He was young, he was once called “the new Bob Dylan”, he released one self titled album.
The album has since then become a much sought after collectors item.
He has became a cult hero – and is probably one of the best singer-songwriters you have never heard*.
The year was 1972.
His name is Bob Frank…
But he didn´t dissapear, he was always there, writing songs, playing music. And he started recording again almost 30 years after his cult album “Bob Frank” was released and has since then recorded 7 albums all in all.
This Q&A interview with Bob Frank is mostly about his debut “Bob Frank”, a bit about how his life has been, and how remarkably little the record industry has changed since 1972
-Back in 1972, you´d released you self titled debut album. How was the process to record this album? The album was put together by Cletus Haegert and Gary Walker. They picked the songs and they produced it. I just sat in the studio and drank wine and smoked weed and sang the songs, over and over again, until they were happy with it. Then they got some great musicians to add the finishing touches, Charlie McCoy on harmonica, Buddy Spicher on fiddle, Eric Weissberg on guitar, and Russell George on bass. So the overall sound of the album was achieved by Clete and Gary.
-It seem like you have a narrative going trough the album, would you call it a concept album? If´s so could you tell more about the concept? Well, at the time, it was not any specific concept, other than a bunch of story songs, little vignettes. Like I say, Gary and Clete picked the songs. If there was any concept there, it was theirs.
-You were called “the new dylan” back in the days – was this something that caused a lot of pressure for you and your career? Not really. I was never anything like Dylan actually, other than, we both wrote songs and played the guitar and sang. I don’t think we were very similar in the way we did this.
-It seemed like your career took a quick stop after your debut, and your album has been a much sought after collectors item. What happened?
One thing that happened was, at the release party at Max’s Kansas City in New York, I refused to play any of the songs on the album. I did this because Maynard Solomon at Vanguard had promised me that he would not release the album unless I was totally satisfied with it, but in fact, there were a couple of things I wanted him to do that he never did, so I figured “two can play at this game.” So to “get even” with him, I figured I wouldn’t play the songs from the album at that gig. It was a dumb thing to do. As Jim Dickinson said, “Not a good career move.” Basically, it ended my “career” before it ever got started. Vanguard didn’t ship any more of the albums, other than the ones they’d already shipped. So it was only in a few places that people heard it. Mostly in North Carolina and KFAT, a radio station in Gilroy, California. Also, some places down south, in Arkansas and Texas.
-I read somewhere that you were dubbed something like «the greats singer-songwriter you´ve never heard of» (was it Rolling Stone magazine?) how is it to get a title like this? Jim Dickinson gave me that title. It was one of his unique sayings. He had a lot of ’em. I thought it was perfect, fit me like a glove, so I put it on my website. My “music career” is mostly a joke anyway, so it is very appropriate to have a joke for a motto.
-Close to 30 years after your debut, you did a comeback in 2001 with «A Little Gest of Robin Hood» what made you come back, and start recording again? I was retiring from my regular job doing irrigation work for the City of Oakland, and my intention was to get that “music career” going again…. I always considered myself a professional songwriter, even though I never made any money at it. -You have recorded and released 7 albums, , since your comeback, do you feel your fans buy your records after they discovered you in 00´s or is there old fans, who followed you from the start, who still follows you and your career? Both. Although, not very many of either.
-There was 30 years between your debut and your second album – and much has happened in the music industry since then. Do you feel its easier to write and record music in the 00´s or was it easier back in the 70s
It’s easier now. Now, everybody makes an album, a CD. You can do it at home, in the living room. You can put it on CDBaby and Youtube, promote it yourself through the internet, and make some sort of living at it, seems like. Before, you had to have a big record label pick you up and produce you and promote you. There wasn’t much room for you then. They only took a few artists to do that with. The rest of them had to get a day job.
-What were you doing in the years between ’72-01? Were you still writing music, thinking about writing music? I’ve always been writing songs. It’s a habit I started early in life and have never been able to shake. Not that I ever wanted to…. Anyway, yes, I’ve always been doing that. I write songs in my sleep. “Judas Iscariot” was written in my sleep. In a dream.
