Franka De Mille is a LondonÂ singer, songwriter and composer. Her debut album â€˜Bridge The Roadsâ€™ Â has already received critical acclaim and extensive airplay all over the world.Â Emotionally raw, original with sophisticated arrangements, Franka De Milleâ€™s music has an elegant blend of Americana, chamber music and alternative folk.Â Frankaâ€™s focus on strong melodies underline the powerful emotional charge of her unique voice and deeply personal lyrics. She is the only independent artist to be selected for the British Phonographic Industryâ€™s â€˜Why Music Mattersâ€™ campaign.
Franka De Mille answered our questions ahead of her forthcoming Acoustic Routes performance in Cambridge at CB2.
Q: How would you describe your music?
A blend of Americana and Chamber music.
Q: What is your earliest memory related to music?
Being given a toy Telecaster Guitar for my 4th birthday. There is a picture on my website of me holding it, looking very proud, stood in front of the Xmas tree.
Q: What or who inspired you to become a singer?
I have always sung. Singing and making up songs has always came naturally to me. My parents were very busy and the need to be heard as a child was a major driving force. Music has played a vital role in my life as a protective force, a place of inspiration and solace.
Q: What are your musical influences?
I have a wide range of influences from world music to rock, pop, folk and classical music.
I listen to everything. Artists that have had the strongest influences are Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Rickie Lee Jones, Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, Joe Jackson, Nick Cave, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Rene Aubry, Tori Amos, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, The Smith, The Cure, Dusty Springfield, The Police, Supertramp, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, Hildegaard Von Bingen, Satie, Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Philip Glass to name quite a few from a much longer list.
Q: Describe the process you took when writing your debut album “Bridge The Roads”.
The songs came pretty much fully formed which was magical. I then went into the studio and made demos with all the different arrangements on midi with a keyboard and sampler and got the musicians to record the parts I laid out.
Q: Who would you most like to do a duet with and why?
My God!â€¦there are so many artists! It is so difficult to choose oneâ€¦I would say Sting, Kate Bush, Antony Hegarty, Dave Gilmour, Rickie Lee Jones, Tori Amos, Stevie Nicksâ€¦any one of them would be a dream come true. Why? because they are all such incredible songwriters and sensitive, truthful artists.
Q: Name your top three favourite songs?
Another hard choiceâ€¦there are so many songs I adore: Tom Petty â€“ Wonâ€™t back down; Rickie Lee Jones â€“ Coolsville; Patti Smith â€“ Dancing Barefoot.
Q: What did it mean to you being selected as the only independent artist for the “Why Music Matters” campaign by the British Phonographic Industry?
I felt privileged to be up there with so many fabulous artists. I feel very strongly about music piracy so it was important for me be part of the campaign. I feel a sense of duty to spread the message that the best way to support artists is by buying their music and not downloading it for free. It does damage to the music industry as a whole but I feel that independent artists suffer the most. It is very important that independent musicians are represented in this campaign.
Q: What is your biggest fear?
In general? To go blind or deaf or impeded physically in any way. On stage: To lose my voice
Q: What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Releasing my album, getting many beautiful reviews and lots of airplay all over the world.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
Apart from my cats and the ring my dad gave me before he diedâ€¦my sanity.
Q: What can the audience expect from your forthcoming gig at CB2/Acoustic Routes in Cambridge later this month?
An intimate emotional ride, embroidered in an intricate fabric of musical textures, with violin, cello, harmonicaâ€¦I might even bring a piano.
Franka De Mille and Band will be performing on 28 September 2013 at CB2 – Acoustic Routes, 5 Norfolk St, Cambridge, CB1 2LD. Ticket price:Â£6.00. For more information go to www.acousticroutes.co.uk/program.html. For more on Franka, check out her website – www.frankademille.com