Who couldn’t use a warm hug these days? With the constant stream of bad news and lack of social interaction, there’s no doubt we are all getting a little lonely and discouraged. As people are turning to the internet to fill their minds, artists are using live streams as a way to reach out to their fans possibly making some new ones in the process.
Kam Franklin, the charismatic lead singer of The Suffers, is offering what she does best every Saturday night with her live streams on Facebook and Instagram. The gifted singer’s rich voice and mesmerizing presence provides the warm hug we could all use right now on what used to be the busiest night in the city.
Her live streams have been a breath of fresh air for fans stuck at home and a great opportunity to see the front woman in all of her glory. “It's a new era for folks and folks are just trying to figure out how to get in touch with people,” says Franklin.
Franklin has found herself quickly forced to learn how to reach people and navigate the technical equipment needed to be able to offer a quality show, a process she admits has not been easy or seamless. “They've been very, very terrifying and hard to figure out. There's been constant room for improvement.”
“I'm just hoping to keep going in that direction until I’m allowed to go back to my regular life. I'm really trying to use the time right now to focus on things that I can control and enrich myself with.” She says the experience has only made her more grateful for professionals in production, the help she has received from friends acting as tech support and for the opportunity to perform.
The Suffers initially performed a live stream from Franklin’s home including most of the band members in her renovated living room which they have fittingly named The Suffers Sequin Sanctuary. “It's been amazing to be able to finally show off this sequin hoarding that I've been doing for years,” laughs Franklin.
In order to continue performing in the safest way possible, the front woman decided to take it solo and uses recorded audio tracks to create her set list. Though she’s performing at home with her roommate serving as camerawoman, the vibe and love of her entire band can be felt through the screen. Oftentimes band mates can be seen answering questions or making comments during the performance.
When Franklin recently performed "Gwan" it was easy to close your eyes and imagine the full band on stage. The singer never skimps on professionalism or stage presence and delivers the same high level of performance she did when performing the song on the stage of the David Letterman show back in 2015 despite being at home.
One of the qualities that has made The Suffers so lovable is their overwhelming positive energy and the love that resonates from them on and off of the stage. Their songs always make people feel good but now seem to carry an extra weight of light trying to push its way through darkness. When Franklin requests more space in "Make Room" it carries an entirely different meaning in the current situation we are all in.
“We are in good spirits,” says Franklin of her and her band mates. “Surprisingly or not surprisingly, I don't know. We are just constantly figuring out ways that we can do a better job, not only on the live stream side but as a brand and as a business. We are steamrolling ahead with our third album right now.”
Franklin has mixed it up week after week, playing deep cuts and paying tribute to recently lost musical legends Bill Withers and John Prine. She even provided a glimpse into what may turn out to be the first single, “Take Me To The Good Times”, from their upcoming album It Starts With Love, It Ends With Love.
“We’re not really ready for everybody to hear studio versions because they are very special. I love them but at the same time we want to keep a little bit of mystery and have folks excited for the new songs,” says Franklin.
Franklin describes the new album as "All over the place, in true Suffers style but with a focus on the musicianship, the arrangement and the delivery.” She and her band mates have been whittling down from a whopping 70 demos to a now selected batch of 21 songs which they will continue to comb through.
“We’ve taken our time and we've put a lot of just everything into this. We’re excited to go into this next generation of The Suffers,” says Franklin. She assures that fans will be pleasantly surprised and impressed with the collaborations the album will feature, though she remained tight-lipped on the artists who will appear.
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While tuning in to live streams is free, viewers are always encouraged to donate if they can. “For the ones that can give, I’m so grateful for it and the ones that can’t give but they want to share, that to me is just as impactful as paying,” says Franklin.
“We’re focusing on this new direction and it’s a very new era of the band, not only with personnel but the way that we sound. I can’t wait for people to hear these songs because the stuff I’m doing on the live stream is such a small representation of how far we’ve come,” she says.
Adding, “I’m enjoying doing them, it’s allowing me to keep my chops up and giving me something to look forward to every week. I hope that people continue to stay inspired and encouraged during this time and to keep their heads up."