We speak to Frank Freeman prior to his show with Tarryn Lamb on 14th April.
He started his music career early, when he joined the Grey College Boereorkes in his native Bloemfontein, aged 6.
With this group he toured Europe and got nominated for a South African Traditional Music Award, all before he finished school.
Since turning professional 9 years ago and moving to Cape Town, he has made a name for himself as a go-to session guitarist, playing with artists like Arno Carstens, Francois van Coke, Ard Matthews and aKing.
He has played on numerous studio albums, TV productions and in a number of theatre shows and is currently completing his much anticipated debut solo album.
What is your purpose?
I believe a big part of my purpose is to connect with people through music. It’s what consumes most of my life. I try to be good to the people I love. I think that might be the only thing bigger than music for me.
What does music mean to you?
To me music is an artform that is so naturally ingrained within us that I can’t help, but connect with it on such a deep level. If a groove hits the right way anyone can feel it. Chasing that feeling has consumed my life.
My music is about…
Being a vessel through which I can hopefully bring some beauty into the world. Light can’t exist without darkness. I find true beauty in that. Hopefully my music reflects that in some way. The dark, but also the light.
What is your motto?
Simple, but significant. I like that. It usually works for me.
Fame is about…
I don’t know the answer to this. It’s a by-product of my work in my eyes. I don’t think I’m that famous anyway.
Retirement will happen when…
I haven’t thought about it at all. Never.
I don’t do…
Dirk van der Westhuizen. Have you heard that stuff??
I would love to co-write with…
Tarryn Lamb. Which I’m doing for this show. Our new production is going to be something special I think. What a voice she has.
Where do you go for inspiration to create?
Anywhere I can find it. Lately I’ve just been focusing on being open to when creativity comes. I also try to create music that I love first before I think of the audience. That’s been the latest train I’m on.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?
Ask the listener. I just love playing.
The song you must do during every show?
In this show. Busrit In Die Aand.
Any funny moments on stage?
Too many to think of just one. A lead vocalist I’ve played with who shall remain un-named once soiled himself on stage. There’s one.
My heroes are…
Bob Dylan, Steve Jordan, Jon Batiste, Jeff Beck…the list goes on.
My style icon is…
I have no idea. Myself.
Which living person do you admire most and why?
I just like the way Bob Dylan has aged through all the times he’s lived through. I mean he’s almost like an anti hero. Which to me means he’s one of the more honest icons around. He doesn’t glamorize himself. It would be easy to do that if you were him.
What is your most treasured possession?
My guitars has to be right up there. Probably my Fender telecaster.
It’s your round; what are you drinking?
Whiskey in the rocks. Simple, but significant right?
Dream gig to do?
I would love to play the Royal Albert Hall, but to be honest very few venues beat Kirstenbosch.
What makes you stand out?
That’s a question for the audience or my friends. I don’t know. I don’t think I’m bad with people.
Frank “You Must Be Dreamin” Freeman.
If you were not a musician, what would you do?
I ask myself this often. I enjoy sport. I also enjoy talking nonsense. Maybe a test cricket commentator. Best not both.
Pick five words to describe yourself?
Passionate. Heartfelt. Obsessed. Humorous. Foolish.
Five must have songs on your Spotify playlist please
At the moment.
Cry by Jon Batiste
No Hard Feelings by The Avett Brothers
Funky Drummer by James Brown
Happiness by The 1975
Home At Last by Steely Dan
Greatest Movie Ever Made?
Oooh. I’m going with a TV show. The Sopranos.
What books are you reading?
Deon Meyer. Donker Drif.
Also How Music Works by David Byrne.
What song changed your life?
So many. The latest one is No Hard Feeling by The Avett Brothers.
Who do you love?
What is your favorite Word?
Am I allowed to swear here? They just carry a lot of passion. I don’t know. It’s more about the context than the word for me.
Top of your bucket list?
Surfing. I still haven’t done it sfter living in Cape Town for almost 11 years now. It’s high on the list.
Your greatest achievement?
Being able to write and play music for a living.
What do you complain about most often?
The leaves on my front porch. A constant struggle.
What is your biggest fear?
Not being able to take care of myself. I think a lot people have that.
Moments in time with people you love. Hopefully with yourself as well. I’m also just trying to figure it out like everyone else.
On stage, I tend to…
Get really into the music. I call getting inside. I always try to get there. Most of the time I do.
The best life lesson you have learned?
To be open. No one has things figured out. Some things we know. A lot more things we don’t know. I see life as a ride. I try my best to take a road with a good view.
What has been your favorite journey so far?
Moving from Bloemfontein to Cape Town. It’s been a long time, but I like that combination. I like that I have both instilled within me by now.
Do you do charity work, and if you do – what do you do?
I’ve been involved in many charity concerts, but not one charity in particular. I give where I can and where I think it could be of real value.
Wishes and dreams?
More music in more places. Hopefully with more people connecting to what I’m trying to do. It’s that simple.
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