True talent can neither be manufactured nor concealed; it can only be unapologetically brought to the surface, a lesson Fanny Neguesha learned very early on in her career and reflective of her single “Lemme Get That.” As the international siren readies the 2018 release of her debut album, Excuse My French, she maintains an authentically fresh take on R&B—as hints of Caribbean, electro-Pop and hip-hop highlight this young star’s brazen style.
Born in Africa to a Congolese/Rwandan mother and Italian father, Fanny (née Fanny-Love Robert) was raised on the island of Tenerife (Canary Islands) but hopped through various parts of Europe growing up, including Italy, Belgium, Spain, and France. She currently calls England her home. The product of a biracial and blended family of seven siblings, the 27-year-old often found herself cultivating her musical talent in the shadows of her bedroom. “I always knew that one day I would sing professionally,” she reflects, “but I was scared.” Music from artists like Lauryn Hill and Michael Jackson would inspire young Fanny, though the Caribbean sounds of artists like Bob Marley would provide a reference point for the then-aspiring singer, due to the Caribbean’s cultural proximity to Africa. When Fanny was around seven, her father and grandmother heard her singing and urged her to pursue it, but shyness was her inhibitor. When she lost her father at eleven, she promised him she would someday live out her dreams in his honor.
At 16, Fanny began a professional modeling career, following in the footsteps of her older sister. While music remained her ultimate goal, the aesthetic of the modeling world became discouraging. People would say, “She’s pretty, but she has no talent. If anyone works with her, it’s just for her appearance,” Fanny remembers with a grunt. “It was in that moment that I said I’m gonna do it. And I’m gonna fuck you all up.”
Three years ago, Fanny took her skills to the internet, uploading to YouTube a cover of Lauryn Hill’s dynamic take on “Killing Me Softly” (during her Fugees days). “Producers started reaching out after that, so I decided to keep going,” Fanny explains. The cover reached the eyes and ears of the head of Def Jam-France Benjamin Chulvanij and it wasn’t long before Fanny was signed to Def Jam’s French leg. She later inked a deal with Def Jam US. Making her way Stateside is the next mission, and Excuse My French will be the catalyst.
“Excuse My French is the perfect title for my album, because no matter who meets me, it feels like I always have to explain where I’m from and who I am,” Fanny says. “Plus, my English isn’t always very good so um…excuse my French.” The album title is also a pun on the “pardon my French” expression that oftentimes introduces a dose of profane honesty, something that will soon be Fanny’s trademark. Her project is full of unfiltered sentiments that range from love to breakups and just having a good time.
Her introductory single “Let Me Get That” (penned by Angela Hunt and Rock City) is club ready thanks to production from Supa Dups and Allen Ritter, as guys and girls alike can absorb the vibe. The title track is more of an anthemic break-up song for the ladies. “This song was inspired from my own life experience. I was with my ex-boyfriend for five years, and I gave him my all,” she says of her semi-public romance. “When we broke up I realized I lost myself in the relationship. But then you remember who you are, you look back, and just say, ‘Go fuck yourself.’” Other cuts like “Crazy” echo that sentiment, as the Rock City written cut boasts more beats from Supa Dups plus DJ Genius and Banx & Ranx. Having worked with the aforementioned Supa Dups and songwriter Angela Hunt, Fanny pulls from Caribbean inspiration, particularly on songs like “Oh My God” (written by Hunt and produced by Supa Dups and Tainy), “I Got What You Need” (co-produced by Diplo), “My Man” (co-produced by Ricky Blaze) and “I’m Feelin’ You.” Fluent in French, Spanish, Italian, and soon-to-be English, Fanny’s pedigree seeps right into her music.
“My multi-cultural background is really important to me because when I’m singing and making my music, I pull from all parts of my heritage—from Africa to Europe. The best part for me is that when I’m singing in different languages, I actually understand what I’m singing,” she says with a giggle. “I may not speak the various African dialects, but I understand the rhythms. It’s a part of me.”
The song “Wine For Me,” borrows the melody to the resurfaced Ghost Town DJ’s hit “My Boo,” as Fanny became aware of the jam via Instagram. “The first time I heard the melody [to “My Boo”] was during the Running Man challenge,” she says. “I was like wow this is so dope, I need to make a song to this.” Other songs like “Money Shower” deliver a hip-hop slant, showcasing more good times. “It’s so funny because when I was working with my team (Rock City, DJ Genius, and Supa Dups), they were always playing me these beautiful songs,” she says. “And I said, “Hmmm, okay now I want a strip club track.’” Then “Money Showers” was born. “The personality of this project is much like my own personality: sometimes I can act classy, sometimes I can be ratchet, sometimes I can have fun, sometimes I fall in love,” she says. “My project reflects my lifestyle.”
Above all, Fanny is here to prove the disbelievers wrong and show where raw talent can truly take you. “When everybody thinks you can’t do this, you have to push yourself to do it. That’s why I’m here,” the budding star explains. “I hope that people can understand my vision of music and my personality. I know I’m not a big artist at the moment, but I’m here Stateside with my vibe. Now I’m gonna run this town.”