-It’s often said that musicians have music in their blood, meaning they have to share their stories. Are your feeling it the same way? I’m not really a “musician.” I write songs and play the guitar. I never could play it the way most songwriters and folk singers do it, with that Cotton picking, or Travis picking. Never could do that. So I developed my own way to do it. Sounds more like I’m playing a harp than a guitar. But I’m very happy with it now. Mainly, I leave out a lot of notes and just play the ones that convey an emotion. I write songs with people in mind. One individual person per song, usually. I write ’em like I’m singing it to one person, make it something I know they would like to hear. But of course, I want everybody else to hear them too, and like them. That’s all a part of it. But I never do anything to actually get anybody else to hear them. Somebody else has to line up gigs for me. I was never any good at doing that. I go to a few folk festivals, in Arizona mostly, where the people like to hear my songs, and other than that, “I just stay home, laying in a chair, that’s about as far as they’ll get, right there.”
-Do you feel it´s easier to reach out to the music lovers out there these days than it was back in the 70s? Has your fans changed? I think it’s pretty easy to reach music lovers these days, what with the internet and all. People you never heard of contact you via email (like you did) and boom! there’s a connection. Never had that back in the old days. My “fans” (all 6 of them) are probly the same sort of people I attracted back in the 70’s. People who see the sacred in the profane. Mystical misfits. Rednecks and dope fiends. Soldiers and anarchists. Your normal human beings. “The usual suspects.”
-What do you think is the future of music, will we go back to the physical formats like we see these days, where we see vinyl is the hotted medium these days. Will the CD die? I have no idea. I was never interested in subjects like that. I just like to write songs.
-If you listen to music digitally – like streams, what are your favorite source to finding new music/inspiration?
I never listen to music, unless a friend sends me a recording of a new song he or she wrote. Actually, I don’t care anything about music. I’d rather listen to a sports talk show.
-And the last question, is as always in these Q&A interviews; What are your musical inspiration? And what are your all-time favorite albums? My musical inspiration came from rock songs in the ’50s. Groups like the Drifters, or Richie Valens, Buddy Holly, etc. And also from old cowboy songs. Like all kids who grew up in the 50’s, I listened to Gene Autry. Dickinson said, “If it weren’t for Gene Autry, there never would have been Elvis.” So I also listened to Elvis, too, but mainly his ballads. The songs I liked best were the pretty songs, not the fast ones, not the blues, but songs like “Teen Angel” or the Everly Brothers. Another big influence on me was Jimmie Driftwood. Look him up. His “career” was a lot like mine. Had an album out when he was young, then nothing for thirty years. Then, “The Battle of New Orleans.” Also, Jimmie Rodgers, the “yodeling brakeman” from Mississippi. Also, the Irish singers, the Clancy Brothers. For awhile there, in the early ’60’s, they were my favorite group. After that, it was just old folk songs, cowboy songs, and so on. One of my strongest influences was Jim Dickinson. I don’t have any all time favorite albums. I like a lot of them, but like I say, I don’t listen to any of them any more.
Maybe I just got my heart broken by music, so I don’t trust it any more. It’s not a true source of happiness. When you die, it won’t help you at all.
Sometimes a discribtion of ones genre fits like a hand in a glove. When I asked Dana Williams to describe her music to some one the first time the answered with just four words “etheral folk pop blues” hence the title on this interview & Question & Answer session with Dana Williams.
When you hear “Keep Me Waiting”, the debut single from Dana Williams, you hear a folk inspired voice classic soul inspired – voice, with hints of Duffy (remember her?), a thick layer of strings, piano, acustic guitars and trip hop inspired drums. All sounding like live instruments. Her vocal inspiration comes from Ella Fitzgerald, since falling inn love with her sound when she was young; “I really admire her skill and sound and so that really encouraged me to work on my vocal capabilities”
I even think I hear a little Corrine Bailey Rae in her voice and a bit Lion Babe´s vocalist Jillian Hervey & musician Lucas Goodman inspiration in her voice and sound, and when asking if she had heard and if there was any link between her and the duo she said “I have known Jillian of Lion Babe for a little while, she is a lovely person. I love their music but I wouldn’t say our vibes are similar. I guess you could say our vibes are similar, in that, they are new.” If you haven´t heard Lion Babe check out the blogpost about them here. Highly recommended if you like Dana Williams!
The sound of “Keep Me Waiting” is down earthy folk soul, and if this – or her future release will be released on vinyl I know I have to get it. Dana Williams is a young artists – and this shines through when I asked her about her prefered listening format; “The way we listen to music has changed so much as of recently and now that the internet has made everything so much more accessible, while I love listening to Vinyl on my record player, it is too easy to stream stuff online 😦 It’s all about immediate gratification”
On the other hand she´s a big fan of the really old legends of soul – because when I asked her who musician she would prefer working with – any living or dead – her answer was quite surprising “I think it would be cool to play with Sam Cooke. I think singing a duet with him would be awesome and satisfying, I love singing harmonies and his style is amazing”.
…And if i should conclude this Q&A session I guess the answer to Dana Williams classic folk-pop-soul sound, is the combination of her inspirations – the way and music format she prefers to listen to her influences, and then making up her own mix of music that sounds both old and new at the same time.
There will be more music from Dana Williams, she has a plan for her future “I plan on releasing an EP within the next couple of months. It will sound similar to the single I released “Keep Me Waiting”. “It was written by me and produced by Maxwell Drummey (Lauryn Hill) of Chester French and Dan Stringer so the sound is pretty consistent”.
“I am inspired by all sorts of musical genres and styles”.
Let´s cut to the chase at once; Helena Jesele and her debut album “Sweet Sticky Fix” is a great new discovery – and I´ll think you´ll be hearing a lot from her this year.
Think the Lana Del Rey sound stripped down a few layers and added sharper trip hop beats – in a 60s/early 70s spy movie with a bossa nova soundtrack produced by David Axelrod.
Helena Jesele explains who she is perfect on her twitter profile; Manchester born, Dublin raised singer and song-writer. Six foot-tall, full of Irish spirit, Loves New York soul (end quote). Probably the best and most on-point self description I´ve seen in a while
As you can understand, Helena Jesele has it all;
The 60s chick – or dare I say chic – look! Huge deer-like blue eyes, black make-up, the pouting mouth, smoking a cigarette, the 60s haircut and black, classic-cut dress.
La-la background vocals, female and sometimes male. funky/jazzy drumming, a great horn section, heavy on strings. Guitar with a lot of soundtrack influence.
The album sleeve:
A simple – black and white photo of Helena Jesele walking barefooted with her shoes in her hand while glimpsing at the camera with a pouting mouth. Her name is written in a Dymo-label maker style font on a black label – and the albums title in the same, but on a red label. You have probably seen a lot of those look-a-like pictures on Instagram where there is used the black-and-white filter – and the label app Labelbox to create a similar look. Great and highly recognizable! You and I could make a album cover like this any day on our smart phones! Simple and effective. I like it a lot.
This whole package is:
Funky, soulful and sexy smooth. Perfect music and songs when we say goodbye to the winter and welcomes the fall and upcoming summer. I can gladly see myself on the frontporch with a funky 70s cup full of black coffee while the birds sing and I watch the trees bloom.
This was about it, while writing this my cup of tea has gotten cold – and need to be heated up again.
I push play once more and let myself dream away to the sound of Helena Jesele, who could become one of the biggest female soulful singer-songwriter names this year.
2011/2012 was the year James Morrison got his big breakthrough – and he is now having a well-earned break. Therefore it´s time to look and listen to a brand new talent!
His name is Allen Stone, and this is going the year he and his music reaches out to the big masses. Allen Stone is one of these white american soul singers – that stick to the classic formula with great success. Through his sound and voice I feel I can draw a line from classic artists like Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and to “new” white soul men like Jay K from Jamiroquai, Jamie Lidell, Robin Ticke and James Morrison.
Allen Stone is a 25-year-old soul singer/song-writer from Washington, US. According to his Wikipedia profile – he has sung almost since he was born, and sung in church at the age of three. Church has been like his second home – and the place he developed his love for music. Soul music was discovered later on, when he became a teenager, and started collecting soul albums from the 60s and 70s. At 15 he discovered Stevie Wonders fantastic “Innervisions”. A classic soul album and a reference to his musical landscape.
