I always tell myself to make a more conscious effort to listen to international music, so when I came across Cimo Fränkel, I was immediately intrigued. Amsterdam born Cimo grew up with his musician father who taught him the ethos of funk culture. You hear tones of this in his single ‘Drifting’ which is just one of many of his unique sounds. When I spoke to him, he told me how he was currently living in Amsterdam even though he lives in LA because he was no longer able to fly. We both admitted that we were feeling a little bit trapped after weeks 6 of social distancing, but at the same time it also provides us with the opportunity to work on our craft.
[photo by Max More]
This is how our conversation began; I asked him how he would describe himself to new listeners. “It's a tough one, but I would describe myself as a chameleon,” he claims. This is evident in his music; singles which are an amalgamation of genres creating the foundation for a very intriguing listening experience.
We discussed the release of his most recent video “World is Waking Up” which has already amassed 25k views on YouTube. When I asked him about where he got the idea for the futuristic music video and he mentioned how lockdown forced him and his team to get creative. “I wanted the video to feel grand in scale, but because of lockdown, I also didn’t want the shoot to require a lot of people,” he told me “I was lucky enough that the director completely understood the message if the song after listening to it, so he came up with the whole premise.”
Referred to by Uncut Gems, an emerging artist platform as “the Dutch pop version of Bruno Mars,” I was curious as to why he pursued a songwriting career before he became a solo artist. When I asked him about it, “looking back, I guess you could say I was scared,” he responded, “being able to write songs of so many different genres initially made it difficult for me to find who I was as an artist, so I decided to write to begin with.” Cimo has had the opportunity of working with artists at the top of their game including Snoop Dogg, Cheat Codes & Kris Kross Amsterdam, and it was this experience he cited as preparing him for his solo career. “Now I am confident, I know who I am, I’m ready now. I make music that comes from my heart that, though I would like for listeners to like it, that isn’t the purpose; I make music about my feelings and life for me.”
[photo by Max More]
After taking the time to work on his craft with songwriting before releasing music, I had to ask what his influences are. Like most of us, he cited the 80s/90s music era as being a cornerstone of his musical influence; “I listen to a lot of different genres, which is why I’m able to produce so many different tracks, so like, George Michael, The Police, Usher amongst a few are some of my influences. I also really like Pharrell – he has produced so many different tracks for different kinds of artists, and he writes for them with their sound in mind. The length of his career is also something to admire,” he informed me. The fact that Pharrell has also influenced his career trajectory will hopefully will lead to the same longevity for Cimo and his work.
When I quizzed him on his loose vision for his future post-lockdown, he told me how he’s been writing a lot of new music. “Even though I have a studio here, it’s not the same as my one back home [in LA], so hopefully after I put the finishing touches on the recordings I’ve started here, I’ll almost have a full album ready to go,” he replied happily, so we can anticipate some new music from Cimo, and in accordance with his signature style, we can only wait and listen to what type of sound it will be.