The Franklin Girls: They Are Going Places
by Amie Rodgers
They are young, talented and happy to call the White Mountains home. They are the Franklin Girls and as the title of their debut album suggests, they have places to go. Adriana (16) and Annelisa (12) Franklin may of grew up in Los Angeles, but it was when they moved to Pinetop with their parents John and Lourdes about five years ago that their passion for music really got its start. “I always loved theater, movies and music, but I had never did any of it until we moved up here. That is when it kind of blossomed,” says Adriana during a recent interview. To which Annelisa adds enthusiastically, “Pinetop is a really great place to grow up. It is a small town, but not too small and really surrounded by good things. How we started music was really like a flow. It wasn’t really planned or processed. It just kind of happened.”
The very earliest interest in music began with Adriana singing the music from the Titantic movie. “So, I would sing to my Dad every single day and ask, ‘Am I as good as Celine Dion yet?’ He would say, ‘Not yet, but you’re getting close.’ So, I would keep working at it and working at it. I was inspired to play guitar from watching a Taylor Swift video when I was fourteen. So, I had to learn and of course, she had to learn too,” she giggles and jerks a thumb in the direction of her little sister.
A seasoned veteran of the music industry, their Dad was just as surprised as anyone when he realized he had two up and coming musical talents in his household. “I really didn’t want them to get into music,” he chuckles, “I didn’t sell them on rock n’ roll. They just kept coming to me asking how to make a G chord and things like that. Adriana was the first to get interested so I showed her how to play ‘Coming ‘Round the Mountain.’ From there, she went on the internet and got some Taylor Swift material, went into her room and disappeared for like a month. She came out knowing how to sing and play. Annelisa got interested in it right away and they started singing together. They began to perform at the Culture Club and Unity Church to get performance experience.”
With the songwriting help of their Dad, Debra Davis and Steve Kaminski, they had an album before they really knew it. “From there, it really just started happening. The album was completely unplanned. We started playing at galleries and we liked it. My Dad suggested we get the experience of playing with a band. So, with the right equipment and members, we just started playing and eventually, we had an album. It was really cool. We didn’t really know what was happening until we had it there,” smiles Adriana, “So, we recorded Places to Go two summers ago and it came out in November of 2011. The album has a very happy, young sound. I think things flow well and there is a song for just about every emotion you can feel. There is more of an organic flow to it than the pulsing drum loop that some newer music has. We are playing real instruments to make our sound.” The album also features a song entitled Gotta Let You Go, the girls’ first song they’ve written together.
With an album under their belt and dedication that could inspire anyone, the Franklin Girls are bringing their feel good sound to venues both locally and around the country. “We are working with Barbara Bruce of White Mountain Radio quite often. We looove her,” smiles Adriana as Annelisa nods in total agreement, “She recently invited us to a TV appearance on Business Matters to talk about the radio commercials we cut for Frontier Communications. We have done two that are currently on the air.” The girls also recently attended a big songwriter’s convention in Los Angeles where they performed every night showcasing their songs and meeting the “big dogs” of the music industry. At the time of our interview, they had just signed an endorsement deal with Daisy Rock Guitars who gifted the girls two brand new guitars.
With so much exciting news and events, it is no wonder that there is currently a reality show in the development stages. “It is a reality show basically about our lives on tour. We try to focus on really happy, positive things. The show begins by following us on our different tours and shows starting here in our little town and going places from there. As we go to bigger venues, we will have different things to deal with. There is a mini idea of what it is going to be on youtube right now in our Places to Go video,” smiles Annelisa.
