First impression? Stylish, tall man who would most likely tell you he has other plans going on in the day so we should hurry. Instead, he stands up and greets us with a warm smile when we finally make our way to him.
The mysterious Frank November is an upcoming artist based in Johannesburg. He has been on stage with names such as HHP, JR, and AKA. He says he has never allowed his underprivileged upbringing stop him from achieving his dreams. Blue Monkey Magazine had a chat with Frank about his music, his B-boying days and upcoming projects.
Blue: So who is Frank November?
Frank: I’d say a people’s person, business man, rapper, I used to do comedy by the way.
*chuckles*. I’m outgoing, I’m a socialite- yeah.
Blue: So is Frank November your real name?
Frank: Frank is my real name, my second name, November is just an add on to the name, (November is his birth month). Me being a rapper, my surname wasn’t really appealing, and ‘Maya’ is like a girl’s name. [He acknowledges that not so many girls have ‘Frank’ as a name]
Growing up, especially in high school, everyone called me Maya. November was not my only option. I had a lot of names given to me by people I used to hang out with and November just stuck.
Blue: When did you start rapping and who would you say is your influence?
Frank: I started listening to hip hop- I think it was my third day in school doing grade one. That was 1996. I didn’t think much about rapping then. Anyway, ‘My Name Is’ by Eminem came on the radio. I remember being at the staff room, me being naughty and all. And I was like, “what’s this type of music, what’s going on?”
Blue: How old were you then?
Frank: (Pauses) I don’t know
(We share a bit of laughter.)
Blue: How old are you now?
Frank: I’m turning 26 in November.
The Blue Monkey team found themselves counting how old he was when he started
grade one so we could see if the numbers really did add up. Afterward, he went on to tell us how his sound is heavily influenced by comedy and current trends.
Frank: I don’t like going straight to the point with my stuff. It’s always like a curve ball.
There’s always about three meanings within each line. So you get people who like
drama, horror and…
Blue: You’re the comedy guy?
Frank: Yeah. The class clown.
Frank has dabbled in many other things within the arts. He used to be a B-boy and a comedian. He says there were not a lot of platforms for comedy, so he stopped doing it. When asked about B-boying, a dance within the hip hop genre, he says he grew tall so he couldn’t do it anymore. Also a dangerous choreography lead him to second-guess the path.
Frank: I had to do a flip and I landed on my head. I stood on my head and flipped again. People thought it was a stunt but it actually hurt. He considers the performance as one of the craziest experiences on stage. Along with a performance at Bassline. He was jumping on and off stage (something he says he does often). He fell off the stage and landed on his back. People thought it was a stunt because he continued rapping effortlessly as if nothing happened.
Blue: Which artists would you like to collaborate with in future and why?
Frank: Right now I’ll say Priddy Ugly, Golden Shovel— I know he’s a bit old school. Also he’sone of favorites. Pitch Black Afro, I’m very picky. I think that’s it.
Blue: What are some of the things you want to achieve this year?
Frank: This year, I would like to travel. For music, not just leisure. Go on tours outside of
Africa. Be an established musician. I think that’s the main goal. Because I’m in between
my music and business. Music is like a job. For example, AKA loves music and makes the
money. It’s not just because it’s cool. That’s his bread.
Blue: Are there any projects lined up for the near future?
Frank: There’s a collaboration, I Sol Stringer from Muzart. Currently in the pipeline,
working with Gingertrail and Golden Shovel and Raphael (from Muvhango). Other ones I
can’t mention right now because they’re still in the works. I’m also putting out two singles really soon.
He mentions that he has done a bit of experimenting with trap and polishing his beats. The tracks are ‘Bazooka’ and ‘Amen’, produced by Terry Terry Dj. For everyone wanting to know more about Frank November, follow him on social media.
FACEBOOK : Frank November
INSTAGRAM : @Frank_November_ZA
Check out his music on Sound Cloud & YouTube.