Is it the intro to her single – a little AOR inspired – until her voice and the beats kick in?
Is it the dry simple piano line? The slightly auto-tuned vocals?
The cool 70s inspired “Oh, beep-beep, Oh beep-beep” bridge in the middle of the song?
The percussion, and the hand claps, and the dry synthetic sax stabs?
The mix of 70s-80s and 90s disco-club squeezed into 3 minutes?
Is it the story of her past as a dancer behind the likes of Destiny’s Child, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus and more. Or maybe her career with former Guns´n´Roses drummer Matt Sorum in Darling Stilettos, a band that looked and sounded like a cross between Pussycat Dolls, The Runaways and 80s Prince protoges Vanity 6 and Appolonia 6 with the motto of Spice Girls; GIRL POWER!
Even if Frances Manzo (her real name) is still young she has had a long career. She has not only been a dancer behind some of the worlds biggest stars, but she has also been doing choreography, commercials, movies, music videos – the most famous being a dancer in Britney Spears “Womanizer” video, been an on stage performer, dance teacher, and being in television productions. Franky is also a music co-writer- and co-producer of Maudlyn Strangers self titled upcoming debut album!
She looks like a rock chick, but also has this late 80s-90s style. And since she is a fan of – and has worked with great rock musicians – there’s no doubt she has her own style!
The MJ in the song “MJs Coursing” is, as you have probably guessed already, the late great Michael Jackson.
Franky Manzo, or if you prefer her real name Frances Manzo, said on her Reverbnation page “This song encompasses everything I wanted in my first song because of my love for Michael Jackson and the era of disco I heard as a child from my mom.”
After reading this quote I had to hear more about the story behind “MJ´s Coursing” and sent Frances Manzo a few questions to her Facebook profile – and she shortly after, she sent me her answers! – here it goes;
5 QUESTIONS: a Q&A with Franky Manzo
You say on your reverbnation profile that “This song encompasses everything I wanted in my first song because of my love for Michael Jackson and the era of disco I heard as a child from my mom.”
Q: Are you inspired by any special MJ songs on the song? Or any special discotunes your mothers liked?
A: Difficult question! It’s hard to choose which MJ songs inspired me, but I can try narrow it down to “They Don’t Care About Us”, “Rock With You”, “Billie Jean”, and “Remember the Time”. As far as disco songs, my mom definitely had “Heart of Glass”, “Harlem Shuffle”, and “Bad Girls” on her favorite cassette tape…which she played all the time! I credit my mom with my rhythmic ability because when I was about 2, she and I used to dance to those songs every morning. So I think those songs will always stick with me, and you can hear their influence in my single.
Q: Is there any plans for a full album – how do think it will sound?
A: Absolutely! I think much of the album will be disco inspired, but I don’t necessarily want to limit myself to just one genre. I am truly inspired by what Blondie did…she was a total punk rocker turned disco diva, and back again! I expect that the album will throw a curveball in there somewhere!
Q: I feel the video to “MJs Coursing” is a bit inspired by Kylie Minogue and especially her “Confide In Me” vid? Am I right?
A: Yes, I love Kylie! I got to meet her about 10 years ago at a show, and she’s an absolute delight! I actually hadn’t seen the “Confide in Me”* video, but I can see the similarity!! The original concept that I had for my video was quite grandiose, but alas, being on an indie artist budget isn’t exactly conducive to being grandiose. So, we came up with an alternative, the video that’s out now, and it came out great!!! I’m so happy with it.
(*Note: I see i refered to the wrong Kylie song and video here – my fault…but it seems like Franky Manzo understood what I meant)
Q: I see you have been dancing onstage behind several big names, like Britney Spears, Destiny’s Child and Miley Cyrus to mention a few. Are you supposed to be working with any big named and well-known producers or writers on your album?
A: I had the opportunity to work with big name producers when I was in Darling Stilettos, and I’ve found that the most important thing is that I trust who I’m working with, especially because I’m barely getting my feet wet as a solo artist. My producer, Michael Binikos, is someone that I trust. He’s worked with Leann Rimes, Brie Larson, and the like. I’m very lucky to have him working on my album.
As far as writers go, I’m not opposed to letting someone write for me in the future, but right now, I have so much I want to convey as an artist. I think that it’s important for me to write my own material. I really want to show the world what I’m capable of…and it’s only the beginning for me.
Q: What other artist are you inspired by?
A: Blondie, Kylie Minogue, and Michael Jackson are some of my favorites. Aside from those artists, I’m totally inspired by Robert Plant! I LOVE Led Zeppelin. I really appreciate his lyrics. Sophie Ellis-Bextor is another artist I love. Her songs are so catchy and they just make you feel good. Gwen Stefani is one of my absolute favorites. I used to wear dickies and cropped wife beaters just like her…still do! Scott Weiland…I know it’s a bit of a stray, but I can’t help but love the grunge era. He’s a dynamic performer with amazing songwriting skills.
It may be hard to tell that I’m inspired by these artists based on my single, but I love writing for other bands…and that’s where you can see a lot of these influences. I co-wrote and co-produced many of the songs on Maudlin Strangers’ upcoming debut album. “Suffer, Kate” and “Long Way Down” were definitely Zeppelin and Stone Temple Pilots inspired!
Franky Manzo ends my Q&A like this Haha, I tend to be wordy sometimes. I really appreciate this!!! Thank you so much!!!”
If someone is going be thankful here it´s gotta be me – for giving me so good answers on my questions. Wordy is no problem as long as the answers good or what?
I must say I love to see her cool genre mix. With Michael Jackson and Kylie Minogue on one side, and her love for Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin and Stone Temple Pilots Scott Weiland on the other. A good lover of music – sees no bonderies and limits, only opportunities! Thank you again Franky Manzo for your great answers!
The single “MJs Coursing” is one piece of perfect radio friendly pop!
I would love to see some great remixes of the track; How about a great classic Masters At Work remix, like they did in the last part of the 90s with loads of live-instruments, like a fat bass line – some guitar and lots of great percussion? Kenny Dope and Little Louie Vega – open your ears!
But as the song “MJs Coursing” is now – it´s a nice piece of great radio disco-pop – And it gets better and better with each listening!
Look forward to follow the adventurous future of Franky Manzo!