Melbourne, Australia soul-pop artist, James Franklin, recently released the first single, “Peace, Love and Freedom,” from his debut album that will be coming out soon in 2020. James blends folk, rock and soul, with influences ranging from Sam Cooke, James Taylor to Led Zeppelin. He’s played shows alongside such popular bands like 5 Seconds of Summer, Daryl Braithwaite and Joan Osborne, headlining shows in Australia and in the USA. He’s previously released two EP’s titled Pumpkin Pie and The Laundry Room Mixtape, and enjoys connecting his music to listeners around the world. For the past seven years, James has been writing and performing for audiences, and lately has been recording his debut album, which he says will include “a whole bunch of fresh songs, produced by myself with brilliant musicians adding their own flavour.” The album is being produced by sound-engineer Doug Brady, known for his work with John Farnham, Keith Urban and David Bowie, and recorded at Furstock Studios.
Find out what James had to say about his influences in music, the idea behind his latest single “Peace, Love and Freedom,” touring, writing and recording his upcoming album, his plans for 2020, and a few, interesting facts you’ll learn about him. Read on:
What led you to pursue music, and who have been your biggest influences?
James Franklin: I always had an interest in music growing up, especially because my father has been a professional musician his whole life. So I would write cheesy short songs and sing around the house but only for short periods of time. Then when I was 12 years old, we had a special day at school where students were required to come dressed as a famous person and they would be quizzed in character as that person. I chose to go as Drake Bell from the show “Drake & Josh” and asked my dad to teach me the theme song so I could sing and play guitar for my class. After doing so, the reaction from my class was like nothing I had ever felt before and from that moment I couldn’t stop. I guess you could say I owe it all to “Drake & Josh”!
What influence do you draw from specifically for the broad range of artists you admire; i.e., James Taylor, Sam Cooke & Led Zeppelin?
James: James Taylor, Sam Cooke and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin are all from different worlds but they have so much in common. When I hear them sing I believe them. It took me a while to realise why I liked all these different artists from different genres but one day it clicked, they are/were bringing their souls to the front and showing their truth to the world. So I am inspired to be honest and truthful with my music and I am constantly reminded to be honest and truthful when I hear these artists. Sometimes I forget that when you write and perform music you are providing a service to others, you are providing a chance to connect with people and make them feel something. Sometimes I have to be reminded to be truthful so that I can keep providing my service at the highest quality, for others.
You’ve performed alongside such popular acts like 5 Seconds of Summer, Daryl Braithwaite & Joan Osborne, what was your most favorite memory from these performances, and what did you take away from them as an artist and a performer?
James: My favourite memory would have to be when I was playing with 5 Seconds Of Summer, I played one of my songs titled “Our First Dance” which wasn’t even released. By the time the 2nd Chorus came around, everyone in the crowd started singing along with me, to a song they had never heard! That was the first time that had happened to me and it was incredible. I learn every time I do a gig with artists of a high level, I focus mostly on that they to engage with the audience and keep them involved in the show for the whole 1-2 hours, I want people to leave my shows knowing that they have had a good time.
You’ve released two EP’s in the past, and 2018 was the year you began recording for your debut album. What has the writing and recording process been like for it?
James: I wanted to produce this album all by myself. Although I had a big hand in the production of my EP’s, I wanted this to be my first “pop” record and I wanted to do it alone. One of the reasons the album took two years was because I had to learn as I went and I am so happy that I did that. I had been performing non-stop since I was 15 so I needed to take a step back and take some time to learn something new and make sure this next big project was going to be new and exciting. I feel like I’ve been able to tell a story and keep the album fresh and interesting for listeners as they make their way through all twelve tracks.
You recently released the single “Peace, Love and Freedom.” Can you tell us more about it?
James: In 2017, my home country Australia had the chance to vote for or against the legalisation of same-sex marriage. During the whole process, people started to rally together in major cities and march the streets in support of same-sex marriage and at the front of those marches were teenagers and young adults. The smallest people were making the most noise and it was incredibly inspiring. One day, I sat down with my guitar and out came “Peace, Love and Freedom.” Now, we are seeing similar scenes with the climate strikes that are going around the world and it feels like the right time to release this song and thank those people but also give them an anthem to keep moving forward.
Listen to “Peace, Love and Freedom”:
Any music plans you’re looking forward to for 2020?
James: 2020 is going to be a huge year! We have the second single from the album coming early January and then the whole album in February. After that, we have an Australian tour to be announced soon as well as a North American tour to be announced in the new year!