DozenQ – Franka de Mille

This entry is part 18 of 20 in the series DozenQ 2

Franka De Mille is a London singer, songwriter. Her debut album ‘Bridge The Roads’ has already received critical acclaim and extensive airplay all over the world. Emotionally raw, truly original and with sophisticated arrangements Franka De Mille’s music has an elegant blend of Americana, Chamber music and Alternative folk.

01 How did you get started in music?

I have written songs since I was a kid. Music was a means of escape and a way to be heard at home. I sang all the time and melodies and themes always came naturally to me. My parents were both ardent music lovers, especially my father who had a vast and eclectic record collection, ranging from classical music to rock, pop and world music (in particular South American and Irish music. I was surrounded by music and was sent to singing lessons, choir practice and the obligatory recorder lessons. My appreciation of classical music also came from many years of ballet lessons and then jazz dance lessons made me understand jazz music a little deeper. When you dance you are in symbiosis with the music and you listen very closely. It really develops your ear.

A beautiful animation that was made about me retraces some of my musical steps. It was made in support of the BPI’s (British Phonographic Industry’s) campaign against music piracy ‘Why music matters’. Here is the link on youtube

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02 Where did your direction come from?

I always liked artists with substance, those with something to say, emotionally or politically; honest music that comes from the heart. I also tend to get inspired by melodic music with lush, elegant, varied arrangements with as many instruments as possible. I like to be challenged and provoked more than entertained.

03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

I have such broad musical influences from Elvis to Mariachi music, classical music to The Clash, world music to jazz. The artists that I would single out as inspirations, rather than influences, are Patti Smith, Rickie Lee Jones, Joe Jackson, Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, Tori Amos, Tom Waits, Pink Floyd, Supertramp
(I don’t care if it’s not cool;-), Tom Petty, Bach, Chopin, Mozart, Vivaldi, Pergolesi, Prokofiev (and many classical composers), Rene Aubry, J.J Cale, Led Zeppelin and so many more… the list is huge.

I don’t really despise any artists as such and agree with a friend of mine who has a saying: “Hate ain’t great, so if it is all you’ve got, shut the f*** up!” Any music that promotes hatred against anyone because of their gender, race or sexuality goes against all that I stand for.

04 What inspires you to make your current type of songs and sound?

Sorrow. Regrets. Remorse. People. The need for redemption or to find inner peace. I am bound by an artistic temperament; music is my favourite form of expression and the most accurate, if I don’t create, I get a bit unbalanced and sometimes gloomy.

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

I have a 6 piece band so, firstly a very big sound. The personal narrative in my songs makes my performances more conspirational. I draw the audience into my darkness and drive them back into the light again. So you can expect a lot of intensity and a highly emotional ride. I like to have a poignant complicity with
the audience.

06 How do you begin your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

There is rarely a conscious thought of ‘I’m going to write a song’, each one comes in a moment of inspiration, a stream of consciousness and even if that moment only generates the germ of a song, it is enough for me to build on. It usually starts with the music and arrangements which I chew on, sometimes for many months, until the theme and lyrics pour in. In essence they are the actualization of what lays in my subconscious; issues that need to be addressed, events that have marked me, things that are knocking on the door and need to be let out.

07 How did your music evolved since you first began playing?

There is a natural progression with the improvement of songwriting and arranging skills. “Bridge The Roads” took 2 years in the making and I hadn’t made music for many years before that. I threw myself in at the deep end. I’ve had to learn other skills too, like sound engineering, mixing, producing etc…I have learnt a lot! The next album will be even better. I understand more about the process and I am much more confident and relaxed about writing and producing.

08 What has been your biggest challenge? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

The most challenging part of making a record has been managing all the people involved, keeping everyone happy, making sure not to offend their sensibilities while trying to achieve my vision. I had to do a lot of soul searching and seek the counsel of wiser older friends.

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

I don’t usually play covers but did sneak Tom Petty’s ‘Won’t back down’, (one of my favourite songs), into my set at The Water Rats. It has great energy, great lyrics and is so enjoyable to sing! I also recorded a cover of an old Mexican song, in Spanish, La Martiniana which is on my Soundcloud page. Although I am not Spanish, Mexican or secret member of a Mariachi band, I wanted to do that song for a long time. I collaborated on it with guitarist Kevin Armstrong, who has worked with David Bowie, Morrissey, Iggy Pop and many others and Antonia Pagulatos on violin, who has worked with Lou Rhodes, Tom Jones, Damon Albarn to name a few.

I was a reluctant to do covers for a long time as I feel more comfortable singing my own material but I am warming to the idea. It’s quite fun. I am looking into doing more covers in the future.

10 Where did you envisage being in five years time?

I can’t see that far ahead but, in an ideal world, I’d be on a beach somewhere or composing music on a terrace looking out to sea, working on another album. My schedules are based around single and album releases. My musical future is changing all the time so… who knows?

11 Who would you most like to record with?

Dave Gilmour.

12 What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

A second album.

Web Links:

Originally posted 2013-04-18 18:26:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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