In addition to being incredibly impressed, I asked the girls what it is like balancing their blossoming careers with their school responsibilities as just “regular girls.” To which Annelisa replied, “It can be difficult at times. Basically, we go to school just like anybody else. Some might suspect I feel like a big fish in a small pond, but its not like that for me. I feel just as insecure and out of place at times as any girl. When I get home and we practice, it is like this whole different world, a whole different aspect to my life. I am so grateful that I have it.” When asked to tell me about a typical Franklin Girls day, Adriana notes, “The basic break down of our day is get up, go to school, get home, have a snack, do our homework and then we have rehearsal. We have it every single day for at least an hour and a half. We normally start at five o’clock and go until dinner. We work on guitars and our harmony technique and sometimes just do a fun rehearsal where we sing whatever is on the Top 40 that we like and just have fun with it. After rehearsal, we go to bed and do it all over again. So, we don’t really have a lot of free time.”
Given so much success and even more to come, I asked the girls how they plan to deal with the kind of fame and fortune that typically destroys child stars like Lindsey Lohan and Miley Cyrus. After a bit of giggling at the idea that they would ever live the La Vida Lohan, the girls explained how their dedication to their music is what keeps them from anything that interferes with their dreams. “I’ve never been one to go out and drink with friends or do any of that stuff. I’ve never been to a party, which is like a surprise for a sixteen year old. I’ve got friends who do invite me, but I always say, ‘Sorry, I’ve got rehearsal’ because I do,” giggles Adriana, “So, the music really keeps me out of things that might interfere
with my dream of both of us at the Grammys, working in music years and years from now.” To which Annelisa adds, “There can be a lot of pressure, but most of the pressure is coming from ourselves. We want to be better. We want to do this and it is our decision. So, we are the ones who are working our little butts off for our dream. We want to reach as far as we possibly can. I can only imagine what Miley Cyrus or any of those people have done, but I really hope not to go down that whole child star ‘having their party time’ road. It just doesn’t appeal to me.”
As talented and dedicated as these girls are, they are the first to cite the support of their family as crucial to their success. “Our parents are so great. We can ask my Dad about chords or what harmony we should sing and he is so helpful about it. He is just a great Dad. Our Mom is definitely someone we can lean on. After a bad day at school or something, she is always there for us especially cooking dinner after rehearsal,” giggles Annelisa.
To which Adriana adds, “She is always there for us. Our Dad is a great man. We look up to him in so many ways and he does so much of the work in this whole business. He is a driving force for sure and he is putting so much of his time and effort into this. It really is a family business. We don’t pretend that it is just the girls doing the work. Our family is doing a lot for us.”
When I asked the proud parents what it is like supporting two rising rock stars, their Mom Lourdes replies in her beautiful Spanish accent, “It is not always easy, but I support them. I tell them to go for it. I love to listen to them work and make suggestions. I am happy to have dinner ready and be the Mommy. I love what they do and am very, very proud because they work so hard, so hard. I am there for them 100%.” After a heart warming group hug, John smiles, “What is it like to support these girls? I am having a lot of fun, Amie. I really am. From being the manager to the record executive, it really is a blast. We even formed our own record company, Majala Music. The thing is that we will be together so it really doesn’t matter where we are going or where we are as long as we are together. The reality show is all about them traveling from gig to gig and home. We want the fans to feel like they are along for the ride and get to hang out back stage. It is hard not to like these girls because they are so fun.”
As busy as these down to Earth little divas might be, they are particularly excited to perform at local events and special occasions like weddings. Not only can they sing like angels as the bride walks down the aisle, but with the help of the John Darst Trio, they can keep the reception hopping with fun rock n’ roll and dance tunes. For more information about booking them for an event or wedding, please contact them through their website (www.thefranklingirls.com) or email them at email@example.com.
To hear their sweet sound, check out their video Places to Go on Youtube or listen to it on Pandora radio. Their album is available on iTunes, CDBaby and on their website. It is also available locally at Majestic Music in Show Low and El Rancho in Pinetop. You can also show your support by liking their fan page on facebook or following them on Twitter. Be sure to come out to see their upcoming
live radio performance on the Believe Show on March 18th from 3 – 5 pm at Cafe Grotto and Galleria Eclectica’s new location next to the Chalet Restaurant in Pinetop.