Franciska is a composer, producer and podcast host. She creates her masterpieces by weaving eternal words of prayer into soulful guitar melodies. Raised in religious school and in musical academy, Franciska’s compositions reflect her commitment to bridging both worlds. Franciska started playing the piano at six years old. She began composing after she mastered the guitar at the young age of twelve. While studying in high school, she toured in the US and Europe with the musical ensemble Ilanit. Currently, Franciska is producing her 6th album from her own recording studio and offers her music production services to others. She performs at women only events and runs “Karaoke-Studio”, a latest trend at Bat-Mitzvahs. She hosts “The Franciska Show” Podcast, interviewing Jewish women in the arts and entertainment world.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I grew up in Moscow, Russia in a Rabbi’s family. My mother is American and my father is European. I attended the Jewish Day School my parents founded and I have been immersed in the arts from a very young age. I graduated from a children’s music school with a major in classical guitar. We got a comprehensive musical education including piano, music theory, history, choir and more. I always liked messing around on my instruments and making up my own melodies and riffs so I started to write music to Jewish texts (psalms, prayers) at the age of 8 or 9 after my mother challenged me to create something for a Sunday-home-school project she assigned. I took choreography and voice lessons as part of our school ensemble “Ilanit”. We had a few international tours and released 3 albums of mostly original music composed by our ensemble Director Zhana (Abigayil) Kruglyak (currently residing in Queens). As a child, my nickname for her was my “musical mom”. I feel like ever since those years on stage and hours in the recording studio, I had to continue after I graduated even though I would go onto studying Business at Touro College in New York while taking classes at Juilliard.
What inspired you to become a musician?
I wouldn’t call it inspired but more like a calling. A life without “the arts” I cannot imagine living. My role as a musician is ever evolving.
Where do you take your inspiration from when composing?
I feel like the right answer would be the pesukim I use for all of my songs. It is such a blessing that the melodies end up blending well, however the inspiration usually comes from events and impactful moments in my life as well as plain old practice. Like any other professional artist, one needs to work and work consistently to grow the craft. If I do not sit down to play or to compose, nothing would ever be created.
Do you believe a classical training is essential to be successful?
In short, no.
As Guy Raz from the NPR podcast of “How I built This” asks everyone he interviews. “Is it luck or hard work/talent that got you to where you are?” It usually is a combination of both.
So sometimes, artists are naturally exceptionally talented and if “luck” works to their advantage, the artists can become successful without ever learning to read a single note.
However, most artists aren’t discovered, endorsed and supported from the beginning. So whether they start out with a classical training from childhood or master it as an aftermath, the classical training will provide an environment to excel and have credibility as a professional musician.
Working with others is very often unavoidable (i.e. producers, sound engineers, musicians), so being able to communicate in the same language is beneficial as much as it is professional.
There is an old saying that says that You have to know the rules in order to break them properly. I think a classical foundation allows for this kind of exploration in music.
What is your favourite piece of music and why?
I don’t have a favorite piece of music. I would say depending on my mood, stage in life and experiences I love to access different pieces music to satisfy the emotional need.
How much do you practice in an average week?
Being a composer and music producer, my scales speed and technique is not something I have the luxury of focusing on. Sorry to be a little cliché, but as any other entrepreneur, I’ll say the world of art consumes me 24 hours a day. So, whether it’s communicating with clients, mixing a song, composing new music or preparing for a gig, I am always involved.
What are you currently working on?
I am focusing on growing my podcast audience, as well as releasing interviews weekly. For the first time, I am self producing my own music, so I’m busy with the production of my sixth album!
Which musician would you like to collaborate with next?
This is not fair! There are just too many. I am in the process of a few collaborations at this time. I’d love to collab with Shaindel Antelis, Nechama Cohen, Judith Gerzi, I’d love to collab again with Ariella Zeitlin.
What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?
Master your craft, be as professional as you can be.
How can our readers book you and where can they download your music?
My podcast can be accessed from any podcast app.
iPhone users can click here.
Computer users can click here.
If you would like to be interviewed on my podcast, please reach out here.
If you would like to hire my services to record a track/album please reach out here.
If you would like to book me for your Bat Mitzvah or other event for the “Karaoke-Studio” program please click here.
If you would like to hire me to perform (sharing my story and singing all original Jewish songs), please click here.