Frankie Jobling’s musical career has only just started, yet as you delve into her back catalogue of just three tracks, her euphoric yet sultry vocals set her as a serious one to watch. Taking early inspiration from soul and jazz greats such as Aretha Franklin and Billie Holiday, it’s the contemporary neo-soul sound that Frankie has truly embraced, alongside her fellow NEWISM (North East Women In Soul Music) co-founders.
A proud native of Newcastle, Frankie has taken the Geordie city by a storm, with back to back gigs, including three sold out headline shows, gracing the same festival lineups as ELIZA, Madness and Rudimental, and support slots across multiple venues. Not just this, but local BBC Introducing teams have continued to sing her praises from the beginning of her career to her most recent releases.
As we begin 2023, Frankie looks to have her best year to date with a string of releases and credible live dates, including her biggest show to date as she’s set to support The Pharcyde in Spring.
What or who inspired you to begin a career in music?
I never really thought I’d have a career in music. I always wanted it though it never felt within reach for me. I have always absolutely adored music, it has been at the heart of my life for as long as I can remember. Family parties were all of us dancing around the house, the garden or the street to all the greats, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel, and so so many more. A love of music has been around me forever, so naturally, a love of music was instilled in me. I’ve always been obsessed with music and finding songs that speak to my soul, resonate with me, help me understand my emotions and make me want to dance.
When I was a cringey teenager, I’d get obsessed with old “dad” bands then my personality would revolve around them. All I cared about was music, at school I was always in lessons with my earphones in, and my bedroom walls were covered in posters of bands and lyrics I’d scribbled on. So yeah, I think that love for music is what inspired me. I didn’t think I was good enough or that it was a realistic goal for me to be a musician but the support and love from those around me who constantly encouraged and uplifted me are huge inspirations for me. I’ve had great people in my life who have believed in me and I wouldn’t be where I am without any of them.
In 2021 when I started making a go of music and recording my original songs, artists like Cleo Sol, Mahalia, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Pip Millet, Jorja Smith, Mereba, Joy Crookes Snoh Aalegra, ELIZA, etc., really shone out to me. It’s inspiring to see women in the soul/RnB scene killing it all the time. It makes me proud to be a woman making music but also makes it feel like it’s all possible for me. I see them performing all the time, writing music all the time, collaborating with amazing musicians, getting unbelievable opportunities and doing what they love every day and I just know that I want that. I want to spend every day making music.
What differs you and your sound from other artists in the music industry?
My sound takes influence from so many different genres, so I think that in itself makes it different from other artists. I grew up listening to soul and jazz and later in life RnB, hip hop and neo-soul which is what really influences my sound but I also grew up with ska, folk, rock, country, blues, indie, Britpop and punk. I’ve taken inspiration from the music I listen to and have grown up with in my own way, it might mean to me something very different to what it means to another artist and so I think when that reflects in your writing and playing, you get something unique.
My band is also central to my writing. The process starts with me bringing an idea for lyrics and melody, then we put music to it, or they show me a chord progression then I write lyrics and melody over the top. Writing is a collaborative process. Five musical minds building songs together always create something special and different. Our live shows are so tight and well-produced because we spend hours in our practice room creating together, and the love and belief for every song shines through. Our chemistry and bond on and off stage lend themselves to the music we make. My sound is different because it’s a distinct combination of people creating together.
I write very personal, confessional songs. My songs are all inspired by my own experiences and feelings. I pride myself on being an authentic person and artist, so my music is different because it is from me.
Your new single, ‘Where Do You Go When You Go Quiet’ is out now. Can you please describe the creative process and inspiration behind the release?
The song imagines the distance you feel when struggling with mental health problems is another place or world. When someone is hurting, they can feel very far away from everything, it can be difficult to let others in to help. Due to the current climate of society and politics, I think listeners will resonate with this song. I think everyone will have experiences with struggling with mental health or know someone who has been in that position. I hope it reminds us that there will always be someone who cares and you’re never alone.
