High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Monday, March 14, 2016

Canadian Club, Vol. 2: This Quiet Kid From Toronto, Francesco Yates, Just Might Be the Next Michael Jackson!

My dear Canadian friend Belle Unruh

is celebrating her birthday today.

Happy birthday, Belle!

This post is for you.

In 2014, I presented volume 1 of Canadian Club
in which I introduced Sixties snowbirds
Sandie Selsie and Pat Hervey.

Today, I give you a talented young man
barely out of his teens - an up-and-coming
singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist
from Toronto, Canada. His name is
Francesco Yates.

Belle, who publishes the blog
Who is God? And by the way, who am I?
knows all about Hedley, the pop-rock band
based in her region of British Columbia. Next
month, Francesco Yates and another popular
Canadian singer/songwriter, Carly Rae Jepsen
of Mission, B.C., (also in Belle's neck of the
woods), will join Hedley as they kick off
their Hello World Tour in support of
the band's 6th studio album, Hello.


Francesco Yates got serious about making music
at age 11. At 16 Francesco signed with a major label.

In 2015, when Francesco turned 20, his
eponymous debut EP was released. I am
blown away by Francesco's voice, his
musicianship and his quiet demeanor.

At times Francesco sounds like Michael Jackson,
at least to my ears. Experience Francesco's debut
single, "Better To Be Loved," and see if you agree.

"Better To Be Loved"
(from Sept. 2015 EP Francesco Yates)

Now here's Francesco Yates covering
"Can't Feel My Face," the #1 charting hit
by fellow Canadian artist The Weeknd.
Both Francesco and The Weeknd sound
like Michael Jackson on their respective
recordings. At the 42 second mark you
will hear a shout similar to the one on
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough,"
At 1:02 you will hear the vocal
style Michael used on "Billie Jean."

"Can't Feel My Face" 
(Aug. 2015, The Weeknd
cover by Francesco Yates)

There's mo Michael, mo Michael, mo Michael
in Francesco's voice as he performs "When I
Found You," a tender love ballad from his
self titled EP.  Be sure to listen
at the 1:00 spot!

"When I Found You"
(from Sept. 2015 EP Francesco Yates)

Francesco seems to be singing under the influence
of Prince (think Under the Cherry Moon's "Kiss")
on "Change the Channel," another track found on
the EP. Be sure to click at the 1:05 mark because
that's when this thing gets surreal. Is it Prince?
Is it Michael? Is it Memorex?

"Change the Channel"
(from Sept. 2015 EP Francesco Yates)

Francesco recalls another departed soul legend,
Marvin Gaye, on this cover of Marvin's hit
"What's Going On." This performance
gives me goose bumps!

"What's Going On"
(April 2015, Marvin Gaye
cover by Francesco Yates)

"Something Different," another fine ballad
from Francesco's debut 2015 EP, is an instant
blue-eyed soul, R&B and quiet storm classic!

"Something Different"
(from Sept. 2015 EP Francesco Yates)

Here's the kicker - "Sugar" - the chart topping
international hit single by German DJ Robin
Schulz featuring the vocals of Francesco Yates.

The recording samples Baby Bash's 2003 single
"Suga Suga." The "Sugar" video is must see.
The rogue cop in it makes the gang on
Reno 911 look normal!

"Sugar" - Robin Schulz Ft. Francesco Yates
(July 2015, h.c.p. #3 US Hot Dance/Electronic
#1 Germany, Austria, Czech Republic,
Hungary, Poland, Switzerland)

We'll never get Michael or Marvin back,
but talented young Francesco Yates is
helping to fill the void.

Francesco Yates isn't an impersonator.
He's an original - fresh, versatile and soulful.
Shady sez Francesco deserves to be a star.
I hope you enjoyed his performances.

Once again, I wish my

dear friend Belle a very

happy birthday!


  1. Happy birthday to Belle! I enjoyed this all Canadian post and especially the sounds of Francesco Yates. You're right-- he is a talented young man-- and he does sound a lot like Michael Jackson at times. Francesco's performance of What's Going On is a classic and that Sugar video is a hoot-- Where did they find that crazy cop? lol

    Great post, Shady!

