Franko is going his own way

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TIME was, an endorsement from John Peel was all a new band needed to get on the road to the big time.

The Radio 1 legend may no longer be with us, but his name still resonates and lives on through the John Peel Festival of New Music, set to be held for the first time this year in Norwich.

Among the 50 acts to perform will be Thetford rapper, Franko Fraize, who is coming off the back of a massive year - with more expected to come.

Airplay on Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra for his track, Watch How I’m Moving, and the Youtube-fuelled success of video, Hand Me Downs, has put him on the brink of something big.

“This year could be make or break for me,” Franko says.

“It’s got to the point where I’m ready to go with everything - all the tracks are ready, I’ve got collaborations coming up and management on board. I’m just waiting to make it happen.”

A new video for track, Pedal Bike, was made with Stowmarket film-maker, Tom Cronin, and an EP is awaiting final mixes before a big push.

Having started out by collaborating with other producers, Franko, 26, is now making his own beats, building on his musical background as a drummer in several local bands.

Control over the whole product has helped him find his sound, he says.

“The new EP is mostly done in my bedroom, but without anyone else involved I could just put down exactly what I was thinking and feeling.

“I think it makes it more authentic, because I am not making grime or hip-hop beats, it’s just all me, it’s all Franko.”

Ironically, finding that sound has given him the confidence to go back in the studio with other producers, and collaborations with names such as Louis La Roche - whose work includes remixes of Gorillaz and The Chemical Brothers - are in the pipeline.

Following the Peel festival, Franko says he is hoping to put a band together and perform live more often.

Having climbed as far as he has so quickly, it might be worth getting a glimpse of him while you can.