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Meet Josh Frankowski

Today we’d like to introduce you to Josh Frankowski.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I moved to LA in the summer of 2017 after having a quarter life crisis in theatre school in Chicago! I was pursuing my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music theatre and two years in I fell out of love with the craft and was becoming a person that I hated and I was the most depressed that I had ever been. I dropped out, moved back home to Arizona for a few months and tried to figure out what the next step was. I grew up in Mesa, Arizona home of the LDS and Republicans who craved cheap Mexican food.(LOL) I grew up with a very supportive family. A mother and a father who had gone THROUGH it in their early years. I blame them now for how chaotic I am! I won’t go into too much detail, but my parent’s lives could defiantly be turned into a “clearance bin” horror movie. Alas, both of them just getting out of terrible marriages to find each other in a community theatre production of “Grease” where their love first kindled. My parents were/are both very musically inclined people. Both have fantastic voices, but put on their “9 to 5” shoes and worked hard to create a comfortable living atmosphere for my sisters and I.

Growing up, they encouraged us in the arts and I was singing my face off for as long as I can remember. I took voice lessons, choir, acting, I did shows, wrote songs here and there and eventually ended up going to college for it! My junior year of high school my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. The way my mother handled that situation still blows my mind. I will look up to her before anyone else. That entire timeline, between the surgeries, the treatments, the anxiety she must have been feeling she just kept smiling. She never let anyone step in her way of recovery nor let us be sad about it. “I’m going to make it” she would say and I always believed her and I can’t thank her enough for everything she has done for me. My father also made a very strong recovery during this time. Towards the end of my mother’s cancer he had an unexpected heart attack. He also never was negative towards us about it and he came back stronger and healthier than ever.

Anyway, sob story is done(for now)! Oh also, I’m gay. Coming out in Mesa, Arizona felt like national news and it WAS. The second I came out in summer of 2015 I was overwhelmed with love and also hate. I’m also VERY dramatic. I look back now and I made the situation bigger than it had to be. Granted, Mesa has literally no culture and homosexuality was not looked at very fondly. I grew up in a church where homosexuals were looked as a step below heterosexuals, which the standard for most churches during my childhood. I don’t blame my parents for raising me this way. However, it is probably why I’m a little more reckless now… ANYWAY, onto to LA. Like I mentioned before I went to college in Chicago from 2015-2017. It was easily the worst two years of my life. I did not feel like myself. I wasn’t getting better at my craft and I definitely was losing my passion. I was burnt out. Training to be a Broadway robot from 8am-11pm every Monday-Friday was just not it for me. The second semester of my sophomore year I had a full-on breakdown and just decided I was going to drop out and move to LA. Mind you, I had literally ZERO clue how I was going to do it I just knew I had to get out of the toxic environment in Chicago. My class actually just graduated recently and I’m so proud of them for sticking through and I hope they are all happy as they are extremely talented and were great people.

So, my dad picked me up in Chicago and we DROVE all the way back to Arizona. The entire time I felt like I had made a mistake and can’t believe what I had just gotten myself into. I spent my summer in Arizona working to try and save up money to be able to move. It wasn’t until July where I randomly came across an audition for Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights. Being so desperate to move out here I did my research on the haunt. I also HATE scary things and movies so I was so desperate. My dad used some of his flying points and got me over there to audition for it. Somehow in all this crazy mess I booked it and had to be in LA by the first week of August for orientation! I was working at Starbucks which my manager was nice enough to let me transfer to my current store here in LA. The first week of August I kissed Mesa goodbye and my mom and I headed out to LA to find me a place. This was CHAOS! Finding a place to live in this stupid city is ridiculous and so stressful. Everything kept falling through that week, my roommate wasn’t approved for our dream place and I had literally one night to find a place at this point. I was in a Facebook group for artist housing in LA and somehow I refreshed the page and a place in our price range popped up! I moved in there the next day. This began my journey of working at both Universal Studios and Starbucks, while also hustling a few Postmates here and there! With my trusty 2008 Ford Focus and three jobs I felt unstoppable. I was making rent, I was happy, I was making incredible friends it felt almost too good to be true. After Horror Nights had ended I joined a caroling company for the holiday season. We would sing at retirement homes, events, and most importantly really drunk and rich people’s houses Orange County!

