Sage Francis Literally Smacks the Words Out of His Head

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Up on the Sun: So Sage, we're sitting at the counter of a coffee shop making small talk. We finish talking about the weather and I ask you what you do for a living. What do you tell me?

Sage Francis: This discussion obviously happens with almost every new person that I meet. My answer all depends on the vibe I'm getting from the person, but what I typically say to keep the conversation as short and simple as possible is "I run a music website." After years of experimenting with answers, I've found that this totally truthful yet ambiguous response is the one that results in the least amount of confusion.

When did you decide you wanted to do music? Was there any monumental occurrence that pushed you down the path?

I've always wanted to do music. Even before I heard any hip-hop, I was singing lyrics into a tape recorder. Just noodling around with melody and incoherent lyrics. I actually sneaked one of those recordings on "The Baby Stays" from my last album. Anyway, I discovered hip-hop at the age of 8 and began writing and recording rap lyrics almost immediately. Even though I always wanted to do music, the first time I realized I'd be able to do it without working another job was in late 1999. I was performing enough shows to pay for my rent and life essentials at that point, so I quit my job at Ben & Jerry's, and I haven't worked for another person ever since.

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Tom Reardon has written for Phoenix New Times since 2013. He's been in several notable bands over the last 25 years including Hillbilly Devilspeak, North Side Kings, and the Father Figures.
Contact: Tom Reardon