Shlomo Franklin is a singer/songwriter from Bethel, NY. He plays guitar, writes music, and performs original songs.
When you decide it’s time to make a new single, is that more exciting or stressful?
It’s always exciting! I only release a single if the song is ready and recorded properly.
Recording is a strange beast. It’s like you’re a construction worker in an alternate universe, working on an underwater tower, the laws of physics are completely different, in the recording studio up is down, left is right, and there aren’t any rules or regulations to follow. If there was a book of instructions it would have a thousand pages and every page would be blank.
You write all of your own music; where do you draw inspiration from when you write songs and what’s your favorite part about the process?
Songs sort of fall from the heavens like shooting stars only they don’t disappear, they can stick with you for a lifetime if you’re lucky.
Once in a while you’re drawing from a certain somewhere but usually they come right out of left field, could even be about something you haven’t been through yet, or you’re in the thick of a certain scenario but you don’t know exactly what it is and a song will come along and tell you where you’re at, show you the way out, lead you back home to safety, keep you afloat while the coast guard comes along, a song is an island in a sea of confusion, a song is made of conviction, base instinct, magic, and emotionally driven madness. A song can lead a horse to water and make it drink as well.
What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
I used to play with a drummer who lived in Englewood, New Jersey and we’d often rehearse at his neighbor’s place.
Instead of sports cars or speed boats, this man had guitars. He must’ve had a million dollars worth of vintage instruments, signature models, rare gems from the sixties, and modified custom axes from Japan and Kentucky.
It was like a playground or an amusement park. It felt luxurious and rather indulgent but real good fun, we played for hours and couldn’t stop.
How do you balance your music with other obligations in life? How does it get effected if so?
Music usually comes first. I don’t feel good if I’m not writing or performing. It’s like therapy or breathing.
A preacher should always be a religious man, even in the bedroom or the forest. Music follows you wherever you go. It’s like a halo or a Medal of Honor. It’s sacred and when done right, becomes your guiding light, a force to be reckoned with.
Once in a while, you need to put down the pen, lay the guitar back in its case and get away for a few days. Remind yourself that you’re not only an artist, you’re flesh and blood just like everyone else. You’re in customer service, you’re a doctor, you plant corn, and you drive trucks.
You can be anybody, you can even be somebody else if you want.
I get to spend time around people who aren’t from the same background or culture as me and they remind me of the rest of myself, the part of me that’s not musician or poet. Just human. Just person with bones, blood, and a pumping heart.
What is your favorite song to sing live?
Every night it’s different but I wrote a song called Hold Up That Train when I was seventeen that’s a real blast to do with the band, till this day, Funny Boy is a crowd favorite as well.
Do you have any events coming up or recording going on right now aside from the newest record release?
I’m always recording three or four albums at a time. I’m on tour in Massachusetts now and I’ll be in the studio in New Jersey tomorrow morning. I’m most looking forward to a special Rockwood Music Hall performance on May 18th.
At what age did you start singing and what inspired you?
I was seventeen and these songs started coming to me that had to be sung. It was more out of necessity than anything else. It’s like if someone leaves a baby on your doorstep you gotta go ahead and raise that child as your own.
I wasn’t a great singer, I wasn’t even good but these songs showed up in a basket at my front door and I had to go out and learn how to sing them, take care of them properly, give them a home.
How easily do songs tend to come to you?
If you had a soundtrack to your life what song/songs would have to be on it?
It would involve a lot of sounds that aren’t songs. Truck horns, cattle mooing, a Barn Swallow marking its territory, spring peepers in heat, a Crow notifying its friends of roadkill, a tree falling, a stream babbling, a creek singing, a river rolling, tall grass and the northern Atlantic breeze, maybe fog horns, train whistles, doorbells, and laughter.
If I had to choose a few songs then Nature Boy by Nat King Cole would be on that soundtrack, How Long by Leadbelly, maybe November Rain by Guns N’ Roses, Angels by Chance The Rapper, and the Elvis version of Blue Moon.
The Waterfront by John Lee Hooker, the solo version of I Cover The Waterfront would be playing at my birth and then at my going away party too.
It would be an eclectic mix. Probably wouldn’t flow properly. Most people wouldn’t like it cause it wouldn’t be easily digestible, it would genre hop and time travel, I wouldn’t stay in the same place for long, maybe just long enough and then skip town, change my name, and be somebody else entirely.
I’d be you and you’d be for a minute.
For our readers who have never heard your music, explain your sound in 5 words?
Traditional music from the future.