Franko Fraize (Frankie Dean) is coming to the end of his support tour, gigging with both Reverend and The Makers and The Enemy on dates across the UK, playing in cities including: London, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool. The lyricist and performer presents himself as a hybrid of musical genres, including: hip hop, rap, indie and grime.
Fraize admits that initially he didn’t intend to get into the music industry, but was inspired to start writing by life in his hometown of Thetford and what was on the other side of the front door. “People just resonate with it; I think it’s that small town mentality”. He added that believing in what you are doing is integral to becoming successful, especially when making music, with pressures within the industry coming from all different directions. “I have grafted to get to this place now… all the time I was doing what I loved and what was right in front of me.” After uploading tracks to YouTube and Soundcloud, Fraize grabbed the attention of local radio. His admirable temperament and distinct talent evidently started turning heads elsewhere, with Zane Lowe, formerly of BBC Radio One, supporting Fraize right at the beginning of his career. He admits that before the respected DJ stamped it with his seal of approval, people were scared to dip their toes in the water. “When Zane Lowe got on I think people felt they were allowed to have a listen now…. then when he did loads of people were jumping all over it.” Fraize continues to have support from the BBC, via BBC Introducing, which serves as a platform for artists to get their music heard by those who can take them up to the next step of the ladder. “It gave me confidence and faith in what I was doing”. Introducing gave Fraize an opportunity to have more people listen to his music, as he was asked to perform at Radio 1’s Big Weekend back in May. “Alongside ‘1 Big Weekend’, I got a documentary filmed about me for local BBC, I had Huw Stephens listen and get on board…. It was a real door opener.”
Fraize confessed that there has been many highlights of this year so far, it was difficult to pick just one. Back in September, he entertained Sundown Festival, which takes place in his home county of Norfolk, where he performed alongside Rudimental, Tinie Tempah and Jess Glynne.
“I’ve got to November and I’m touring with Reverend and The Makers and The Enemy, where does it end? I’ve had my football team QPR ring me up this weekend and say they want do stuff, I’ve had all sorts of people get involved just off the back of this tour so… it’s hard to pick a highlight.”
Although often branded as a rapper, Fraize admits he sees himself more as a fusion of genres, and therefore when asked about who he would like to work with in the future, he selected the unstoppable Catfish and The Bottlemen as “a good sort of crossover, that’s the type of thing I’ve been listening to a lot lately.” However, other than Van McCann & Co, he admitted that he isn’t currently looking out for collaborations, but “worrying about myself” and getting to where he wants to be, producing music he loves. “To be honest every week there’s something going on so I haven’t really sat down and thought about it.”
Comparable to the likes of Jamie T and Mike Skinner, who he also sights as influences, Fraize listens to a mixture of artists and backgrounds. “I like Macklemore a lot from America and I’ve listened to a lot of British stuff, I still listen to Oasis.”
So, what has he got planned for next year? Fraize is incredibly genuine and understanding of how cruel the business can be. “I’m trying to keep a level head about it because this is a fickle industry. The little ladder rungs are what I keep hold of.” He confessed there are no set goals for next year, but that he wants to continue writing music and playing shows, with the intention of playing festivals in the summer, in particular Reading which he describes as a reflection of what he’s doing, “a bit of hip hop, a bit of grime a bit of band music, and it’s all there under one umbrella”.
“I’ve got this single out on Polydor – ‘Oi! Oi!’, for the end of this year to support this tour, I want to see where it goes. Keep the snowball going and see where we get to.” This won’t be the last you hear of Franko Fraize.