Yesterday, I was more than thankful, happy, and excited that I could interview my first musician! I was able to interview, the one and only, Donovan Frankenreiter. Musical and song-writer is from Southern California, but is currently living in Hawaii with his two sons and wife. When Frankenreiter was sixteen years-old, he started to learn how to play music. Around this time period he became a professional surfer and brought his guitar, wherever he traveled. He learned how to play the guitar from people he met when he was traveling.
Donovan released his first album, Donovan/Self Titled, in 2004 and then came out with eleven albums. If you listen to the album, you can tell that it sounds like a Jack Johnson and/or Jason Mraz type sound. In my previous article I wrote about how their was a genre of music called, “surfing” Donovan’s music falls under the surfing and alternative music genre. When I talked with him on the phone he was in Hawaii and was enjoying his free time by surfing and spending time with his family. Being on tour is extremely hard since he wants to be with him family, even though they travel with him sometimes.
On your new album, The Heart, what did you write your music about?
It’s a very interesting record (The Heart) and there’s a lot going on, sort of in my life too. My dad passed away during my recording process and during the writing process I worked with this one guy, Grant Lee-Phillips and there was a lot of work. On, “Big Wave (one of his tracks on the record),” I had the music and the chorus and he helped write the verses. On another song my son wrote the music to, “Little Shack,” and I sent it to Grant and he wrote the words to it and it was really interesting with what Grant came up with. Sometimes I spend a lot of time writing with people, co-writing, and really with everything going on in my life he was so helpful.
I like the writing and recording process and I’ve been struggling with it for a long, long, time. Some of the songs were hard to put together and other’s were easy to do. It felt like it took awhile for the record to write and come out but overall it’s just a really fun process. It was fun to record new songs and be in the studio and it is one of the most heart-felt records I’ve ever written. There are a lot of emotional songs that I hold close to me. I’ve never wrote a song with my son before and working with Grant was amazing. It was a lot of fun making this record.
How old was your son when he wrote the song, “Little Shack?”
He was tweleve when he wrote that song.
What is your favorite song your album, The Heart?
I don’t know because I have a bunch of one’s. I love playing “Big Wave” live, “California Lights” is great, and “The Way You Touch the Light.” There’s just a bunch of different songs that I love so much and I love the way they came out and they way they recorded. I don’t want to say I have an ultimate favorite because I just love all of them.
How is your tour going so far?
It’s good and it came out last-minute and I usually tour for a couple years on a record. I go to Japan, the East and West Coast (in the United States), I’ve played a little in Australia. It’s always fun to add three of four songs to the set you know?
Where is your favorite place/venue to perform at?
Anywhere. I love performing and I’ll play anywhere. I love being at home and then getting on the road and touring and playing whatever. I feel like were very fourtunate and very lucky to have a fan base to be able to tour and kind of play my music in: Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and it’s really great. It’s sort of the dream to go on tour with your record around the world. It’s something I really hold this close to me and I’m very fortunate and I never take that for granted.
When you are writing your songs, what musicians influence your process of it?
I don’t know because I listen to a whole bunch of different stuff. I listen to streaming stuff and then a whole bunch of other stuff. I listen to (Bob) Dylan and Tom Petty, and they don’t have a direct influence on my writing. I listen to all different types of music around the house here, hip-hop and whatever.
You live in Hawaii correct? Do you surf?
Yes I live full time in Hawaii, I live on the North Shore of Hawaii. Almost everyday and when I’m off the road I can be decompressing in the water and surfing. I try to be in the water as much as I can.
I’m extremely jealous! I’m in Boston so there are not a lot of places to surf, but in the Cape (Cape Cod), the North Shore, Maine, New Hampshire is where I go.
Yes, I’ve surfed there a couple times and it’s really nice next to the wall. You have to get out there and put on a full wet suit and look forward to the summer!
Do you work on new music when you are touring?
Yes. I am constantly trying to think of new things and new stuff. I have a lot of time on the bus and I’ll have a lot of down time to do things. When I’m home though I’m a dad and a husband and I’ll put the guitar down and have a normal daily life. I have two boys, eight and thirteen.
Look out for my article in August about his show that I will be attending! Thank’s again Donovan and this his Publicist, Bailey! You guys are the best and I can’t wait to see you in August!