I was passionate about the raw emotion and sentiment of the song. The production arrangement was carefully considered, with the meaning behind the song at the heart of every decision. I wanted to show the power of vulnerability, so I have encompassed my experiences with anxiety and grief into a soundscape of delicate vocals and honest lyricism, layered with the sound of live guitars, keys and contemporary synths, topped off with a classic neo-soul groove from the drums and bass. The song has a big ending, which climaxes into captivating layers of harmonies, sub bass, synths, violin, and powerful vocals.
In your own opinion, what is the most meaningful song you wrote? What makes you say that one?
This is a hard one because I think all of my songs are meaningful and personal. I’d say that Grateful (my last release) or Where Do You Go When You Go Quiet are both up there for my most meaningful songs. Grateful is about leaving an unhappy relationship and falling in love with yourself again. The song is a self-love anthem that was inspired by my experiences with an abusive relationship when I was younger.
When I sat down to write Grateful, it all just flooded out of me in one go. It was really from the heart. Where Do You Go When You Go Quiet was similarly really easy to write like it was on the tip of my tongue. I wrote it in 2021, originally about watching someone I love suffering and being unable to open up. As time passed, I began to resonate with the song from the perspective of someone struggling to open up. I had become stuck in my own head a lot due to the things I was feeling / things I had been through. I began to understand the song from the other point of view, and it had a whole new meaning for me.
I think listeners will be able to connect with the song, whether they relate to the actions themselves or the actions of a loved one. I put my feelings from both sides of the story into the production and performance of this record. I was really pushed in the studio to let all my emotions lose on the track. It has captured a very raw moment for me, something incredibly cathartic and therapeutic too. A moment where I could just let out all the frustration, anxiety, grief, and pain I had felt and pour it into a track. I think people will relate to it because of this. It’s very real.
Throughout your musical career, have you experienced any ‘wow’ moments?
So many! I think I’m just so happy and grateful to be having this musical journey so every day there are mini wow moments! It’s very much a pinch-me moment when I think about the people I get to work with and the memories I’m making through all the great opportunities I’ve been lucky enough to have.
Some stand-out “wow” moments for me have been my headline gigs. I have sold out three headline gigs and they’ve always been unbelievable. Audiences there to see you, dancing along to your music and cheering for you is so special. When the audience sings back my words to me it is just the best wow feeling ever!
The band and I got an opportunity to play at Lindisfarne last summer too, which was so surreal! This year, we’ve had two wow moments when we got asked to play Kendal Calling in the summer AND support The Pharcyde on March 22nd!
What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?
Push yourself out of your comfort zone, do the things that feel scary as hell and back yourself fiercely! It is so worth it. It is easier said than done but just go for it. You will make mistakes and you will learn so much, it is all part of the journey. Get your name out there, post videos on socials, do open mics, take all gig opportunities that come your way and make people remember you! Once you get your name out, you will start meeting more people and making more connections. The most important and special thing for me during my whole journey is the network of amazing people around me that have helped me grow, so my advice would be to try to work with new people all the time.
Make music you like, and do it for YOU. I think feeling like people won’t like your music can put a lot of people off, it put me off for years. If you like your music and you are proud of your music and you’re enjoying yourself, then that is what matters.
Practice is everything, keep writing, keep singing, keep playing and keep gigging. The more you do something the better you will get/the more confident you will feel. You will grow so much on your musical journey, so try not to compare yourself to other people, just focus on yourself and nurturing your craft.
Going on this journey has been the complete making of me. It is really hard on some days. With the wow moments, come huge low moments too. It is stressful and can be disheartening sometimes. But it is so worth it. It has given me confidence that I have never had and allowed me to grow so much as a person. It has helped me understand myself better. The best thing pursuing music has allowed me to do is meet some of my favourite people in the world, and make unforgettable memories. So my advice would be take the leap, take the risk, go for it!
What does the foreseeable future hold for you as an artist?
I have a really exciting 2023 lined up. I’m supporting The Pharcyde on March 22nd at Boiler shop in Newcastle and I’m playing Kendal Calling in summer. We have a hometown headline show in the works too for April! Me and the band are writing and practising like never before, I think this is just the beginning for us. We have so much more to give and do. Expect lots more singles to be released, and then an EP early next year!
‘Where Do You Go When You Go Quiet’ is available now via all major platforms.
Connect with Frankie Jobling