IT’S been a busy year for Karima Francis.
The Blackpool born and bred singer songwriter was back on the music scene after something of a hiatus and back with a bang.
The first half of 2012 saw her embark on a 22-date UK tour, August saw the release of her latest album The Remedy, as well as performing in front of 20,000 people at the centenary Illuminations switch-on.
She also performed – by invitation – at the wedding of Skin from indie rock band Skunk Anansie, in Italy.
After such a hectic schedule, she probably needed something of a break.
And now the 25-year-old, who lives in North Shore, is back home in Blackpool after all that rushing around.
But she is far from taking it easy.
She is currently working on material for her next album.
The former Bispham High School pupil said: “It’s the longest I’ve been back home for a while.
“I do like to spend time with my family, so I love being back at home.
“But then I also love being on tour too.
“I’m currently just writing my third album and working towards a new EP.
“I just get my inspiration from life. From experiences – relationships, different situations, things that have happened.
“Obviously I am quite personal in my writing.
“And I think I am inspired by things I’ve seen.
“I like to observe people and growing up in Blackpool, there’s a lot of things to draw on.
“But I write for other people, I want my music to connect with them.
“A lot of the emotions are emotions we share, I suppose in a way, my music is about the human condition.
“We are not always as strong as we want to be.
“I think music has the ability and power to help people feel they are not alone.”
Karima loves performing – her next big gig is at the end of February in Belfast – and even when she’s not onstage, she would rather go to see someone else play than go out.
She said: “Blackpool has a lot of home-grown talent.
“It just feels like there’s a movement now – great singers, great bands, who can really put on a gig.
“I always saw Blackpool as having more of a pop music culture.
“But since the Winter Gardens started having bands like The White Stripes, I have seen some amazing music coming from Blackpool.”
Music is Karima’s life.
When she’s not recording or writing it, she likes listening to other artists – some of her favourites are John Martyn, Dylan Leblanc and Ryan Adams – and is currently learning to play the banjo.
She said: “I’ve always loved music, I started off playing the drums when I was at school.
“I found it hard at school, but I liked playing the drums and it meant a lot when I was told I was good at it.
“From that moment, I always wanted to make music.”
Karima had been living the dream about four years ago when her first album came out, creating quite a buzz among music journalists, being spotted by Jools Holland, but then she suddenly seemed to go quiet.
She was suffering from the eating disorder anorexia, but during the time she was ill always wanted to come back to music if she could.
“I’m enjoying being back.
“I’m more shocked than anything. That people still wanted to listen to my music.
“It makes you feel there’s an acceptance.
“If it wasn’t for the fans and my family encouraging me, I wouldn’t have been to do what I have.
“I always try to do it for the audience and I love meeting fans.
“I would meet and chat to them all if I could!”