Going into an interview I normally have a bunch of notes and prep done about the artist and a direction for the interview to go in. For this Interview with Shlomo Franklin there wasn’t time for any of that. We met in the green room before he opened for Sawyer Fredericks. The interview was completely spontaneous after we hit it off. Everything I asked Shlomo was new information to me. I learned a lot about Shlomo Franklin in this interview. But it was what was learned after that was most interesting.
Shlomo Franklin grew up in Upstate New York as a practicing Hasidic Jew. As part of his upbringing he didn’t have access to TV, Radio, or pop culture, this included not being allowed to listen to secular music. Attending an ultra-Orthodox school of his religion days were spent studying Yiddish and the Torah. If you asked Shlomo about himself the 22 year old would tell you he is a dreamer, and that is evident when you hear his music.
Performing at City Winery NYC Shlomo Franklin captured the audience from the very first song. The folk singer played an absolutely beautiful set. With lyrics that paint a picture for you on stage, you can feel the love he expresses on stage with each note. The lyrics are honest and describe feelings of his that begin to feel like ones of your own. The music was truly imaginative in the way it brings you along throughout the set. The song writing, stories, and voice of Shlomo Franklin make him an act that you need to follow.
Read more about Shlomo in our interview below.
I’m here with Shlomo Franklin who is opening for Sawyer Fredericks at City Winery and as we were talking in the green room decided to do a spontaneous interview. This is the first time we’ve met, I don’t have any questions prepared but am excited to learn about you and see you play tonight. What can you tell me about your music, and its genre?
And I hate this question but to learn about you want to ask who you would consider your influences to be?
SF: I was just actually talking about this. I think the obvious ones would be like Johnny Cash, and Neil Young. But perhaps the slightly less obvious ones would be I love Guns N Roses, The Killers. Bob Dylan was a big deal too because I grew up and wasn’t allowed for religious reasons to listen to any music. But my dad had like a secret stash of Dylan Records so when we would go on drives he would show me like this weird guy with a weird voice. And I didn’t know he was like famous, I didn’t really know what fame was. But I knew that there was something I loved about what he was saying, and it felt like truth.
Wow that is amazing. So where are you from?
SF: I am from a small town in Upstate New York called Bethel. Our claim to fame is that the Woodstock music festival happened there. Which my dad was at he kind of stumbled there and came back a few years later and bought a farm.
So you sing folk music, I took a folklore class in college in which we talked about folkways. On the first day of class we went over traditions and that it takes three consecutive times for something to become a tradition, in my first three interviews I asked the same questions and so it has become a tradition for me. I love karaoke, and I am always curious as talented musicians their go-to songs to choose to sing on the karaoke stage?
SF: Oh wow. What do I pick? I didn’t see that question coming. What did you pick Sawyer?
Sawyer Fredericks: I went with my first cover ‘Have you ever seen the rain?’ I don’t really do much karaoke.
SF: I’ve never done karaoke in my life.
(laughs) And that’s the thing you guys don’t need karaoke. You’re both extremely talented. I do karaoke because I’m bad. I don’t even sing in the car, I don’t sing in front of friends…
SF: (laughs) Not even in the shower?
Oh no, not even the shower. But you put me on a karaoke stage
SF: And that’s it? What song do you do?
Oh I go Destiny’s Child because I can’t sing and it’s fast. But you put ‘Say My Name’ on and the crowd loses it.
SF: Oh my god that is perfect.
SF: Um on YouTube Shlomo Franklin, and I’ve got an EP out and then a full length coming out in a few months. It’s done and coming in a few months.
How many songs is on it?
SF: Ten songs. Then I’m working on another album to come out pretty soon after that.
Oh perfect both things to look forward to. Um I like to ask weird questions and this one is a bit wacky.
SF: I’m still trying to figure out that karaoke question. (laughs)
I have another one so we can come back to that when you do. But this questions even more wacky. This is what happens when the interviews spontaneous. So I thought of this as I was walking from the subway a few days ago. If you could only eat one food group whether it be breakfast food, lunch food, or dinner foo…
SF: Dinner Dinner Dinner.
Dinner food? Is their like a meal of choice?
SF: I want a steak for breakfast!
If you were going to go on a road trip, who would be musts on your road trip playlist?
Um a lot of well lately Gregory Alan Isakov, Artic Monkeys, The Killers, Bruce Springsteen, Brandon Flowers solo records. Um that’s a serious question. I like it.
That’s a good playlist! I’m going to go home and create it on Spotify. (laughs)
SF: Yeah come on lets take a road trip! (laughs) We get along and that’s the hardest thing.
And as we are going to see you perform tonight what do you bring as a live act?
SF: Um I love songs so it always comes down to the songs. That’s it you just have to try to play the right song at the right time. Sometimes you get lucky and that happens. If it doesn’t happen then you just fake it. You fake it really good.
And what is the best way for us to stay up to date with your news?
SF: I think again to check out my YouTube I have been getting into like short films lately. So YouTube and Instagram.