“Sometimes I’ll make a decision and I won’t know why at the time, but then a song comes out of it. I tried imagining what life would be like not to be a songwriter but that’s just who I am,” says Layla Frankel, whose debut EP showcases her vocals and lyrics in the “Americana/Soul” style.
She’s a strong young woman with decades of experience. From the age of three she was performing onstage and recording with her father, Chicago- based children’s music entertainer, Joel Frankel. As a pre-teen Layla joined the renowned Chicago Children’s Choir where she gained a strong musical foundation. She later moved on to front big bands and jazz combos singing from the Great American Songbook, while getting formal training at University Of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. “While I adored, and adore, the classic singers such as Carmen MacRae, Nancy Wilson, and Ella FitzGerald, I needed to write my own songs for my own instrument, my voice. What felt most comfortable was in the Americana, Blues, and Soul genres. While I sing the standards professionally and love when I can get in a gospel vein, I get the most satisfaction from having a song come to me and shaping and nurturing it until it feels just right.”
Each song comes not only from craft but life. In the fall of 2015, Layla took a backpack and her Little Martin guitar and went sightseeing/volunteering in Europe for four months with the goal of meeting interesting people, experiencing other cultures and landscapes, and taking a hiatus from musical pursuits. “I grew up in Chicago and love it but sometimes I just have to get away. To do something different, feel something different. I needed to gain some distance from music to see if my heart was really in it.” Of course she didn’t stay away long; in the Spring of 2016, a two- month long hike along the Israel National Trail became the catalyst for finally assembling a handful of her best songs into the compact disc collection, Tame The Fox, a title inspired by the book The Little Prince, which she carried with her on the trail.
Sound engineer Josh Richter recorded Tame the Fox at Victorian Recording in Barrington, IL and Frankel produced and arranged all of the tracks. The EP features multi-instrumentalist Dave Hiltebrand on almost all of the guitar tracks as well as bass guitar on the whole record. Robert Rashid handled drums, while Eddie Ganet played keys.
Layla played rhythm guitar on the tracks “Tenderly” and “If I Had the Words” and performed all of the vocals, including overdubs and harmonies.
Layla Frankel currently lives in Nashville, TN and performs both locally and nationally. As always, she continues to find inspiration in her surroundings and has been hard at work writing a new collection of songs in her new city.