Today’s interview is with young Australian singer-songwriter Frank Dixon. Appropriate since he’s in LA this week working with his US producers and recording new music.
At just 13 years old, Frank Dixon is Australia’s fastest rising singer/ songwriter. Frank began writing music at the age of 9 years and professionally recorded two songs, “Up and Away” and “Moving On” when he was 11 years old with Australian music producer, Lee Bradshaw.
In 2010, Frank was awarded the Junior Singer/Songwriter Prize at “Dream Inc” in Melbourne and it was at this competition that he was first noticed by Michael Parisi and David Jaanz (Jaanz School of Singing). Since that time, David remains Frank’s vocal coach and mentor.
In 2011, Frank was scouted on Youtube by a Canadian talent scout and producer, Frank Castle. Frank is now traveling between Melbourne and Los Angeles recording his original music and has already recorded with Grammy Award winning producer, Devine Evans, and Grammy nominated producer, Dre Knight. As a reflection of his talent, Frank was signed to GMI Music Management & Entertainment, LLC in Los Angeles at the age of 12. Frank is being touted as the “most promising young singer/songwriter in Australia”. His unique voice and melodic ballads are sure to touch the hardest of hearts. More importantly, Frank is a genuine guy who just wants to touch the world with his original songs!
ANTHONY: Hello, Frank! Thanks for taking a few minutes to chat with me.
FRANK: Hi Anthony – thank you really great to be interviewed.
ANTHONY: Music is obviously very important to you. What is your earliest musical memory?
FRANK: I’ve always been singing but I guess my earliest musical memory was my first piano lesson at the age of 6. My lessons didn’t go that well but I do remember loving the sound of the piano and I used to listen to the tv and then see if I could play tunes that I had heard.
ANTHONY: Although I’ve read the biography on your website, most of my readers probably are not familiar with you. So tell me about your first songwriting and recording experiences.
FRANK: I was 10 when I wrote my first song. It’s a bit of a weird story because that piano teacher sacked me because I wasn’t practicing my pieces enough and was concentrating other things (mainly songs from The Phantom of the Opera). When I wrote my first song I took the notebook that the piano teacher used to write my homework in and I ripped out his pages and wrote my first song “I Love You and You Love Me (well I think so)” in that book. Since then I’ve written all of my songs in that notebook.
My first recording experience was when I was 11 and I went into a studio here in Melbourne and recorded two songs “Up and Away” and “Moving On” and both of these are still on itunes. It was a great experience but even in a couple of years my voice has changed so much and I now think that I sound like such a little kid in those recordings – a bit embarrassing! I’ve been doing a lot of recording in the US over the past few months and I’m really love the sound of the songs that we are doing at the moment.
ANTHONY: How many instruments do you play? Do you have a preference as to which one you use for songwriting?
FRANK: I play 3 instruments – piano, guitar and trombone but my preference for songwriting is definitely the piano. I have a white baby grand, a Yamaha Clarinova and a Roland Keyboard and I use all three when I am writing. They are my three best friends!
ANTHONY: David Jaanz is your vocal coach. What kinds of exercises and prep does he have you doing to keep your voice strong? How many hours a day are spent on vocal work, and how do you balance that with school and other activities?
FRANK: I have a number of vocal stretching exercises and I do a lot of soul singing to keep my voice strong. It’s hard to judge how many hours I do because I continually sing and do voice exercises even when walking between classes. David Jaanz is more than a vocal coach to me – he’s like a music mentor and he is probably the most inspirational person I have met in my life. David focuses on telling me to be true to my music and my sound and doesn’t try to ‘correct’ me too much. We are working on my vocal strength at the moment but he also wants me to keep concentrating on writing the songs that I am writing. If you get too caught up in the sound of the voice and the things that are wrong with your voice you can lose the momentum and the passion for the music that you are writing. Lots of people have fantastic voices but I think it’s also important to be able to tell a story than just having ‘the best’ voice.
ANTHONY: The U.S. seems poised for a musical “teen Australian invasion.” Cody Simpson’s already making waves over here, Jordan Jansen is on his way, and you’ve been coming to LA to record and work with producers. You’re all talented guys, but what would you describe as the main differences between you, Jordan and Cody musically?
FRANK: Cody and Jordan concentrate mainly on pop music and my style is a little different to theirs. I see myself as a songwriter/ singer and for me telling a story, creating a different sound and writing beautiful melodies is the most important thing. Cody and Jordan are both very cool guys and extremely talented and I admire their work but I think I’m just different from them and my style of music shows this.
ANTHONY: Obviously, plenty of your original songs can be found on Youtube, but are there any near-future plans for an album or EP release?
FRANK: I’ve been working with some top producers in LA over the last few months and I will be back soon and do some more recording. We are putting songs together that reflect my style of music before we release anything. Definitely plans though to release music and I hope to have at least one single out by the end of the year.
ANTHONY: I notice one of the links on the bottom of your site is to www.bullyingnoway.com.au. Have you been a victim of bullying, and if so how have you moved past it to be the wonderfully bright spirit you are?
FRANK: Well thank you for calling me a bright spirit and no I haven’t been bullied personally. I just see what goes on, on the internet and have a few friends, girls, who have had a lot of bullying incidents. I just want to try to encourage people of any age to accept people who are different or want different things and therefore I support the bullingnoway website as it is just a great tool for kids in trouble.
ANTHONY: What do you do to support Bullying No Way?
FRANK: I haven’t had a chance yet to do anything specific for Bullying No Way except to write to them and let them know that I was sharing their link on my website.
ANTHONY: In addition to anti-bullying efforts, what other charities/causes are important to you and what do you do to support them?
FRANK: My aunty is an aid worker in Africa and I know quite a bit about the work that she is doing with kids my age over there and all over the world. I would love one day to be in a position to support her and the children’s charities that she works for.
ANTHONY: And my usual final question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?
FRANK: I’m not a big reader because I spend too much time at the piano haha but I loved “Twilight” and “New Moon” and I guess I don’t have to convince anyone to read those given what big sellers they were. I also read the Air Crash Investigation books but I think that’s because my Dad is a pilot and we’ve all got an interest in aviation.
ANTHONY: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Frank! I’m looking forward to enjoying your music for a long time to come!
FRANK: Thank you Anthony it’s great to be able to communicate with you and I look forward to keeping in touch!
In fact, here’s a sample video: