Michael Franks

Michael Franks, a smooth jazz singer from the United States was born September 18, 1944 in La Jolla. He has recorded with many well-known artists such as Brenda Russell, Art Garfunkel and David Sanborn. His songs were recorded by The Manhattan Transfer and Patti Labelle. Franks grew with his mother Betty, his father Gerald and his younger sister Christine in Southern California. Christine is also the mother of Connor Sullivan, The lead singer of The Royal Nonesuch. His family didn’t have any musical talent, but his parents were big fans of swing music. Franks, then 14, bought his first guitar, the Japanese Marco Polo. He paid $29.95 and received six lessons – this was his only music education. Franks was at University High in Irvine when he discovered Theodore Roethke’s poetry with his hidden meter and off-rhymes. Franks began singing folk-rock in high school and accompanied himself with a guitar. While studying English at UCLA, Michael met Stan Getz and Patti Page as well as Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Although he never studied music at college, he earned a Bachelor of Arts from UCLA in 1966 in comparative literature and a Master of Arts from the University of Oregon 1968. Before returning to UCLA, he was a part-time teacher in a Ph.D. in American literature at University of Montreal. Franks began writing songs during this period, beginning with Anthems in E flat, a antiwar musical starring Mark Hamill. He composed music for the films Count Your Bullets and Cockfighter. Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee and “White Boy Lost in the Blues”, were the first to record three of his songs.

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