But he decided to make music his living – after hearing his teenage friend, artists Stacie Orrico – and this is so good that I quote as is the Wikipedia article “She was traveling, singing everywhere, and recording,” Stone says, “She was just a year older than me and I was like, “Man that would be so much fun to do, sing and actually have people listen” (This quote is taken from an Erica Thompson interview with Allen Stone in Rolling Stone magazine October 2012)
It´s tempting to do another quote, from the Rolling Stone article (link here) about what Allen Stones fans can expect from his second album “Allen Stone”; “Sonically, it’s a soul record” and continues “But it’s the music that I really love making. It’s not my attempt to cover all this soul music, it’s just really to fit in there and play the music that I love” and he ends it like this “People will listen to it and be like; Oh, this is a soul record”.
According to the Rolling Stone interview Allen Stone is working with Raphael Saadiqs backing band and one of the late jazz legend Miles Davis keyboard players. The album is being recorder with producer Lior Goldenberg from L.A who has also worked with big name artist like Macy Gray, Sheryl Crow, and son of late reggae legend Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley!It must be so cool to work with big names like that – and that is only on the second album.
It makes me wonder; Whats next for Allen Stone?
Back in 2009 he self-released his debut “Last To Speak” on his own label StickyStones records. His first album is a really soulful offering – containing 11 soulful singer/songwriter songs performed with mostly acoustic instruments and his fantastic voice – and he´s handling the guitar himself. I feel the album is representative with his self-confessed hippie with soul (link to Wikipedia) image and sound.
Allen Stones, new and second album – the self titled album “Allen Stone” – is ready for release at the end of february – and is already possible to pre-order in iTunes (which i off course have done). The original release of the album was back in 2011 – but it´s not available on iTunes until now in February. He has already released the “Allen Stone EP” – a mini-album containing 4 tracks.
Since the only thing I have heard from Allen Stones upcoming album is his “Allen Stone EP” – I can’t tell too much about how his second album is going to sound, but if the EP is representative for that – it seems like the upcoming album is a bit more produced this time, more groovy – more classic sounding – and without taking off the loose feeling of his debut album.
The title of his debut album and last song on the same album is called “Last To Speak”. It´s tempting to use this as the final sentence of this blog post about the talented Allen Stone and answer it with “Ok, so you may be the last to speak – but make sure you’re not this is the last you sing” Because this is only the start of the amazing career of Allen Stone.
We need artist like Allen Stone! I need artists like Allen Stone!
My first encounter with the music of singer-songwriter Jem Warren was through Twitter. I checked out his debut EP “Lifeblood To My Soul” and some clips through YouTube and checked out the Jem Warren homepage.
I loved what I heard, took some time to get into him and the EP – but when he hit me he hit hard. References that fell into my mind was R.E.M, Talk Talk´s Mark Hollis, Marillions Steve Hogarth and a bit of James Blunt.
I loved it so much that I decided to send him a request if he´d like to do a Q&A interview with me on my blog. I wrote a blog in my native language, Norwegian – before i started the Read And Hear music blog.
Jem Warren wanted to do this – and since I´ve read on his homepage, i knew that he was working on his debut album. Many of my questions is about the coming album.
The Jem Warren pre-“Heart Knows How” album release Q&A
Q: I saw on YouTube, you played harmonica and guitar on your version og Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice…” Do you play any other instruments?
A: I dabble in keyboards and bass guitar, particularly when I’m writing at home
Q: You also do covers of John Mayer and Jack Johnson, amongst others; Is this like artists you are influenced by? Which other artists would you say you are influenced by?
A: The Police, Tracy Chapman, Fleetwood Mac, Jose Gonzales, Tom Petty
Q: Your coming record vs the EP you’ve already have released; Is the album more of the same or is there any large changes on the album?
A: The new album is very different from the EP. I wrote all the songs for “Lifeblood To My Soul” relatively recent with a very specific sound in mind. The new album, “Heart Knows How” is much different. It’s basically an accumulation of songs I’ve written over many years with no particular vision or theme for an album. I wrote them on the fly and felt the time had come to get them out there. The result is an album that’s somehow more americana rock´n´roll (and maybe a little bit more country too).
