the suffers nprOn Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at The Nightingale Room, Kam Franklin Presents: The Catch Up: A night of fresh and local music! Ms. Franklin is the front-woman for the 10-piece gulf coast soul band, The Suffers. Despite her busy schedule touring with the band, she puts Houston on the top of her list. As a young artist, she and her band mates were given precious opportunities to share their music with their hometown and a few times a year, she makes sure to pay that forward.
The evening will include performances from Rex Hudson, Rob Gullatte, Lita Styles, Mark Drew and a DJ set by Jay Tovar. I had a chance to catch up with Kam and chat with her about the show. Learn more about her inspiration for this event and why she chose these artists!

Lauren Ignited: Will this be a reoccurring event?

Kam Franklin: I try to do these kind of events once or twice a year, depending on my schedule with The Suffers. I rarely keep the same name for my events, mainly because I like to mix it up. Taking my time to curate these kinda things eliminates the stress, and it allows me to focus on the experience. 

LI: How did you select these artists in particular? What about their current careers sticks out to you right now?

KF: All 4 artists are hustling extremely hard in my opinion, and they all exhibit different sides of what makes the Houston music scene so incredible. Rob Gullatte brings a hunger to the stage I haven’t seen in a really long time from a rapper. When he raps you believe him, and you can’t help but side with him and everything he puts out there. Rex Hudson was actually in my first band ever (The Blue Lights!), and I thought he had all but given up on making music, but here he is with this electro chillwave project the world didn’t know it needed. I love him, and I love this music. I first saw Mark Drew performing alongside Guilla. The first time I saw him, I hoped they were a duo because of how magnetic his delivery was, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Guilla has done extremely well, and I feel as though it’s time for Mark to follow in his homeboy’s footsteps. Lita Style’s work is just entrancing. You can’t help but go into the zone when you listen to her trippy R&B. 

All 4 have been stuck at a level I feel a lot of Houston artists struggle to reach above. For those unfamiliar with the process,  when you first start out, you play everywhere and anywhere. Warehouse parties, house shows, venues that could be shut down at any point during your set due to improper permitting, etc. For the artist, it’s about the exposure at that moment, not the venue. Once you’re ready to “graduate” to a headlining show or nicer venues, you’re dependent on the talent buyer or promoter of said venue to put you on a stage that best serves your art. Unfortunately, because their main concern is usually about making money, a lot of artists are usually passed over because they’re new or their ticket sales are unproven. I’ve been there and it sucks. My main goal here is to give them a proper platform to showcase their work. I’ve seen all 4 of them live, and I am confident they will deliver one hell of a show.

Related: Listen to this playlist of the participating artists

Kam Franklin: The Catch UpLI: What is the most important skill that you think new artists need to learn to become successful in the music business?

KF: Attention to detail. Whether it’s executing their stage show, getting their music properly mixed and mastered, or hiring a publicist to release their music, it’s all in the details. I wish someone had told me this a decade ago. It would have saved me a lot of time and embarrassment. I’m still learning myself, and I believe that there will always be room for improvement. 

LI: What have you learned about the Houston community as The Suffers has risen up and up?

KF: It’s stronger than it’s ever been. When we’re on the road, former Houstonians can hardly believe the comradery that exists here now. I’m proud to be a part of it, and I can’t wait to see the next round of bands that break into the national scene. I love my music community, and I love my city.

LI: What stands out to you the most when you think of the Houston music community / scene?

KF: The support.  Even if success isn’t happening to that person, if it happens for their friend, they act how they would act if it happen to them and I love that. For example, I don’t need to shave my face (thankfully), but when Robert Ellis got that Gillette commercial, I was just as stoked as if it had happened to me. A win for one Houstonian is a win for all of us.
Check out the event on Tuesday, April 19th. There’s no cover, the show starts at 7 pm, and it’s a 21 and up event.
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