FrankHaveMercy is ready to step from behind-the-scenes and into the limelight as his own recording artist. Kicking off his career doing photography, shooting for the likes of Nipsey Hussle and Kendrick Lamar, the Los Angeles-based creative shifted to creative direction and design until he landed on music — where his true love and passion resides.
FrankHaveMercy states, “To be quite honest, I want to be one of the biggest artists in the world. That’s my motivation for waking up in the morning or going through life.”
Born and raised in the church, FrankHaveMercy has been surrounded by music his entire life. Growing up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the same town that birthed J. Cole and Morray, Frank fondly remembers playing the drums in the church. He was also into fashion and sports, specifically basketball, before joining the army.
Most recently, FrankHaveMercy unveiled his new single titled “Tuesdays.”
Sheen spoke with FrankHaveMercy in downtown Los Angeles to discuss his time in the military, background in music, studio essentials, his sound, goals, and more!
When and why did you come to LA?
I came here in 2016. I literally moved out here the day after I got out of the army. I had a couple friends out here. I had a homie named DavidWeeks, that’s the homie. I’d come out here and crash on his couch. I just met people through that. This just seemed the best spot to rest my head at after I got out.
You picked up the camera while in the military?
Yes, I went to Afghanistan in 2013 to 2014. I came back and was a little detached from everything, a little culture shocked after being over there for so long. I just picked up a camera because I was following photographers when I was in Afghanistan, taking a bunch of pictures on this little iPhone 4 or 5. When I got back, I said I’ma fuck around with the camera. I was traveling to different cities. I was stationed in Texas, so I’d go to Austin, Houston and Dallas. I’d try to go to events like SXSW. Then I started going to New York and Chicago, literally to take pictures on the weekends.
Did you think you’d be fire at it?
Not really. I said I’ma get a fire camera, so the pics will be cool. I never saw myself — I ended up shooting Nike and Adidas campaigns. I shot Nip and Kendrick before, been to all these sessions. It was crazy.
How did you end up linking with Nipsey?
MixedbyAli. I met MixedByAli through this guy named Dan, who was working for Zanerobe at the time. Now he’s one of the cofounders of EngineEars with MixedbyAli. He connected us and Ali said “man, I want to document the process.” He had been mixing all of TDE’s records in-house for years, so I’d just hang out in the studio.
I sat through all the Victory Lap mixing, that’s how I got to meet Nip. I sat through the DAMN. album mixing, just got to meet a bunch of different artists and that’s when it started to open my eyes to the music industry. I felt like I shared a lot of the same characteristics with a lot of the people that were big in music, which made me say alright, I think it’s something I can pursue.
How did you learn how to record?
Just being around all those people, you end up forming relationships. I was able to ask one of my homies if he knew any producers I could get in with, and he connected me. The first guy I ever recorded with is still who I record with every time till this day. I always feel that that was destiny a little bit.
You just released “Tuesdays,” who or what inspired this record?
The title is the producer, his name’s Tuesdays. I thought it’d be cool. The file was Tuesday for the longest and when it came out, I said I’m going to keep it like that because I like the name. The actual inspiration was more a day in the life type of vibe. Sometimes, my music is really deep and it’s hard for some people to digest it, especially if they’re more into the current state of hip hop. I was trying to make a song that was easily digestible, riding the beat and flowing.
Was that your girl in the video?
Ha. [laughs] That’s a funny question. That’s not my girl, but I like her. She’s cool.
What is it you want fans to get from your music, your story?
From the music specifically, I want it to be those sounds you could really live to. The things you wake up to, the music you turn on late at night when you’re by yourself. The music you wanna smoke to, or even when you’re walking and going somewhere. Music people can really live to, and they really cling to.
As far as my story, if I had to put a theme on it, that you could really do anything you want to do. But you really gotta be diligent and put the work in, can’t just hop into some shit willy-nilly. I don’t know anybody that works really hard who isn’t successful. That’s the result of hard work.
3 things you need in the studio?
I definitely need an engineer. A fire engineer is the key to a good record, that’s one thing I learned being around MixedbyAli. He takes those records to another level. An engineer is probably the most underrated person in the music industry. That’s definitely a necessity. Some weed is good to chill, and a TV. I like to have movies on when I record. Other variables would be some liquor. I don’t really like having a bunch of people in the studio. I’m more of a me and my engineer lock in type of guy.
How’s the independent grind?
You know how the indy grind is, it’s a slow and steady grind. To me, it’s really rewarding though, because anything that happens as a result of the work you put in is all you and your team. It’s rewarding. It’s tough, I’m not gonna sit here and act like it’s super easy. I enjoy it because I have control over everything. I got a lot of homies that are on labels and in situations who can’t really choose what they want to do. That takes the love out of it. I’m enjoying it, it’s cool.
How would you describe your sound? What sets you apart from other artists?
I’ve grown to really like my voice a lot. It’s unique in a sense that it feels nostalgic, a little eerie. It sounds familiar, but it also makes somebody be like “who is this?” Some good nostalgic feels. I pick really good soundscapes, the sounds that surround my voice. Just the atmosphere and the world within It.
Goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
To be quite honest, I want to be one of the biggest artists in the world. That’s my motivation for waking up in the morning or going through life. I am taking baby steps. It’d be cool to perform at a big festival like Lollapalooza or Rolling Loud. I’d like to open up for a bigger artist on tour. I’ve been doing shows, it’s been going well. I’d like to have a family one day, that’d be cool too.
Something fans may not know about you?
I was in the army. I dedicated my life to basketball before I even went into the army. My whole childhood was dedicated to that. I went to a private Christian school for one year, where there were literally 30 people in the whole high school. I’m very compassionate. I look a little mean, but I’m a normal guy from a small town. I enjoy doing the most normal activities. Conversation is my most favorite thing to do, just to sit and talk to people. That’s how I learn the most.
What can we expect next?
This interview fasho. Visuals, more music. New project at the top of the year, and hopefully opening a tour for an A-list artist.