INTERVIEW: Frankie Leonie

Talk to us about your single:

Johnny Cash was inspired by “Give My Love to Rose” from the great Johnny Cash. Cash’s song never resolves so I had the idea to do that. From there, I took it to my Nashville cowriter, Melissa Bollea Rowe where it became a song.

A year later, I approached Beau Bedford about recording this with The Texas Gentlemen. Beau revamped the tempo, arranged the song and produced it. His idea made it more upbeat than the original and it really worked well. Having the Gents on this was a dream come true. During the process, they welcomed me into their music family and have been the best support! Beau had Mackenzie Smith on drums, who had just recorded with First Aid Kit, one of my favorite bands, so that was icing on the cake. Jason Burt mastered the song and was a cheerleader for me throughout the session and has since helped me find the best bandmates, with Charley Wiles on guitar and Ben Barajas on bass.

You can hear the song here:

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I’m a huge classic country fan and grew up on people like Johnny Cash, Willie, and Waylon. This song though never resolved, so I set out to do that.

How was the recording and writing process?

I recorded at Modern Electric Sound Recorders in Dallas, Texas. It was so cool getting to record where people like Leon Bridges and Paul Cauthen have recorded. Margo Price was scheduled to be there after me. There was so much good energy in that space. I was surrounded by a group of guys that are out of this world musicians.

As for the writing process, I was early in my writing career and my parents gifted me with a trip to Nashville to work with a writer my mom met at the Bluebird Cafe, Melissa Bollea Rowe. Melissa helped me take my ideas for the song and turn that into the finished product. She also taught me a lot about the business of songwriting at that time. As I write this, we’ve just started another song. It’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off of and collaborate with musically.

How Johnny Cash and Stevie Nicks influenced your writing:

The Stevie Nicks vibe is all thanks to Nik Lee and his guitar styling. I’m personally more influenced by Johnny Cash. Stevie is amazing, I was just more focused on country when this was written. Johnny is one of best songwriters and I’m grateful to have been exposed to him at such a young age.

Do you tend to take a different approach when collaborating rather than on your own?

For sure. In a way, when I write by myself, I feel like I can be more honest because there’s no one there to judge me…now whether that’s a good thing or bad thing, I’m not sure yet. The good thing about collaborating, though is that you can have two or more brains all working on one thing and you can come up with some really cool stuff that way.

Does the new single mean we can expect new material? How’s that coming along?

Yes! I have another song that Beau produced that will be coming out soon. I’ve been busy writing and have enjoyed co-writing with some fellow musicians in Dallas as well as Nashville. So hopefully you’ll be seeing much more from me in the future!

Any plans to hit the road?

This song was released July 10th while on a small tour in Nashville. I’m in school so I use the summer to try and cast my net outside of DFW. I’ve also spent some time playing in Austin recently. I’m hopeful that I’ll do a lot more touring in the not too distant future. But until then, I’m branching out into Ft. Worth more and still love playing Dallas. We have such a supportive music community here.

What else is happening in Frankie Leonie’s world?

Trying to finish school so I can do what I love full time–create and play music.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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