Q: After hearing your EP my mind is full of names and references I would like to mention in my upcoming blog post. So if you should say something like “If you like Jem Warren; You should also check out…” the rest is up to you…
A: Sun Kil Moon, Jose Gonzalez
Q: If you’d like to tell; Your homepage mention both your father and mother made music, are you influenced by them? Have they released any albums? Anything I could/or should check out?
A: My parents were both very musical but didn’t really go for it in a formal sense. They were great influences on me since they provided a rich musical environment, but never put out albums themselves…
Q: And the last one; My blog is quite new, with just under 20 posts so far, but so many drafts and thoughts and ideas about what I’d like to write about. I write in Norwegian, but the blog has a translate option. I write about mainly new music, that I like myself and feel most people should listen to. I feel have a fine sense about what become or should become a hit or more people should listen to. …of all the blogs in the world why would like me to write about you!?
A: You seem pretty cool. Far be it from me to turn down anyone willing to write about my art. The honor is mine
The album that became his debut albums which he released march 2012 was named “Heart Knows How”. The Jem Warren debut was a large leap forward for the sound of Jem Warren i knew through the EP. He sounded more confident, he sings in a deeper tone, not so nasal as he was earlier. The band sounded groovy, more funky. They sounded like they had great fun while recording the album, you´ll also hear pop, americana – and wonderful timeless ballads. Jem is without doubt a singer-songwriter, he writes all his stuff himself, plays on all his songs. On the “Heart Knows How” I´ve heard references like The Black Sorrows, Hal Ketchum, The Waterboys´Mike Scott, Ryan Adams, John Mayer – but still no rip off – Jem Warren has his own voice, his own sound – and writes songs with a meaning.
A few months back I decided to hear if Jem Warren would like to do a follow-up Q&A and he liked the idea. Being a hard-working artist – who has spent most of the year on the road – it took some time before he´d answered the questions…but then he did…
The Jem Warren post-“Heart Knows How” album release Q&A
hey man. sorry it took so long. I appreciate the interest in my music and career, man.
Q: Since releasing your debut album “Heart Knows How” do you feel you life has changed?
A: i think when any artists creates and then puts out an album there’s an immediate sense of emotional release. I’m no different in that way. but like any artist you start thinking about the next album and what you want to express. career wise, the album’s had a great affect. I’ve picked up a lot of new fans. I’m set to release 2 videos from the album in february
Q; I see you play a lot live these days, tell me whats the best things about being on the road?
A: i think the best thing about being on the road and performing live is the people of course. the energy that you get from an audience (cooperative or hostile) is invaluable as a writer. seeing and feeling the reaction of people from all walks of life is both telling and inspiring.
Q: Earlier you covered John Mayer and Bob Dylan and such, are you doing any playing any new covers while touring these days?
A: i actually was doing “teenage dream” by Katy Perry which always went over well because it was unexpected and my band rock the shit out of it! “the weight” by the band has been a staple in the set lately.
Q: Last but not least, have you started thinking or planning a follow-up to your album? Where do you see your self next time? Any plans about how it will sound?
A: yes, I have a couple of ideas for albums. i would like to return to the sound of my first ‘lifeblood to my soul.’ i have a lot songs in the works. i also want put a collection of mostly acoustic songs that i record and produce in my apartment which will be pretty experimental since I’m not a producer. but I’m curious to see how people would react to it.
thanks so much man!!
I have lived with Jem Warrens great debut album for over a half-year – and have to say – Jem Warren is one of the best new singer-songwriter discoveries I´ve found in 2012.
“Heart Knows How” is a timeless album that will still live on years after we´d say goodbye to 2012.
It´s not often I stumble upon a female solo artist that sounds like – and write songs – that brings to mind gravel voiced artist like Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Nick Cave – and sirens like Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, PJ Harvey and Liz Phair. This sextet’s musical expression is recreated in the form of a woman of in er mid-twenties of Ethiopian origin but now residing in Finland.
The name Mirel Wagner sounds less Ethiopian and absolutely not like a name from Finland. It´s a name that seems to have a lot of dark history – and her stories is as dark as someone at least twice her age.
