The Boston spinal surgery fellow with a knack for making viral cover song videos is back with a new collection: an EP for American Heart Month.
Dr. Elvis Francois, who has more than 281,000 followers on Instagram (@doctor.elvis.francois), paired “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” with other lovey-dovey tunes that promote heart health and wellness. Recorded with his longtime friend and pianist, Dr. William Robinson, the release features Phil Collins’s “You’ll Be In My Heart,” Roxette’s “Listen To Your Heart,” and more.
It debuts on streaming platforms on Feb. 1.
“It’s important to take care of yourself and your heart,” said Francois, who now works at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “Exercise more. Eat well. We hope this is a fun little way to remind people of those things.”
Francois captured public attention with his smooth, golden singing voice more than two years ago. Previously a resident at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, each of Francois’s Instagram posts now garners hundreds of thousands of views.
His videos at the start of the COVID-19 crisis (including John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Bill Withers’s “Lean on Me”) caught the eye of a recording company, Nashville-based Big Machine Label Group. The label helped produce Francois and Robinson’s first five-song EP — “Music Is Medicine” — in April. Proceeds from the release benefited the The Center of Disaster Philanthropy COVID-19 Response Fund.
Francois said the best part of “Music Is Medicine” was “seeing the music bring people together” in a time when the world was fragmented by social distancing and safety requirements.
“The response was remarkable,” he added. “During the global pandemic, when the world was in a pretty dark place, we found a way to share music, to share joy.”
This new American Heart Month collection is organized by Lipton. The British tea brand scheduled a recording session in New York for Francois and Robinson, who now work in separate cities. Lipton will also be donating to the American Heart Association to celebrate the launch of “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.”
The persisting pandemic has rattled Francois’s work life. He has been focusing solely on trauma patients for months, since all elective procedures have been canceled to lighten hospitals’ workloads. And he’s seen the virus take a toll on his colleagues — mentally and physically.
But the ability to make music, even if it is “behind the scenes,” reminds him there is hope in the world. Occasionally, Francois remembers the first time he played publicly with Robinson after a 28-hour shift in Minnesota.
Those memories are what keep him going, he said.
“It seemed like it was an incredible moment that moved people. ... It was a Eureka moment that I could find a way to share music — and medicine — with people. I pinch myself every day that I get to do that.”