At this point, I had left my first housing situation and had moved into a room with one of my friends to reduce costs and such. After caroling ended, I really wanted to start seriously writing songs again and I was inspired by a lot of my friends who I had met so far who were working musicians. It was hard to write at home. So many people lived in that house and sharing a room with someone is always difficult no matter how good of friends you are. Most of my first songs I wrote in LA I had to start in my car and try to sneak sessions in when nobody was home. From this I had about three songs I wasn’t completely embarrassed of and I decided I wanted them to be heard. My first gig ever was at a bar in no other than Downtown LA across the block from skid row. There were literally four people there. This didn’t discourage me. I was so nervous as this was the first time I was going to be singing songs that I wrote myself in front of people. It went very well. I felt so high after I finished my set and the four people there really loved my songs and my voice! The singer who booked me is now a friend of mine and she has let me perform at a few other gigs in downtown and I thank her for support and everything she is doing for aspiring musicians.

A few of the other musicians there got my information and I did a writing session or two with some of them. This all happened in February, March 1st of 2018 was my twenty-first birthday and I went WILD! Although I work very hard, I do need my nights out. I am a very social person and bar and club settings are exactly my vibe and where I am the most alive. Anyway, during this time I had been looking for more gigs/writing songs and just trying to figure out where I was going to go with my music. I jokingly put on my Instagram story “who wants to start a band?” and my good friend Angelica reached out and we started a project together over the next few months. We called ourselves the “Crying Cosmos” and we were going for a Cranberries/The Marias vibe with a splash of Lana Del Rey. We took two of our songs into the studio and promoted the hell out of them. Over the months we would rehearse, we did shows here and there and tried our best to make work with what we have. The both us still love the music we made, but we have started our own solo projects. Before the end of 2018, I met two lovely people at one of my friend’s birthday parties.

All of us were aspiring singers/songwriters so it was such healthy and lovely conversations. Marcella and Cam are now both of my close friends and they even helped me out with my most current song “Heaven Knows.” Being in the studio with them was such a breath of fresh air and I finally feel like I’m morphing into the artist I want to be when I work with them. I also have no idea what I’m doing. I’m hitting my two years in LA this coming August. My life has completely changed. From dealing with crackheads at my day job to dying my hair pink, to dealing with boys, being poor, anxiety, depression, etc. I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I have the best people in the world surrounding me. So thankful for, Sidne, Grace, Nicole, Sierra, Aubrie, Tanner, Julia, any so so many more people for keeping me grounded and being in my life.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not been a smooth road! You have to stay positive though. I’d say the biggest struggles I have had since moving to LA have been money, mental health and trusting other people. ALTHOUGH! LA cliches aside, car troubles are the devil. Recently my car’s water pump broke and caused my engine to overheat and smoke! Triple A abandoned me on this journey and I had to drive my car that could have caught on fire to the dealership to get a new car. Also, survival jobs can eat away at your mental health. The array of people I deal with working at a coffee shop in Hollywood is beyond me. One minute I’m fighting a tweaker who is harassing guests and the next minute I’m customizing a drink for a Vanderpump! At the beginning of the year, I witnessed a man jump through our cafe’s window… I also briefly worked as a fuzzy character for at a theme park to make some extra money and the costume was almost 80 lbs weighing on my shoulders and the suit was so hot that had have two portable fans attached to us that would usually die mid-set. We were also advised that my certain suit had sent people on medical leave… What we do for $15 an hour…

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a musician! A singer mostly. I want the music I make feel the way other artist’s music impacts me. I feel like I have something to say and I hope that I can at least be an outlet for one person out there! Everything I have done out here has been basically for free. I’m so grateful that people believe in me and just want to make art with me. The most I’ve spent was buying food and drinks for the people in my music video. I’m known for somehow making it work even though I have literally no money… I’m proud of myself for sticking through all of this even with all my obstacles. I feel like a lot of musicians/singers/artists nowadays are so worried about numbers and streams and I just want to make art because it makes me happy and I want to make others happy.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
By the end of this year, I made a goal for myself to at least be an opening act for a local tour/LA tour of some sort. I just want to be singing and making music more than I am able to right now with all my side jobs.

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