After name dropping Cash, Cohen, Cave, Sandoval, Harvey and Phair who is still reading – and wants to hear more about Mirel Wagner and her self titled debut album?
The Mirel Wagner record was recorded in just two days, mostly accompanied by a naked guitar. Minimalist picking the guitar. From bitter sounding melodies to more mantra-riff-o-rama – all performed solely on the guitar. Only accompanied by Mirel Wagners lonely yet strong and mellow voice
The voice and the songs need to be explained more closely; When Mirel sings, her voice is monotonous, coarse, rough, tired of life – it sounds as if each word must be forced out of her mouth. At the same time, there’s still something oddly beautiful – and she has a natural sensuality in her voice. The recording of her voice and instruments is so quiet and calm that every little strum the guitars neck can be heard. When the nails touches the guitar strings – and her fingers are being dragged up the guitar neck it makes this sliding sound. As if the guitar sighs.
You´ll hear Mirel Wagners voice deep in your ears, so close – you can almost feel the warmth of her breath. Hear the sound of her lips when she separate them and starts to sing – and you´ll even hear them touch each other again when she finishes the song. Even when Mirels tongue moves around her mouth to make this small clicking sound – and it hits the palate and her teeth in the oral cavity. Every small sigh of air she’s making as she prepare her self to sing the next line in her songs – and the sigh of relief that comes at the end of each sentence. I got a feeling that she may be laying down on either bed or on the naked concrete floor or sitting all alone in the dark while recording the album
So tight, close and without doubt very intimate.
Heres the album cover to Mirel Wagners self-titled debut album from 2011. You can hear it here;
From start to end the albums steals only 35 minutes of your lifetime. The themes of the album is pitch-dark and grim stories of death, deep grief, problems and nightmarish small short stories spread over the 9 tracks.
If i should sort her albums in my record collection I sure would put her album in one of these fictional music genres; doom soul, dark folk, goth blues, minimalist folk.
If Mirel Wagner was a color – i would describe her as the non-colors black and white. As her musical world, and the album art, the pictures, the font and the liner notes and lyrics; All in rough black and white!
Only the song “No Hands”, in all of its monotone performance and simple naive text, are envisioned a tiny hope of simple childlike joy …
been riding my bicycle all day long up and down the old dusty dirt road look mother no hands see the sun filter through the trees I am happy
…But the happines lasts only until the last open-for-interpretation and disturbing verse…
the wind and the speed can not see the danger look mother no hands …
Maybe Mirel Wagners “No Hands” is written in a parallel world with the late Syd Barret in mind? Or at least her song is a part two of the song he wrote for his band Pink Floyd – the naive child like same-themed song “Bike”
The lyrics, music, photos
Step into Mirel Wagner
Dark, sensual world!
There really is something about Franky Manzos debut single “MJs Coursing”
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?
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!
They both released their records within a couple of weeks. John Mayer releases his 5th studio album “Born & Raised” and Jem Warren released his debut album “Heart Knows How”
The cool thing is that both artist have a quite similar genre mix; Americana, folk – with a large dash of singer-songwriter. So there is some likeness there.
They both sounded like they have the time of their life in the studio.
Jem Warren has released as mentioned earlier – his first album – and this has become a really great record, full of fabulous writing and real songwriting – all songs and lyrics by Jem himself! This has to be one of this years strongest debut-album. Give the album time – and it´ll stick like glue. I´ll never tire of the album – even if I’m listening to it time after time – even several plays per day!
This album should be a real door opener for Jems future!
I really hope people open their eyes and give him a spin or two…Do you hear radio stations?
The last album om John Mayer is probably his best ever. The man seems to be a source of non-stop writing potential singles. Not one song of the album sound out of place! It´s really fabolous!
John has had a mighty trilogy with the album “Continuum” – made his most pop and AOR album in “Battle Studies”, and comes back with av bomb of a album with “Born & Raised”
Even is both Jem and John have their own voices and their own sound – these two albums can be played back-to-back without it feeling wierd or out of place! To really high quality albums you should check out!
Jem Warrens “Heart Knows How” vs John Mayer “Born & Raised”
Since both albums is really good in their own way – this battle ends with no losers, only two winners!