    1. Hi, Kathryn!

      Thank you for adding your birthday greetings for my dear friend Belle Unruh. I'm glad your ears matched mine and you detected the sounds of Michael Jackson in the singing of rising Canadian star Francesco Yates. To answer your question, the wacky rogue cop in that "Sugar" video is actor, comedian, dancer, filmmaker, stunt performer and musician Nathan Barnatt.

      I'm happy that you enjoyed the post, Kathryn, and thanks again for helping me wish my wonderful friend Belle a happy birthday!

  2. As I was listening, Michael Jackson did indeed come to mind. Certainly wasn't the sound I was expecting! Not my kind of music, but the kid can sing.
    And big happy birthday to Belle!

    1. Hi, Alex!

      Thanks for coming, good buddy, and for wishing our friend Belle a happy birthday.

      I'm glad we agree about Francesco's talent and the fact that he channels Michael in his some of his performances.

      Thanks again for your visit and comment, Alex, and have a great week!

  3. Hey Shady, This guy is a BAD BOY! He reminds me of me, as a young man!!
    Great Stuff Shady. Keep 'em coming!
    Later, Dave

    1. Hi, Davey! I am thrilled to have you over to my clubhouse again today, Mr. Mag Man, and excited to find out that you appreciate the singing style of Francesco Yates. If you watch his entire performance of "What's Going On" I guarantee goose bumps! Who knows, Francesco might just be the next Dave Bupp! :)

      Thanks again for following SDMM - the blog by a Dell rat for Dell rats - your portal to great music and memories.

      Have a great week, Dave!

  4. This was enjoyable, Shady! Francesco does an excellent job and I sure can't complain about his influences. The only thing missing was the dancing that comes to mind whenever I hear "Michael Jackson" :-)
    Thanks for sharing this talented young artist, and of course, the memories!

    1. Hi, dear Diedre!

      Thank you for coming by again today, dear friend, and for sharing your impressions of the talented singer and musician Francesco Yates. You're right. I haven't seen Francesco moonwalk in any of his videos so far. :) I doubt we will ever again see an entertainer gifted in as many ways as Michael, the King of Pop.

      Thank you again for spending some time in the Shady with me, dear friend Diedre. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  5. Happy Birthday, Belle, from a fellow Canadian. ☺

    Shady, you have a knack for finding little-known but excellent singers! Francesco Yates is one talented young man and should go far. He's much better than Bieber! Definitely reminiscent of Michael Jackson in those first two songs. How cool that he's touring with Hedley - a band of some renown (at least here in Canada). That should give his career a boost. I especially liked the last track - "Sugar".

    Thanks for another fabulous post! Have a good week.

    1. Hi, Debbie the Doglady!

      Thanks for coming, dear friend! Yessum, Francesco Yates hails from your part of Canada - Toronto - and I was hoping you'd like his performances. (I also have posts featuring fellow Canadian artists Carly Rae Jepsen and The Weeknd coming up in posts later this year.)

      Isn't that "Sugar" video hysterical? That comic cop does a great job of grooving to the tune behind the wheel of his cruiser. I love it!

      I'm so pleased that I added some enjoyable music to your day, dear friend Debbie. Have a wonderful week and look for my MWA acceptance post this Friday!

  6. Tom, thank you for the introduction of such a super talent. Francesco does sound a lot like MJ and although I really loved MJ's style it's hard for me to get into that kind of music these days. I think my music taste has changed somewhat over the years. The song title I liked best by Francesco is Something Different. I prefer the lower tones of his voice than his usually higher pitch sound, but that doesn't change the fact that he's super talented and I'm very happy that you featured him in this post. :)

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      Thank you very much for coming over, dear friend! It's funny how our taste in music changes over the years. For years I was a hardcore hater of modern pop, hip hop and rap. Now they are among my favorite categories of music. I have come to accept that this too shall pass. Who knows which type of music will capture my imagination next? I am currently dabbling with K-pop and Japanese heavy metal bands, so anything's possible.

      I'm very happy to know that you appreciate the talent of Francesco Yates and I thank you again for your visit and comment. I'll be pubbing my MWA acceptance post this Friday and I thank you again for sharing the award with me.

      Have a great week, dear Cathy!

