David Francisco brings original music and an inspiring story to WQRI’s first Coffeehouse

Isabella Gentile, Features Editor

It’s not often that an artist comes to RWU to perform live. WQRI brought live music to the GHH lawn on Friday, Sept. 21 during its first Coffeehouse of the year. David Francisco, a singer-songwriter born and raised in Knoxville, Tenn., was the featured artist.

 Francisco kicked off his set with an original song, entitled “FaceTime Lover.” This song captured how he felt about a long distance relationship, which he told the crowd was during a time when he and his then girlfriend were separated by miles from Tennessee to California. There was a portion of the song meant for a rap verse, in which Francisco gave his best effort but revealed that he wants another artist to fill that role.

 “Disclaimer, I’m trying to get Chance the Rapper on this song. Obviously, it’s a little hard to get a hold of him, so I’m going to rap,” he said.

 Francisco laughed while he rapped the verse and attracted laughter from the crowd at his genuine attempt to rap on the spot. Max Goldberg, Live Events Coordinator for WQRI, affirmed that the artist knows how to make people laugh.

 “He’s so nice and he has a really good sense of humor,” Goldberg said.

 Before playing his next song, Francisco gave the audience insight into his personal background. He explained that he moved to Nashville to pursue music and used to bike home when he lived there. One day, at the last intersection on his route, a car T-boned him going approximately 35-40 mph.As a result of the accident, which occurred in April 2016, he suffered a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the waist down. He was only 24 at the time and he could not imagine how anything would be the same again — he figured his dreams had come to an end.

 “I thought I lost everything,” he said.

 Francisco commented that his family and friends got him through the hardest time in his life, and that their support was the inspiration for a song he wrote, entitled “Love is What Keeps Us Alive.” He hoped that this song would encourage the students listening to “be a friend for someone else.”

 Through a lot of dedication and physical rehabilitation, Francisco gained the abilities that he had lost back. He was determined to never take life for granted again.

 Francisco continued to share personal moments with the crowd, in essence, letting his story direct his song choices. He reflected on the woman who walked into his life and accepted him for who he was at the time, wheelchair and all. They were married this past February.

 Another original song he played, inspired by this great love, was “Forever Baby.” He shared his vision for the song with the audience.

 “I want this song to be the wedding song at all of your weddings. Now this might be weird,” he continued, “but does anyone want to slow dance in a field?”

Four students did get up and start dancing, swaying along to the melodic tone of the song.

Aside from his original pieces, Francisco added some covers into his set as well. He performed a rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers and “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, which is the song that he auditioned for American Idol with in March of this year. Per request of a student in the audience, he also delivered a few verses of Radiohead’s “Creep.” Even if he did not know all of the words to a song, he did his best to give the audience what they wanted.

“I’m trying to be vulnerable with you guys so you will be vulnerable with me,” he said.

Students in the crowd received Francisco well and had positive things to say. Rachel Rooklin, a sophomore, said the singer was very good. 

Sophomore Ashwini Puralasamy also expressed how fond she was of him. 

“His voice is amazing. I love his personality and he has so much character,” she said.