Francis "Fran" Healy (born 23 July 1973) is a Scottish musician. He is currently the lead singer and main songwriter of the Scottish band Travis, having written nearly all of the songs on their six studio albums. He is based in Berlin, Germany. Healy is set to release his debut solo album titled "Wreckorder" on October 4 in the UK and October 5 in the US.
Although born in Stafford, England, Healy grew up in Glasgow, Scotland – his parents' hometown. His mother had moved back to Scotland after divorcing her husband, who was abusive (towards her); as a result of this, Healy continues to refuse any contact with his father. Healy has said that both his mother and his grandmother were major influences on him as a child. Healy attended Holyrood Secondary School in Glasgow.
Although as a young child at primary school, he had been awarded a book of Rabbie Burns poems and a certificate "For Outstanding Singing Abilities" after singing the old Scottish song "Westering Home" while dressed in a kilt, Healy showed no further interest in singing until his teens. His obsession in song writing began to take shape when he got his first guitar in 1986 at the age of 13, having seen Roy Orbison perform his hit Pretty Woman on The Last Resort With Jonathan Ross. First songs played on the guitar were old rock'n'roll numbers like Johnny B. Good and 3 Steps To Heaven by Eddie Cochran. His first complete song was written about the Headmaster of his school, Peter Mullen entitled "Mr. Mullen Blues" Sample lyric: "...and there was Pete Mullen, with his pie and beans. It was then I smelled it, it filled the room. Then some wee bugger lit a match and the whole place went Ka-BOOM...Where's your tie boy, Pick up that can. Get in line girl, do you understand...Cause his name is big Pete Mullen...And he's a man" He performed it at the school talent show but failed to move judges. He played in a couple of school bands until drummer of Glasgow band Glass Onion Neil Primrose asked if he would like to audition. This band would become Travis, named after the main character in Wim Wenders movie Paris, Texas.
Travis' first single, "All I Want to Do Is Rock", was written by Healy while on a visit to Millport on Greater Cumbrae, a small island in the Firth of Clyde. Going there with the sole intention of composing the best song he had ever written, Healy surprised even himself when the track was born. In spite of Healy's success as a songwriter since, he is without formal musical training. As the band have risen to prominence, Healy has continued to be Travis' main songwriter, as well as the band's main spokesman and most recognisable member.
Healy’s songwriting has been praised by Paul McCartney, Elton John and Noel Gallagher. In 2005, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin called himself "a poor man’s Fran Healy". In interviews, Healy has talked of being influenced by songwriters such as Joni Mitchell, Paul McCartney and Graham Nash (of the Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young fame). Healy has since played with both McCartney and Nash. Although Healy predominantly plays guitar, he has also been known to write and perform with piano. Healy is soon to release a solo album titled Wreckorder which will feature Paul McCartney and Neko Case.
Healy's band, Travis, is an alternative rock band from Glasgow, Scotland. Travis has twice been awarded British album of the year at the annual BRIT Awards, and is credited as having paved the way for British bands such as Coldplay and Keane. Travis has released six studio albums, beginning with Good Feeling in 1997.
Healy is a part of the movement Make Poverty History and has, alongside his band, played at the Live 8 concerts in both London and Edinburgh. He has also participated in Band Aid 20's re-recording of Do They Know It's Christmas? – Healy and friend Nigel Godrich also playing roles in its organization.
He has so far made two trips to Sudan with the Save the Children Organization, for which he has just launched the biggest ever global campaign to help the ten million children who die unnecessarily each year survive.
Healy has also taken part in and been a speaker at several anti-war demonstrations against the Iraq War.
Since 2000, Healy has been in a long term relationship with German photographer and former make-up artist, Nora Kryst. Their first child, a son named Clay Kryst, was born in March 2006. After living in London for twelve years, the family moved to Berlin in February 2008, while still having an apartment in SoHo, New York City. At a recent concert in Munich, Healy expressed his plans to apply for German citizenship.
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Healy made the haircut the "hoxton fin" famous.
In January 2008 it was announced that Healy would curate a new talent compilation for Paul McCartney's Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.