Published on October 31st, 2022 | by MuzikScribe


Kay Franklin: The Future Of R&B

Let’s hop right into this latest single, “Ven Aqui,” featuring Problem — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition?

At the time, there was a trend on TikTok with the song I sampled, “Cumbia Buena” by Grupo La Cumbia, and I wanted to flip it into something of my own and not just follow the trend directly. It was originally only meant to be a 30 second thing, but it gained traction fast and everybody loved it and wanted a full version, so I finished it quickly and sent it to my brother, Problem. And here we are now!

Of course “Ven Aqui” comes courtesy of your still forthcoming solo collection — What all can you reveal and / or divulge about upcoming said body of work?

All that I will say for now is that you can definitely expect a wider range of sounds than you might expect from listening to “Ven Aqui.” For those who were introduced to me from this single are going to be pleasantly surprised to hear the versatility in my sound.

I understand that both Mike & Keys and 1500 or Nothin’ have a heavy hand in the LP’s production…

Yes, Sir! My EP will be fully produced by Mike & Keys, along with additions from 1500 or Nothin’ and MyGuyMars. All people I’ve known for over a decade.

How then does this new material(s) either differ and / or compare to previous Kay Franklin entries?

You can expect a little more vulnerability in things that are upcoming. A lot of what I’ve released in the past few years has been more so about energy and living my best life as a single man. And while I’m still single and will still provide that energy and perspective, there’s a lot more substance within my catalog that will be showcased moving forward.

As a songwriter you’ve already contributed to projects from Joyce Wright, Dom Kennedy, Problem, Wiz Khalifa and Soulection crew, to name some, when you sit down to pen your lyrics where do you draw your inspiration from?

It comes from everywhere. My life outside of music, my imagination and fantasies, certain things that people close to me go through…I’ve even written songs based off Tweets that I’ve seen. I don’t limit where I pull from, and that’s part of the reason why my sound is so versatile. I know how to dig deep within myself to express something very real and concentrated, but I also know how to free myself from focusing on the result and just create whatever comes to me in the moment.

Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Kay Franklin?

Sometimes I feel like I didn’t have a choice to be interested this deeply in music. It runs in my family, in my blood. I’ve been exposed to successful musical talents since I was a baby. But the moment I decided for myself that I wanted to be a part of all this and continue to carry the torch for my family, I was about 8 years old. The persona “Kay Franklin” was created shortly after, mainly because people would always mispronounce my real name, and Kay just stuck as a nickname and stage name as well.

Now you’re a native of Inglewood, CA, correct? So growing up in ‘The City of Champions,’ who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?

Honestly, coming from the musical background that I come from, a lot of musical influences as a kid outside of my family aren’t natives to Inglewood. My grandfather worked with so many people across the industry, so those people ended up becoming more of an influence than anyone else. But as I grew older and became more aware, Sir and Tiffany Gouché became super heavy influences and friends of mine. Skeme and Blu as well on the Hip Hop side. Mack 10, too; there’s pieces of my look that are inspired by him. But my biggest influence in terms of the style that I adopted musically has to be both Musiq Soulchild and André 3000, neither of which are from my section or state.

Now your late grandfather was the iconic John Barnes, who has worked with legends such as Quincy Jones and the late greats Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston — How big of an overall impact did he have on you also choosing music as your profession as well?

First off, Rest In Peace to my grandfather! One of the greatest musicians to ever grace this earth and my life. But he is easily 90% of the reason. There probably would be no “Kay Franklin” if not for him, and the example he set as a talent and success. I don’t know that I would have believed this dream would be attainable for me without him.

And, had he given you any good advice or words of encouragement as far as your own burgeoning career path?

The whole essence of my grandfather was an encouragement to me in my career and just as a person. His energy exemplified dedication, passion, empathy and a willingness to learn at all times. But I do remember asking him how he was able to create exactly what he hears in his head, and he told me that that was never the case. It never turns out to be exactly what you hear; it’s never perfect, but you learn there’s beauty in the process of chasing that perfection, and it relieves you from feeling like there isn’t more you can do. There’s always more.

In having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and / or style?

I know myself to be very versatile and full of range, and if I had to classify that into a few words I’d say refreshing yet unique. But I’m one to let the people decide how it should be perceived. I like to think I have a little something for everybody, but only time will tell.

Switching gears here…

What do you feel has been and will continue to be the key to your longevity?

Knowing that there’s always more to experience in life, so inevitably there’s always more to express.

What do you want people to get from your music?

Whatever they feel. It’s not on me to decide how people receive me or my music. If I can make someone feel anything, that’s enough for me. I just think it’s on me to present myself as myself all the time. Some people will take positive things from it, others negative. I’m okay with it all, it doesn’t stop my desire to share.

On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of R&B?

I am. I think there’s a lot of talent, and good people in R&B. I strive to bring more vulnerability and accountability to it, and to keep the element of Hip Hop alive within it as well. But I don’t, and never thought, there was a lack of good music within it.

Do you have any other outside / additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?

I used to teach some years back, and have always wanted to get back into it ‘cause I love working with kids. So it’s a goal of mine to get back into it when I decide to walk away from music as a career.

To date, what has been your greatest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?

The birth of my daughter. She was born at a time where I questioned if I wanted to keep pursuing this as a career, and it was all the motivation I needed to not give up.

What’s an average day like for you?

Studio and spending time with my daughter. My days don’t consist of much more than that, given the level of focus I’m dedicating to both of those things at the moment. But I love to travel, so if I’m not doing those two things I’m probably in another city or country.

Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…

At this point in my career, I feel fortunate that I can treat fans like friends. I still am very humbled when people express how much they like my music, mainly because that’s not the goal I have in mind when I create. I’m only trying to express and impress myself, so to know that other people are impressed as well to any degree feels good and I don’t feel like I’m above that. I’m always open to engaging with the people who support me, because they don’t have to.

What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?

I’m a studio head. I love turning nothing into something, and leaving my imprint on it. So the whole process of creating, as well as sharing what I’ve created is definitely my favorite aspect of it all. The only part that gets hard is the time spent away from my daughter. Some days are easier than others, but it’s still difficult missing moments with her as she grows.

What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

As cliché as it sounds, don’t fucking give up! I’ve seen a lot of talented and good hearted people give up, and a lot of times for very valid reasons ‘cause we all know life gets hard. But if you can find it within yourself to keep going, do it. Your dream matters, and there’s other people who need what you have to offer.

Lastly, what’s next for “Bae” Franklin?

This Mike & Keys produced EP. And it won’t stop there…we’ve done hundreds of songs in the last few years and we’re always making more, so expect to be hearing a lot from me for a long time.

Is there anything I left out, or just plain forgot to mention?

Not at all, but I do want to say thank you to The Charter Group and Rostrum Records for believing in me. Along with Mike & Keys, Problem, Dom Kennedy and countless other people. I didn’t get here by accident, and I wouldn’t be here without those people.

Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?

Once again, I just want to say Rest In Peace to my grandfather, John Barnes. And for everyone reading, you have no idea what it means to me to be able to share these thoughts and feelings with you. And the time and energy you spend with me on my journey is something I will always be grateful for. Thank you.

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