Anyone who is familiar with soul band The Suffers will know, first and foremost, that their front-woman is one powerhouse of a singer. When the group was on stage for their Bands + Brews session, Kam Franklin gave a typically passionate, and equally unforgettable, performance. Her voice is so thunderous, rattling and attention-grabbing that it was simply impossible not to be drawn to her. Needless to say, it was one hell of a show.
So, it was no surprise that when we spoke with her before The Suffers' performance, it was clear how grateful she was for her newfound, fulfilling life of being a musician. "We're having the time of our lives," she told us, "Every time that we get to perform in front of anybody, or introduce somebody new to our music, it is the best day." However, it wasn't always this way. Franklin opened up to us about what her life used to be like before finally becoming a professional musician. "It's Thursday - I remember what I used to do on Thursdays," she began. "I would pray for four or five o'clock, six o'clock, whenever I got out of my old job, so that I could immediately go to the bar and forget about what I'd been doing the last twelve hours." Thankfully, that routine seems to be a thing of the past now, because, as she put it, "I never get that sense of 'ugh, I've been making music that I love all day long. I've gotta go and drink my pain and sorrows away.'"
The Suffers identify their sound as Gulf Coast Soul, or music inspired by cities that surround the Gulf of Mexico. However, don't think that The Suffers are just your average vintage soul band! Their sound takes influence from a wide variety of genres embedded in the culture of the Gulf Coast, like R&B and reggae. Franklin also talked with us about the band's desire to not be pigeonholed into a more easily understandable label. "I get really bored when people just assume we're doing some kind of vintage soul music We wanna change people's thinking when it comes to the music that's from Texas." Hopefully, our Bands + Brews Session with The Suffers will help them do just that when it goes up tomorrow.
The Suffers are...
Houston's award-winning 8-piece ensemble that have redefined the sound of Gulf Coast Soul. Established in 2011, The Suffers lineup was curated by bassist Adam Castaneda and vocalist/keyboardist Pat Kelly, who brought on trumpet player Jon Durbin, trombonist Michael Razo, guitarist Kevin Bernier, percussionist Jose "Chapy" Luna, and drummer/vocalist Nick Zamora filled out the rhythm section, while frontwoman Kam Franklin topped off the group with soaring vocals.
The last 2 years have brought the band to new heights, as they played 300+ shows across North America, visited NPR in Washington, DC for a Tiny Desk Concert, made their national television debut on Late Show With David Letterman, and officially released their much anticipated self-titled album followed by performances on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
This year they will embark on their first international tour and spread the sweet sound of Gulf Coast Soul across the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Australia. The Suffers have quickly progressed from packing Houston venues to accepting invitations nationally for featured performances at notable festivals and events, all while still remaining a local Houston favorite, accepting 23 Houston Press Music Awards in the last four years.