant inspiration of mine.

Is there a role model you look up to?

Beyonce. I look up to her for the type of music that she makes, her style, how she performs and communicates with the crowd. She really inspires me. I love to watch her perform. I really want to reach that level of talent.

What recent projects have you enjoyed doing?

I have worked on several projects in the past few months. I did a remix of Imaad Majeed’s song ‘Quota’. I love this song a lot and I wanted to put my own spin to it.
I also collaborated with Type B; he is another producer. This was another fun project.

Any future plans for your music?

In the next couple of months, I will be releasing some cover videos and I am planning to do a solo show next year.
There are songs that I’ve been recording as well; it’s just a matter of putting it all together.
This is the plan for now, but things are still brewing and I am a master procrastinator, so I don’t know how it will go.

Any future plans on your acting?

I don’t know if I am supposed to say this, but hopefully there is a film that I might be a part of next year. This is a project I am very excited about. I hope to do a play next year as well. I did drama and English as my degree and most of the time I was in plays and it was great. I haven’t acted since last year and I think it’s time I get back into it.

What is the most life-changing advice you received?

My music teacher, Kumudinie Perera David, told me not to be afraid of taking on songs that are bigger than I am. Because as vocalists we sort of limit ourselves, she’s taught me to just go for it and I really cherish that advice.

What do you think makes an artist complete?

I think as a musician you need to be a really good lyricist. Sometimes, people don’t write their own songs and that’s okay, but for me I think it’s important that I feel what I am singing about.
I always write my own songs. A really good ear for music and confidence in performing is also very important. I believe a strong work ethic, and hard work, is also key.
You need to have faith in what you do and have a bit of ego as well. Not so much ego that you can’t take criticism, but just enough ego to be confident.

Any advice you would like to give your fellow performers?

I am just making it up as I go and I don’t think I am fit to advise anyone.
But I can just say that the things that sustain me are perseverance, hard work, and having faith in what I do.
So, I think if you keep those in mind, you can win the world.


By Pujanee Galappaththi