European musicians are often plagued with the notion that in order to “make it big” you have to crossover and appeal to what’s currently popular in the American music scene; well Dutch bred singer Cimo Fränkel addresses these pressures while also giving us insight on what it’s been like embarking on his own musical journey.
29-year-old Fränkel has been behind the scenes for nearly ten years writing and producing for various artists such as OMI, HRVY, Hardwell, Yellow Claw, Kriss Kross Amsterdam, and ChildsPlay to name a few. He also participated in My Name Is Michael, a Dutch show about the quest to find the next superstar talent like the one and only King of Pop, back in 2010. Get to know the multitalented singer/songwriter/producer as he steps into the forefront, taking control of his own career.
check out my interview with singer Cimo Fränkel below!
First and foremost, how are you?
Cimo: I am good, thank you! I can’t wait to get this year started. super excited.
For those who may be new to you and your music, will you do the honors of introducing yourself?
Cimo: I am Cimo Frankel. I was born and raised in Amsterdam. I grew up listening to Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and other pop acts mostly. I started making music when I was 15 years old. Making beats using a software called FL studio. I was super-inspired by productions by Timbaland, Wiley and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s producer DJ U-Neek. Later I found that I should record my own records as well, so I started rapping to my beats, which later developed into writing melodic songs and singing them.
Cimo, you’ve been making your rounds in the industry for quite some time as a producer/songwriter, what made you decide to take the leap into releasing your own material?
Cimo: Basically, there is too much inspiration to just be selling my songs to other artists. Besides, there are specific songs that I feel in my heart are great songs but they just don’t find a home. That is mostly because that is MY type of music, that I want to release. It would have been a waste leaving those songs behind on a hard drive. It is also fun to do. I like singing, I like performing, I even like dancing now that I’ve tried doing it my video’s
Are you still producing and writing for other artists?
Cimo: Absolutely. One of my favorite things in music is channeling an artist’s needs or writing something knowing that it’ll fit a certain type of artist that isn’t me. It is a satisfying feeling to hear a version of my song, sung by someone that really nails it.
As an artist based in Amsterdam has there been any pressure to “break” onto the States’ music scene?
Cimo: I think I have more trouble “breaking” in Amsterdam. My music doesn’t exactly fit Amsterdam’s standards and even if it would be HUGE in The Netherlands I think I would still be more satisfied knowing there is room for growth. The States are big and limitless. Yes, I feel pressure, but I also feel more space to grow.
On your song “Gamble” you sing with a few inflections that pay homage to Michael Jackson, how much of an inspiration has he been on your artistry?
Cimo: Michael Jackson was everything for me when I was little. Until a certain age I didn’t even notice other artists. I would be dancing around the house with my brother, singing his songs, watching his videos. I didn’t intend to inspire “Gamble” on Michael Jackson. It kinda just happened.
Who else do you draw inspiration from?
Cimo: Stevie Wonder, Usher, Maroon 5, Max Martin, Quincy Jones, Timbaland, Darkchild.
A lot of the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s stuff but also new stuff. It kinda depends on my mood. I do love good melodies.
The video for “Gamble” is reminiscent of “Summertime” by The Fresh Prince aka Will Smith, how was it putting that video together?
Cimo: It was great. I got to spend a lot of time with my girlfriend on set because she is the main girl in the video and also the choreographer, that was super exciting
I met the video director Brad Wong when we were working on my other video “I’m Alright” and after that “Where Do You Hide Your Love.” We are both Pisces and we developed this weird chemistry. What I am trying to say is. It was so easy shooting the video for “Gamble” as we both understood what needed to be done.
I have to add, it was 46 degrees Celsius that day [114 degrees Fahrenheit], Try to imagine dancing around on somebodies backyard-basketball-court in this temperature.
You’ve been categorized as a pop artist, but how would you like to define the type of music you create?
Cimo: I think it’s r&b influenced pop. There is more coming that will be more pop and less R&B but there is also other stuff coming that is a little bit more R&B leaning. I hate categorizing my music. It is just what it is.
Whether it be European and/or American artists, who would like to collaborate with in the future?
Cimo: Either Pharrell or Rihanna. Pharrell is a living legend (still kicking it) and Rihanna just has a certain quality I can’t explain.
When can we expect your debut LP?
Cimo: Working on a couple more songs until I can call it an LP. Therefore I don’t have a set date yet, but you will be the first to know.
Will you be experimenting with different sounds on the project?
Cimo: Definitely, I have been trying some Phil Collins type melodies, some The Police type productions and more New Jack Swing sounding stuff mixed with modern sounds.
What else can we expect from you in 2019?
Cimo: I am making a big step. I am moving to LA to work with more songwriters, producers, and artists over there. More music videos, more performances. I am excited
Keep your eyes and ears open for what’s more to come from Cimo Fränkel.