24 Feb A conversation with Jae Franklin
Recently we were contacted by a wonderful singer American singer we have had the pleasure of working with in the past, who is based in Abu Dhabi. SOLE Agency were so excited to hear that Jae has been dedicating herself to get some new music out. We are very excited to be able to share with you her wonderful first single from her forthcoming album, Cheers to life. The first single is called ‘Weary’ and has been inspired by recent global and social issues, worldwide protests and demonstrations. Not only is this song performed by the wonderfully talented Abu Dhabi based Jae, it has also been written and produced by fellow Abu Dhabi-based singer/songwriter Kwame Busia. Jae’s new song “Weary” is essentially a song that represents hope in the midst of life’s twists and turns. This is a song for all ages, races, cultures and religions.
Read on to get to know Jae a little better and we hope you enjoy her new single as much as we do. Listen to ‘Weary’ on YouTube –
1. When, where and why did you start performing? I began performing in the UAE when I arrived in 2013. Before relocating to the UAE, I began performing as a solo artist in 2010. My love of music and my natural abilities combined with the rush I get when I connect with audiences are just three of the factors that led me to start performing. Honestly, I’ve been performing since grade school. My dedication to music and love of the arts was evident to my parents when I was in second grade attending Kolter Elementary in Houston, Texas. They nurtured my talents and believed in me. Their guidance gave me confidence to keep performing throughout high school at The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas and well into my college years at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. Performing is also like my therapy. No matter what’s going on in my life, I leave my worries behind when I’m on stage. I also love how it feels to look out into a crowd and see folks smiling back at me. To be able to connect with someone through music is very powerful.
2. Which instruments do you play? I always say that I play my voice because the voice is an instrument. Aside from my voice, I play the piano and I’m learning to play the guitar and harmonica this year.
3. What was the first song you learned? The first song I remember learning is a song called “Flowers Won’t Grow.” I remember practicing the song like crazy and finally performing the ballad for a recital at a music school. The melody is extremely easy. I’ll have to sing it for you one day.
4. Which famous musicians do you admire? Why? There are several musicians who have inspired me. Vocally, Whitney Houston, Rachelle Ferrell, Barbara Streisand, Lalah Hathaway, Ametria Dock, Marvin Gaye and my sister Judith Franklin are the most dynamic singers I have ever heard. They each have their own style and teach me something every time I listen to one of their records. Whitney Houston and Rachelle Ferrell are just ridiculous. They are vocal acrobats! Barbara Streisand and Lalah Hathaway have the most beautiful tones. They emote so much energy and feeling even when they are singing the simplest phrases. Their vocal control is outstanding. Marvin Gaye was so charismatic. He could have sung Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and made it a classic. I religiously study his stage performance. I grew up trying to emulate my sister’s style and learned a lot about vocal techniques, belting, and ad-libbing from her. She’s my best friend and my vocal she-ro. Each of these singers has a remarkable story that is just as impressive as their talent.
5. Describe your voice? My first instrument is my voice. As I mentioned, there is no other instrument in the world that is inside the human body. I’m a soprano and have a five-octave range. It takes a lot of daily practice to keep my instrument in shape. That means no smoking, drinking, excessive shouting and, of course, caution when I’m exposed to extreme weather conditions. People have told me that my voice is reminiscent of some of the great singers of this decade. Feedback like that never gets old! I just try my best to take care of my voice so I can share it with others for another 30 years.
6. What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town? My fondest musical memories go way back to when I was growing up in Missouri City, Texas. My parents used to play all types of music on record players. They’d play 45s and vinyl albums. We didn’t have cds or mp3s in the 80s. On Sundays, we’d clean the house together and cut on our favourite jams. My father would play blues legends like Bobby “Blue” Bland and my mother would play pop ballads by Michael Bolton. It was always a good time. Performing with my sister, Judith Franklin, was also really special. Growing up, we performed in countless talent shows and competitions. We would always get first or second place. She’d get first place and I’d get second place or vice versa. We formed girl groups and performed throughout the Houston area. Our favourite song to sing together was “Count on Me” by Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans. She has a magical voice that everyone will hear on a Broadway stage very soon
7. Do you get nervous before a performance? I tend to get normal butterflies before a performance though I’ve always believed in the Law of Attraction. If I release positive energy and think great thoughts, I believe the same type of energy will come back to me. Think of a boomerang. If you throw a boomerang out with the right intentions and energy, it’ll come back to you in the same manner. Usually, the result for me will be a solid performance. And besides, what will be will be. Sometimes things happen which are simply beyond my control.
8. How often and for how long do you practice? I practice singing at least 3 hours each day, including a good warm-up and studio recording. If I am rehearsing with the band, which consists of Randy Francisco, Ian Cenicio, and Alap Abooty, I could practice for 5+ hours a day. For the most part, I’m practicing everyday in some capacity for at least 3 hours.
9. What do you practice – exercises, new tunes, hard tunes, etc.? Practicing involves warm-ups, rehearsals, recording demo references of new songs, and in-studio recordings. Sometimes there is a combo of all four.
10. What inspires you? Life inspires me. My new project, Cheers to Life, is inspired by my life and the stories people have told me. The songs were all written about life’s checks and balances. You’ll hear songs about discovering your purpose, temptation, sorrow and joy. Life has a brilliant way of showing us that we should always make room for the unexpected. We’ll eventually get where we want to go, but our journey will probably be different than the one we expected.
11. How do you balance your music with other obligations –friends/family etc? I have a personal priority rule. My husband actually swears by this rule. It made so much sense once I implemented it into my daily activities. On Saturday, I make a list of all the activities I have planned for Sunday through Thursday. Then, I prioritize the list until the most important tasks are at the top of the list and the less important ones, like booking a manicure, are at the bottom. There are more organizational tasks after that, but once the list is organized I can take a look at it throughout the week and check off completed tasks to see exactly what else I have to do. It’s either this way or I’ll have Post-it notes everywhere! I also have to make time to chat with my family in the U.S. and my friends abroad. That’s always at the top of the list.