Spotlight on Rhea Francani: FAU Middle School teacher with a music career

“I feel like because I am up on my feet, singing and dancing, performing every day I’m furthering my craft in the classroom,” Francani said. “While I’m teaching it, I’m learning, even from myself and the material that I’m teaching, but also from the students.”

Cover+of+Rhea+Francani%27s+single%2C+%22I%27ll+Go.%22+Photo+courtesy+of+Kerry+Ford.

Cover of Rhea Francani's single, "I'll Go." Photo courtesy of Kerry Ford.

Colby Guy, Features Editor

For FAU’s Alexander D. Henderson Middle School teacher Rhea Francani, music has been a key inspiration for her entire life. Watching Mariah Carey and Earth, Wind, and Fire on TV growing up, she was inspired to pursue something similar.

“To be able to connect to an audience that way with the world is such a special thing,” Francani said. “That really inspired me to go into the music industry.”

Francani started writing her songs after she graduated from Wagner College with a musical theater degree in 2014. 

“I started writing full songs, and I would just write one after the other,” Francani said, “I really wanted to work in the industry but I don’t know where [I could get my start].”

After noticing that her writing leaned into the country genre, she called a studio in Nashville while she was getting her master’s degree from Columbia in 2014 and started from there.

Now, Francani is in the music industry in two different ways. During the school year, she teaches performing arts at Henderson, but in her off time, she records and releases her own music, including her new single “I’ll Go,” which was released on July 10.

“At first, I thought it was going to be two completely different worlds,” Francani said, “but now I see that they really do go together.”

Francani says her teaching never got in the way of her music career, and her students are a part of her process of recording and releasing music.

“They actually chose this single to be released right now,” Francani said. “They heard ‘I’ll Go’ last year, they heard that song and a couple of others and picked this one to be the first one from this EP (Extended Play).” 

Francani says that the Extended Play should be released within the next few months, and she will also be releasing a couple more singles from it in the coming months leading up to the drop of the EP.

“I feel like because I am up on my feet, singing and dancing, performing every day I’m furthering my craft in the classroom,” Francani said. “While I’m teaching it, I’m learning, even from myself and the material that I’m teaching, but also from the students.”

Francani also says that she was able to bring the songwriting aspect of music into the classroom as well, including lessons where the students would write parodies and get creative with them.

“I’m super happy at FAU,” Francani said. “This job has changed so much of my life and being able to teach students and build a performing arts program at Henderson, and I never really thought I would land here.”

Francani has a lot of gratitude for what she can do, both being able to pursue her music career while being able to give back to the FAU community.

“I’m truly grateful for every day,” Francani said. “Being able to teach those students at FAU and to continue my songwriting and performing.”

Colby Guy is the Features Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @thatguycolbs.