    2. Tom, I remember Francesco now. His vocals are a bit like my featured artist Mike Bauer. Yates is a talented singer and quite young. It'll be nice to hear the change in his vocals in 5 or 10 years down the road. I think the maturity in Mike's vocals resonate a little warmer to my ear. Thanks for allowing me to draw my own comparison between the two, my friend. Have a good weekend!

  7. Nice selection of songs. I had never heard of this bloke before, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear him on the radio. I'm surprised I never have.
    The final video was indeed quite humorous. I rather enjoyed it.

    1. Hi, Jeffrey!

      Thanks for coming over, good buddy! I'm happy to know you enjoyed the sounds of young Francesco Yates. As you can see by the chart performance stats I posted above the video, the single "Sugar," Francesco's collaboration with Robin Schulz, was a big international hit, reaching #1 in 6 European countries. Even so, I never heard of it or any of Francesco's recordings until a few weeks ago when I discovered him on YouTube. I think Francesco's future is so bright he'll have to wear shades.

      Thanks again for your visit, Jeffrey, and thank you for the MWA award. Look for my acceptance post this Friday. Until then have a happy week, good buddy!

  8. The style is sure similar.
    Happy Bday, Belle.

    1. Hi, Sandra!

      How are you, dear friend? Thanks for taking a look and a listen to Francesco Yates, a soulful up-and-comer who deserves recognition.

      Thanks again, Sandra, and have a great week!

  9. Hi Shady,
    First things first, Happy Birthday, Belle! Enjoy your day!
    Wow, another great find! Francesco is very talented ( and quite cute to boot!) And yes, he does sound like Michael and Prince! I love the song, "I can't feel my face" by the Weekend. It's funny, I always thought he sounded like Michael , too!
    Francesco is very lucky to be touring with the "call me maybe" girl!
    I really liked the "sugar" vid. It reminded me of the "real" cop video that went viral while he sang, Taylor Swift's "Shake it off"!
    Again, Congrats of your Awards X3!


    1. Hi, dear Toni!

      Thank you very much for joining me for this tribute to Canadian sensation Francesco Yates. Knowing that this is one of your favorite categories of music, it pleases me to be able to introduce an artist you didn't already know. I'm thrilled that you enjoy him and hear the similarities to Michael and Prince. I agree that The Weeknd also sounds like Michael Jackson on his version of "Can't Feel My Face." The Weeknd performs the exact same Jacksonesque "Ooooh" shout at the same spot on his own recording. That "Sugar" song is a toe-tapper for sure, and the inspired video, in which the psycho cop turns into one of the "bad boys, bad boys," puts it over the top and makes it an MTV-style classic.

      Thank you again for tuning in to what's turning me on, dear friend Toni. Have a great day and week!

  10. Happy Birthday to Belle.

    What an amazing talent, at such a young age too. Thanks for sharing him, Shady!

    1. Hi, Dixie!

      Thank you for stopping in, dear friend! Yessum, I was astonished when I came across Francesco and started listening to his recordings. He certainly is a precocious artist. Moreover he reveals himself to be humble, soft-spoken and serious minded in interviews:

      Thank you again for coming, dear friend Dixie. I'll be seeing you tomorrow on BOTB!

  11. Thank you Shady and thank you everyone else for the birthday wishes. I did have a great day!

    Well, this young man is amazing and I enjoyed every song. I'm pleased to see he is touring with Hedley, my granddaughter's favorite band. They will be seeing the concert this spring and have a back-stage pass!

    I also loved that last video, especially the car-wash scene. What a riot! Love the song too. The only song I knew was, "I Can't Feel My Face." Even an old lady like me has heard that from somewhere! He did a fine job. I'm sure he will be a mega-star. Thanks again, Tom.

    1. Hi, dear Belle!

      Happy birthday, my wonderful friend! I am elated to know that you enjoyed the singing and playing of Francesco Yates. I hope he goes far as an entertainer because he's loaded with talent. I remember you telling me that your granddaughters are going to see Hedley's Hello World Tour show when it comes to your area. They will probably get the chance to meet Francesco and Carly along with Hedley. How exciting!

      I'm delighted that you got a kick out of "Sugar." I am surprised you already knew the song "Can't Feel My Face," made popular by another Toronto artist, The Weeknd.

