THERE are not many artists out there…
who have the same ingredients and sounds as Cimo Fränkel. He discusses his latest track, I’m Alright, and where it might lead; what it is like being based in Amsterdam; if he has any other material in the locker; what his musical tastes and influences are – and why a rendition of a Michael Jackson classic got some rather ‘moody’ stares from Quincy Jones!
Fränkel talks about future gigs and what he does away from music; some artists we should all check out; what message he would give to his loyal fans – providing some advice for like-minded songwriters emerging.
Hi, Cimo. How are you? How has your week been?
Pretty good. I am out in L.A. for writing sessions - and it is going good so far.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I am a singer, songwriter and producer from Amsterdam. I have done a lot of work for other acts such as Cheat Codes, James Arthur; Armin van Buuren and more. Now, I am self-releasing my own material that is closer to me as an artist.
This is my third official solo release - and I am stoked to see the reactions to it.
I’m Alright is your new cut. What is the story behind the song?
Me and my co-writer, Rik, were not thinking of writing a song that day but ended up finishing most of this song that night. For some reason, this song just happened to us and it felt good.
It’s about the simple question in a relationship. Do you care enough for somebody to sense when something is wrong? Do you care enough to act on that feeling? Perhaps (you can), by letting them know you’re thinking of them. Sometimes, you need that late-night confirmation.
Overall, I guess I felt a bit Drake-y.
It is summer-ready and vibrant! Did you write it with one mind on festivals and summer crowds?
I actually did not. I did not consider this a summer track until other people started telling me it is. Now I am in L.A. - where it is sunny - and I’m like: ‘okay, I get it’. It’s funny how perspective can change. The song felt somewhat dark and moody to us when we wrote and produced it.
Will there be more material coming? What are you working on?
I am working on a lot of songs and a lot are finished (or at least ninety-five-percent). The 1980s-feel this track has will definitely be heard in some of the upcoming songs. Yet, some might add that they have a 1990s' feel as well.
There’s moodier material and there’s Pop-ier material.
Did you grow up around music? Who were the artists you admired when you were young?
My father used to be in a band and would always take me to rehearsals and such. So, yes; I grew up around music. Early in my life, I got introduced to music from artists such as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder; Prince and so on…
My brother and I fell in love with Michael Jackson - and that is something that never changed. You can hear very well in my music that I am a Michael Jackson fan - while I am definitely not trying to mimic him. Later, I also got inspired by a lot of different 1980s and 1990s Popstars.
You are based in Amsterdam. Is there a diverse music scene there?
I guess there is, yes. There are loads of bands including (bands) that have international reach. Then there’s all the Dutch D.J.s, Dutch Hip-Hop and R&B (and way more). So, I guess you can call the music scene diverse…
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
I promised myself that, if I am doing a tour, it would be super-duper dope! I do not want to disappoint my audience. I had the pleasure to spend a lot of time on stage with Armin van Buuren for a year - and I wanna take what I have learned and create something great for myself and my audience (to enjoy). Before that time, I will do promo performances for my singles here and there.
Do you spend much time in the U.K.? Will you perform over here?
I used to go to London a lot and I miss it - so I decided to go back A.S.A.P. Hopefully, I’ll do performances. But there is nothing scheduled yet.
What do you hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?
Ideally, I would want to have people waiting for my new song to drop. That would be the best feeling ever. To know that there are people that appreciate your music so much they can’t wait to hear the next…
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
It is hard to think of an absolute favourite memory…
I do know that I ended up at a party in L.A. once, celebrities everywhere (Childish Gambino, Jay-Z; Russel Simmons and Wesley Snipes) and people were performing. At some point, I was too - don’t ask me how it happened but it did. While I am singing Off the Wall by the legend Michael Jackson; I look up and see Quincy Jones looking right at me with a pretty unbothered expression.
I dropped an octave….
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Don’t let anybody tell you anything unless you believe someone should tell you something. In other words; if you NEED advice, take it. If you strongly feel something should be a certain way, don’t let anybody take that away from you.
IN THIS PHOTO: Gia Koka/PHOTO CREDIT: Daniel J. Ashes
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
The best way to unwind for me is to go on a vacation; or watch a couple of movies with my life partner. It can take a few days, sometimes, to fully recover from making music.
You have a lot of loyal fans out there. What message would you give to them?
Dear loyal fans: I love you and your support means, literally, the world to me. You are my future...
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Mk.Gee - I Know How You Get
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