Who is Frank E?
I am a Hip-Hop artist from Cape Town. I constantly recreate myself to be more than I am at each moment.
What/who got you into music?
I got into music at an early age while listening to my dad’s gramophone, but I think my process really started when my dad bought me my first tape recorder. That was when I really got to play my own songs.
How would you describe your music?
If I could create a genre that included elements of RnB, Rock, Pop & Rap – I would probably call it urban funk is, that is my style.
Tell us about CMD.
CMD (Central Music District) started when I was released from Prison in 2012. At the time I was connecting with a lot of artists and producers. When I performed the youth wanted to join me, so I created a project with the foundation I worked with. CMD is a project that puts youth who are interested in music in a position to unlock their potential.
What is your role in CMD?
I am the Founder and Developer. My duty is to look for sponsorship, studios, performances & train participants.
You do some work with schools. Can you tell us about that?
Yes, I work in schools – providing a musical programme that focus on the development of youth in their respective musical talent. Whether singing, writing, composing, engineering or rapping. Many youngsters learn that the art of music can be expressed in various areas of their life.
What do you like most about your work?
When kids discover something new about themselves. The looks I see on their faces when they see new ways of doing things, learn more about their behaviour. They find that the programme has a space where they can talk about anything.
I know we are half way through the year, but what are your goals for 2017?
I would love to work on my album. I have been so busy with the kids that I haven’t spent much time on it so I would like to focus more on completing and releasing it.
I have done a lot of songs but never a full album.
For the programme I would like to get more schools involved in the CMD Project. I find that the youth relate much to music and it would be an opportunity to influence their behaviour positively. They also learn about themselves and their potential and character.
How do you think artists can use their art to influence positive change in the community?
I think that the type of person you are will speak volumes and to reach out to people is a connection that we as artists will always have. It is what you give to those you are connected with. I give my time to teach what I know. We should give our time to share what we know about music. With this we can empower the communities with knowledge – for knowledge is power. Many of the kids I meet just want to learn.
Who/What inspires your work?
I have taken a lot in my life and I thought I was entitled to take. Now I live my life in a way where I get and give – I balance what I get in life to make sure I always give in life. And what best way to give yourself – for I am…music.
What is your least favourite thing about the music scene lately?
I think that a lot of people want to say too much about what music is – I think that people should create more free platforms where music are not filtered to what is popular or can make money. Just let all music be heard and be enjoyed with out political or obscure views.
Who was your favourite artist to work with and why?
Oh, I do not have a favourite. But I have a most memorable. It was working with an artist and producer Feroh Royale on a song called ‘Chucks’. We recorded the song twice. We involved youth from the streets. I told him what I was thinking about having on the song – he said he can download the sound but I should wait for him as he is stepping out quickly. The guy came back with 7 kids aged from 6-12, and they were adding vocals on the track. The track is super, man!
Do you prefer late nights or early mornings?
I think I can keep up with both. My favourite is late nights. But I can be in studio for days.
What would we find in your fridge right now?
Ice water, grapes and milk to make smoothies… and everything that can make a smoothie.
How do you prepare for a performance?
I make sure that I do runs as often as possible of the performance. Other than that I just make sure I don’t sound nervous but I’m always nervous.
Any new projects we need to look out for?
My album is coming this spring and it would be songs from the last half decade. I also have a lot of unreleased songs that I will be dropping.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
I fell on stage before I performed.
I countered with DMX lyrics – I’m slipping, I’m falling, I can’t get up. I’m slipping, I’m falling, I gotta get up.
How has your music changed over time?
I think with the lines and phrases of communication and expression that have changed over the years – it has influenced the way music is expressed and communicated. And I communicate and express my music to the best of my ability to reach a vast audience. Where before I just did what I felt. Now I put more time in to think of the audience but it’s still my message.
What work have you done other than being a rapper/producer?
I Facilitated rehabilitation programmes to inmates, youth at risk and parolees. My most awesome job was as a Radio Presenter.
I know that artists can sometimes get immersed in their work, but how do you balance your work and family life?
I think what helps me is my schedule. It helps me a lot with time management. I make sure that I don’t get distracted for distractions can be major time-eaters some times. The best thing I have done for balance is to switch off my internet, especially when I am with my wife.
If this is our last ever conversation, what words of wisdom would you leave me with?
Follow your heart, but use your head doing it.
Facebook: Franklin Esau