      I'm very happy to know that you had a great birthday, Belle. I hope it was made all the better by seeing all the comments from people who admire you. That includes me. I treasure your friendship.

      Thank you for your visit and kind comments, dear friend Belle, and enjoy the rest of your birthday week!

  12. Okay, I'm making my tour down the list, and the thing that impresses me is his talent for arranging the song, much more so than the admittedly "he sounds familiar" vocals, especially on Change the Channel.

    Right now I just turned on What's Going On, but up to here I liked the first song the best. Another thing that strikes me as I listen to WGO is that so many of these new young artists are hearing the great vocals of the past- and saying, "I can do that too!" And This kid CAN do it, it would seem.

    At this point, I would like to point out once again a theme that my son and I have agreed on for years- Canadian is the BEST music. And with acts like WILSN, Islandis, and Castle Comer, Australia is gaining rapidly.

    While I have heard of (and avoided) the Weeknd, I did actually hear The Hills this weekend shooting pool (one of the worst exhibitions in public I ever have made, BTW) and was less than impressed. His version of ICFMF was a much more pleasant experience.

    The Sugar song would be my #2- and a damn good reason why I should never be a cop! They should prolly cut his listening abilities down to something more in the Pavarotti range, lol!

    1. Hi, Chris!

      Thanks for popping over, good buddy, and for taking time to review the recordings of Francesco Yates. Overall it seems like you are giving the Canadian lad a fairly enthusiastic thumbs-up, and I'm happy to know it. I agree that there is a plethora... (I've waited eight years to use that word)... a plethora of gifted singers and musicians making music in Canada and Australia these days. Scandinavian countries are also red hot, with many fine bands making music in the categories of prog rock, melodic metal and retro 80s Sunset Strip sleaze. I love to discover great music from all over the globe and I know you do, too.

      You've avoided The Weeknd? I'll remind you of that next time you say "TGIF" :) You say you embarrassed yourself in public playing pocket billiards? I've done it many times, good buddy. After one particularly disastrous game of 8-ball, I spent the next half hour replacing my divots! :)

      I'm glad you got a "Sugar" rush, too, Chris. Combine a catchy song with a crazy comedic cop and you've got a hit video on your hands.

      I'm glad you had some fun this evening, Chris. Thanks a lot for coming by, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  13. First off...Happy Birthday Belle! I don't know you but any friend of Shady's has to be pretty cool. Hope your day was all bdays should be! This young man is very talented and I can see...or I should say "hear" why you have Michael Jackson on the mind when listening to him sing. I'm always amazed when these young singers belt out a tune because the voice doesn't match the young face. I have to say I love his hair too! I recognized a few songs here and he did an amazing job. He has star quality and hopefully he'll make it to the top. I'd hate to come here in 20yrs and read about him in one of your "should have been on top" posts! Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for 2 posts in one week!

    1. Hi, dear YaYa!

      Thank you very much for coming by again this evening for what is actually the second of THREE posts I will publish in the span of one week - very unusual for SDMM, as you know. (My next post is Friday.)

      Thank you very much for wishing my dear friend Belle a happy birthday. She is a wonderful person and I know she will appreciate your caring birthday greetings.

      I'm tickled silly to know that you enjoyed Francesco Yates and agree that he has star quality. That's the best way to describe it. If I am lucky enough to be around 20 years from now I trust that Francesco will be a household name by then. By the way, if I am still doing SDMM in 2036, you better be doing Whispering Pines, too! :)

      Thank you very much for your kind and generous comments again this evening, dear friend YaYa. Have a great week and I hope to see you again this Friday. God bless!

  14. Happy birthday, Belle!

    I'll be going to Toronto next month... I'll have to see if I can see any concerts!

    1. Hi, dear Jessica!

      Thank you for coming, dear friend! I just looked up the Hedley Hello World Tour schedule. If all goes as planned, Hedley, Carly Rae Jepsen and Francesco Yates will be appearing at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on April 29.

      BE THERE!!!!! :)

      No kidding, it would be cool if you could attend the show and write a review on your blog!

      Thanks again, JM, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  15. Happy Birthday Belle and what a nice blog post from Shady. This boy does have a good voice even though I am not one for Michael Jackson at all.

