Interview

David Michael Frank: Inside Look at the Music Industry

David Michael Frank is a musician currently in an alternative pop band, called Future Sunsets. Frank has been in numerous bands throughout his career including, King the Kid and Wellington. He has worked alongside YouTube stars such as Tiffany Alvord. Frank also works with Big Time Rush heartthrob, James Maslow, and has performed privately to celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Zendaya. Frank is best known for his covers on the Future Sunsets YouTube channel, with over 19 million views. He plays many instruments, including the guitar, drums, and bass guitar. Frank is mostly known for his unique singing voice. Most recently, he has been working on music for other people while still writing his own songs. He has just announced the release date of his newest single, From Gold to Rust, which is coming out on November 16th , 2018.

David Michael Frank, or “DMF” as he calls himself, has broken his way into the music industry through pure talent. He was always interested in playing music, so when he was eleven his dad got him a guitar as a gift for Hanukkah. Frank didn’t quite know what he was doing, so he got his friend’s dad to give him lessons. His friend’s dad happened to be classic rock and roll legend, Roger Fisher, from the band Heart. Due to Heart being in the Classic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Frank was pretty stoked to be learning from him. “I had now had this epic guitar teacher who was a close family friend growing up. He gave me a four-track cassette recorder so that I could record some of my stuff … so I started dabbling with multiple recordings and making up funny songs and cool songs and jamming.”

Frank started posting his first YouTube videos and around 2011, The Voice television show reached out to him. They decided to fly him out to LA to audition for the show. Around the same time, he auditioned for a band called Wellington that what he claims, “was supposed to be sort of a YouTube supergroup and it was supposed to be a rock boy-band, sort of like the rocker version of One Direction.” Frank was excited because there were four managers, one of whom worked with the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, and Lionel Richie. Frank said that he was promised a television show based around them, albums, tours, and “[the managers] failed to be successful.”

Frank has seen the dark side of the music industry because of his experience in Wellington. It started off great because he was brought to the SoHo House on multiple occasions and had many dinners paid for him. He was overwhelmed by the fact that “Ellen DeGeneres [was] sitting at the next table and paparazzi are all in the basement.” When the band Wellington didn’t work out, King the Kid was created. King the Kid had a good size following. They made albums, went on tours, made music videos, etc. There were two other members in the band, and Frank says he feels betrayed after what happened to him. One of the bandmates surprisingly changed all of their social media passwords and “then his Mafia father strong-armed us to try to get us to give him a lot of money for our passwords back and we almost did, but we didn’t. I had a band stolen from me, a band that meant a lot to me with a lot of songs.”

Frank didn’t let this massive heartbreak and betrayal stop him from following his dreams, in fact, he acknowledges that heartbreak helps him have good song-writing material. Frank has recently been through his fair share of heartbreak. His five-year relationship with his girlfriend called it quits and in the exact same week, a snowboarding accident caused him to break his spine. Frank says all of this “definitely helped” his songwriting. He says his passion is “connecting with people with my own music [and] with my own art that’s inspiring or changing. I have fans that have my lyrics tattooed on them, I have fans who have met some of my best friends through my art, I have had many people tell me that my songs and videos have helped them through depression or suicidal thoughts or given them hope in a dark time. That is why I do what I do because that is so powerful.”

Frank has an extremely close and personal relationship with his fans. He has a Patreon, which is a “membership platform that provides business tools for creators to run a subscription content service as well as ways for artists to build relationships and provide exclusive experiences to their subscribers.” When Frank was going through his most recent struggles, he turned to his fans for support. Once he started sharing, he recognized that they were sharing what they were going through together. “I started talking about my injury and my helplessness and just my overall mental state and they started sharing their stories about cancer and endometriosis, family problems, money problems. It ended up becoming a community within itself talking and sharing what they were going through with each other. It was the most beautiful take away from that entire thing.

Frank does a lot more than work on his own music. In fact, he says that his work for Future Sunsets is 25% of the work he does. He says, “I manage a band, I help a lot of other artists with the music they do, and I also help non-musical artists. I am promoting a book right now for someone, I am promoting a course for small business families, I’m helping with digital marketing for a lot of stuff.” Even though he does so much, he wants to do more. Eventually, he says he would like to be “bigger than [him]self” as far as audio and video production, marketing, and artist management go. This would be a lot to take on because his average day (before his injury) was to get up at early, go to the gym, and then just sit in his home studio until 2am every single day. That being said, he’s trying to have a better life-work balance because his long hours took such a toll on his past relationship.

When Frank was asked if he had any advice for people who are trying to break themselves into the music industry, he was very clear that having a contract is the most important thing. He wants to see people setting out how they would break up, thinking about shows, and “whatever growth could potentially be there.” He’s learned from his own personal experiences. Secondly, he wants to make sure that people “be smart but don’t forget why they chose to do music.” He says, “we all started as kids who just loved playing guitar, loved playing our favorite songs, loved recreating what we heard on the radio, or whatever it was. Don’t ever lose that childhood ambition.”

Links to some of David Michael Frank’s work:

King the Kid – So Long My Lover (Original Song): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDCRwpHKYgs

Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball (Cover): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuLgpqSLA4E

Panic! At The Disco – Death of A Bachelor (Cover): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZlGwnTF4nw

Support “DMF” on his Patreon by clicking the link here: https://www.patreon.com/FutureSunsets

About the Author

Sarah Chickering is an Arts Management major at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (expected graduation 2021). She aspires to work in the music industry once she graduates. You can reach her at sc1959@mcla.edu.

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