Tom Francis has come a long way since his days of chopping firewood in Hawke's Bay.

In just a few short years he has managed to make a name for himself in the music industry and collaborate with some of hip hop's finest.

His latest - with none other than the doggfather, Snoop Dogg.

Yet their single, Lifestyle, which dropped on Friday almost didn't happen.


Francis was introduced to Snoop Dogg by Los Angeles producer KJ Conteh. But with five days in LA at that time, the phone call to meet Snoop came just as he was about to "switch the flight mode button" aboard his plane at LAX.

The next few hours were a surreal transpacific scramble. Francis arrived in Hawke's Bay and immediately split and sold "a few" cords of firewood to fund a plane ticket back to LA.

At 11pm that same night, he was back on the plane heading to an opportunity not to be missed.

The session at Snoop's home was "super quick," Francis says.

"We bounced a whole lot of ideas round ... It didn't take that long but I also got to hear Snoop's new album.

"He's a super humble, super cool dude in real life, definitely one of the most inspiring guys I've ever met and worked with."

The single has made Francis the first independent artist in the Southern Hemisphere to release a collaboration with the "Gin and Juice" rapper.

The achievement is not lost on the 24-year-old, of Ngāti Kahungungu descent.


Despite a deep desire to make music as a child, the reality of making it was slim.

"I don't want to say I doubted myself, but people would say 'is that realistic?'"

Regardless, he and a friend bought all the equipment they could.

"We had no idea but we just started and kept learning more and more."

However, it was when Francis was up front at Rhythm & Vines watching Wiz Khalifa, when things were set into motion.

"I was getting crushed up against the crowd and I was like 'What am I doing here? I should be on that stage'."

While Francis remains tight-lipped on his future endeavours, he revealed a new song will be released on the first of every month, including a single with American rapper, Daz Dillinger.