Songtrust Spotlight: Griffith Frank

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Griffith Frank

GRIFFITH FRANK is an award-winning singer and RIAA certified multi-platinum songwriter hailing from Topanga, California. He spent his formative years developing as a musician and songwriter under his father, starring in a multitude of musical productions, sharpening his vocal and piano abilities, and would graduate as a Vocal Performance Major from University of California, Los Angeles.

In 2010, Griffith was a featured soloist on the soundtrack of the Golden Globe nominated movie “Nine” (dir. Rob Marshall); in which his version of "Unusual Way” was notably praised by People Magazine. Griffith has since performed all over the world at legendary venues such as Disney Hall, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and the Jakarta Jazz Festival.

As a songwriter, Griffith's works have garnered over 750 million streams worldwide, with notable viral hits such as “Boomerang” by Jojo Siwa, “Where would I be Without You” by Kendall K, “Two Sides” by Annie Leblanc, and “Handstand” by Rosie Mcclelland.

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How did you get your start in music?

I started playing classical piano at five years old, but found that I loved singing above all else at eleven years old. I would go on to keep singing various forms of pop and theater throughout my middle school and high school years, but never really considered myself a songwriter. When I was in college, I got my heart broken for the first time by my then girlfriend. Suddenly every song I had ever heard about heartbreak made sense! I simply had to find a way express this newfound experience…so I started writing songs.

When writing for others, like Jojo Siwa or Annie Leblanc, how do you get into the right mindset to write from their point of view or what is your writing process like?

Every situation is different. With some songs we (myself and the other writers or producer) write directly with the artist; and it’s about either helping them tell the story they want to tell or everyone participating in shaping a concept. In other situations, we interview the artist to find out what they want to express and write the song separately from them. And sometimes me or a co-writer simply has a great idea for a song and the artist really resonates with it.

How do you stay authentic to your style in an ever-changing industry?

For me, it’s about having the wherewithal to look at how the industry is moving and how people's tastes are shaping… and then combine that with my own tastes and elements that I believe make for a good song. This isn’t easy to do admittedly, and I don’t claim to be the best at it…But I do believe that good songs are stories disguised as conversations, and a sincere and compelling story will always shine through. 

What role does social media play in your brand and ability to connect with your growing fanbase?

I actually grew up around and was involved in the pre social media music industry. So I admit to having had certain expectations that were impressed upon me by what I might call “the old music industry”, where artists were these larger than life, untouchable creatures. It seems to me now with social media, there’s an expected access to artists at almost every level, and it’s changing how we bond with the artists we love. Many years ago, I was almost afraid to answer people who would message me about my music, because it was framed as a bad thing to do…but now I see that wasn’t and isn't true.. I try to respond to anyone who messages me. I do think this brings a new level of humanity and honesty to the industry that really couldn't exist before.

Seeing as though you are starring as Bing Crosby in the upcoming film “Silent Night,” has Bing Crosby, or other creators, inspired you in your own music career?

Funnily enough, the song that really launched my singing career at eleven years old was “Buddy Can You Spare a Dime” by Bing Crosby, which I sang in my elementary school musical. I had worked out a new way of “singing” a few nights before the show, and I decided to try it out…and I got a standing ovation from the audience of parents! 

Do you see yourself moving towards acting roles after your first film or will music continue to be your main passion?

Honestly, I’m a musician through and through. I’ve acted a number of times in plays, musicals, and even acted in a short scene in an independent movie once.. And it’s really fun and enjoyable! But my heart belongs to the creation of music on every level. Don’t get me wrong! I’ll probably act again in my life. but music already takes up so much of my time professionally and as a passion.

What changes have you seen during your time in the music industry - how has the music landscape changed for better (or worse!) for creators?

I don't think it’s my place to call it better or worse…but it’s definitely different! When I first started my career as a teenager, it was impossible to distribute music on any sort of large scale independently. Now, anyone can release whatever they want! That’s kind of incredible. And with platforms like spotify giving everyone access to all the music they could ever listen to...It really creates an interesting new environment where almost anything is possible. Change is inevitable…but I truly believe that people will always want to hear music that gives meaning to their own story.

Why did you choose Songtrust as your publishing administrator?

After doing extensive research (on the advisory of my good friend Jordan Richman, who produced Boomerang) and seeing the traction Boomerang was getting, I knew I needed a reliable administrator who could help me collect and provide the necessary services for the new youtube streaming models…and I couldn't be happier with my choice! Songtrust has been communicative and helpful at every turn.

If you could give any advice to up-and-coming songwriters, what would you say?

Collaborate with your peers as much as learn from your mentors. Your peers are there for you to grow with, and good mentors not only can help you see your path more clearly, but also give you the lessons and perspectives you need. 

What’s next for you in the upcoming year?

I hope to release more of my own music, and continue to write for other artists! I honestly wouldn't change much. The main new pursuit of mine is writing more musical theater. I love pop music! But the storytelling potential  of a theater piece has become so exciting for me…so stay tuned for that!

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