    1. Hi, dear Birgit!

      Thank you very much for coming over tonight, dear friend, and for wishing Belle a happy birthday. That's very nice of you and I know she will appreciate it.

      You are one of the few people I ever met who doesn't fancy Michael Jackson. Nevertheless I am happy to know that you appreciate the fine vocals of young Francesco Yates. I have a feeling we'll be hearing much more about him in the coming months and years.

      Thanks again for your kind visit, dear friend BB!

  16. Happy birthday to Bella.
    I think he has a great voice and the beat of his song especially with the Michael Jackson song really helps.
    Don't know where you find all these different singers.... terrific !

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Hi, dear Gayle & the hamish!

      Thank you for coming over to experience a sensational find - the young and multi-talented Francesco Yates. I found Francesco same place I found Sarah Collins and many other great artists - on YouTube - simple as that. I'm happy you agree that Francesco has a great voice and lots of potential to make it big in the music biz.

      Thank you for wishing my dear friend Belle a happy birthday. I hope you and thehamish enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend Gayle!

  17. Wow wow wow! Can i get a cute guy alert!!
    I just LOVE your ending paragraph about how he's not an impersonator, but really doing his own thing!
    I look around and see many younger people doing the same these days. There has always been the impersonators, but so many are opening up their minds to every single era and embracing what they love about them. Through the love of music and passion of an art, how can we not study and time travel back through studies to learn about different aspects of previous days?
    I really like what this guy is doing. He may never be as famous as, say, Taylor Swift or Beyonce or some of the other MEGA music stars in this world, but he is famous with people like you and me, Shady. Not just because we might happen to hear his music on the radio every hour (because we dont hehe) but because of who he is.
    Awesome stuff, Shady!

    1. Hi, dear Abigail!

      Thank you so much for getting up early to visit, read, listen and comment on this special post featuring Francesco Yates. Will Francesco become a household name someday like Beyonce, Taylor, Katy or Justin? It remains to be seen. I'm glad you agree that he has star potential and admire him for being an individual and having an abundance of artistic integrity. Francesco isn't a flash in the pan. He is a serious minded singer and musician who works hard at his craft. I admire that about him and I'm glad you do, too.

      Thank you again for spending some time in the Shady this morning and for this awesome comment, dear friend Abigail. Hold onto your hat, because I have a special announcement coming up this Friday, one that I'm sure will be of interest to you. :)

      God bless!

  18. Just letting you know I was here today

    1. Hi, dear Jo-Anne!

      How nice of you to stop by! I hope you enjoyed a tune or two and that you will come again soon. Enjoy your day in Australia, dear friend!

  19. First, Happy Birthday to Belle!

    Second, I am very impressed with Francesco Yates. He has a terrific voice! I couldn't help but think of how young he looks. Does this mean I'm getting old?

    I will also add that the Orabrush advertisement on the first video was quite entertaining. I actually spent the full three minutes watching it.

    Have a wonderful week!

    1. Hi, dear Sherry!

      How are you, sweet friend? Thank you for joining me as I wish my friend Belle a happy birthday and introduce rising Canadian star Francesco Yates. I'm happy to know you are impressed with Francesco's voice. Yessum, he looks even younger than his actual age, but no, that doesn't mean you are getting old. SHADY is getting old - 67 a few months from now! :)

      Those embedded advertisements on YouTube are sometimes annoying but, just as often, they are entertaining. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, commercials and all! :)

      Thank you again for making time for SDMM today, dear friend Sherry. I have a special post coming up this Friday and I hope you can check it out. Until then have a great week!

  20. Singer, songwriter, guitarist, pianist...he is talented, isn't he?

    1. Yessum - meanwhile, I'm still learning how to wave bye-bye! :)

      Thanks for the return visit, dear friend Sandra!


  21. Spot on the comparisons on vocals with Michael and Prince, very tasteful cover of Marvin.

    1. Hi, Mike!

      Thanks for coming, good buddy! It pleases me to know that your ears detect the similarities to Michael and Prince in Francesco's vocals and that you enjoyed his Marvin cover.

      Thanks again for your visit and comment, Mike!


You talkin' to me?