THE multi-talented Franko Fraize….
has been discussing his upcoming (out on 12th October) E.P., Lights and Colour, and what sort of themes inspired the work. I ask how it feels knowing his music has hit the minds of the public and some big names; which artists he is compelled by – he recommends some rising acts to watch.
Franko Fraize tells me about his tour plans and the albums that are most important to him; how his work has evolved since the start; what advice he would give to artists coming through – he ends the interview by selecting a great track.
Hi, Franko. How are you? How has your week been?
Good as gold. This week’s been the same as most weeks: proper hectic. No complaints, though. If you ain’t busy you ain’t working hard enough
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Franko Fraize. I’m a rapper from Thetford town. I write raps about the life I see - so it’s all got that socially-conscious-type aspect to it.
Lights and Colour is your upcoming E.P. What sort of personal themes and stories inspired the music?
I wanted to put together a body of work that stands the test of time. It’s five-tracks-deep and touches on life aspects such as believing in yourself, relationships; persevering, working hard etc. Musically, it touches on Rap through to Drum ‘n’ Bass. Basically, if you’re a fan of U.K. music you should find something in it.
1Xtra’s DJ Mistajam has backed your music! What is it like having someone like him in your corner?!
That made my day! Things like that are obviously a really good thing for my career but it’s also nice to know you get the backing of people in these positions. It’s nice to know they have heard me and sort of certify what I’m doing. The same with when Wiley tweeted about me. To hear one of your idols give a seal of approval is a big thing.
It seems your music has hit a chord and got into the heart of the public. Looking back at this year so far; did you think it would resonate as hard and instantly?!
To be honest, I made music to resonate and hit home with my hometown - with the people that live the life I live. When it got the praise and respect from them I was over the moon. To then get the ears, attention and praise and respect from the industry it really was the icing on the cake for me.
How do you think you have evolved and grown as an artist since the very start?
Yes, definitely, but I’d say the core thing of what I’m doing has stayed exactly the same. I grew up being attracted to Rap that had a meaning and that was relatable to me. I always like music that meant something. I’ve always tried to keep this at the core of what I do. Musically, I’ve always tried to rap over anything I enjoy the sound of, so I’ve never really stuck to just one genre. I’d definitely say Rap is the key thing running through it all though.
You are a Norfolk native. Is there an active music scene there? Are there some great artists coming from there?
Yes. There’s definitely a decent scene round here. Drum ‘n’ Bass has always been massive. As for Rap; we have Brotherhood up the road in Ipswich who are massive in the Grime scene. An artist called TLEEVZ was banging it hard for Norwich back in the Channel U era. Mullaly is big in the Soul/Pop world and he’s from Norfolk.
Piers James is a massive Rap talent from Ipswich. As far as the future goes; Maya Law is a massive prospect from Norwich. Oh, and my mate Tone is doing big things too and he’s from my hometown of Thetford.
Who are the artists that inspire you and led you to get into songwriting?
Skinnyman, Macklemore; Wiley, The Streets; Nas and Mac Miller – all these people have influenced me in a way to write Rap music with relatable content. I’ve always followed the U.K. scene very closely and felt all U.K. genres influenced me in terms of the culture. Seeing Drum ‘n’ Bass, Dubstep; Grime, U.K. Rap; they have all been a reflection of what was going on culturally at the time.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I hope the E.P. is well-received. My Spotify numbers continue to grow and I see more and more people coming out live to see me rap. The live element is a big one for me. I love performing live so I’m hoping to continue selling more and more tickets and increasing the venue sizes I play.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Meeting Mike Skinner…
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Skinnyman – Council Estate of Mind
This was the blueprint for me.
Dizzee Rascal – Boy in da Corner
This was the first time I heard Rap sounding 100% English
Nas – Illmatic
As an album, it’s nothing short of a masterpiece.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I’d probably say Macklemore and the rider would be Malbec and gin and tonic.
Can we see you on tour soon? What dates are coming up?
Yes. Got a few dates ahead of me as it goes. Going out supporting Skinnyman, too, which I’m proper-proud of. The shows we have done so far have been mad.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Don’t expect anything: take everything as a blessing. Show love and appreciation to everyone who shows love. Do you. Make music that’s true to you and don’t let anyone sway your direction. Love what you do and only do it if it makes you happy.
IN THIS PHOTO: Octavian
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Yeah, plenty. Music, to me, doesn’t really have a certain space or time. It’s a constant thing. Aside from it, I’m enjoying life; got a pukka family. I’m out there trying to make a pound note like most people are.
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).
Mac Miller – 2009
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