Farrah Franklin Talks New Music, Destiny’s Child & Life After the Limelight [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
It's been 15 years since Destiny's Child fans said hello and goodbye to Farrah Franklin. She was the sixth member to join the Houston-bred quartet after LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson were dismissed after their two-year stint with Destiny's Child -- the group initially formed in 1990 as Girl's Tyme, but was signed to Columbia Records under their famed sobriquet in 1996 -- and Michelle Williams secured the first newly opened spot.
Franklin hopped aboard the D.C. train when she was cast as an extra in the group's 1999 video for "Bills, Bills, Bills." At the time, she was in a group of her own called Jane Doe, but that seemed to be going anywhere but up. So when Mathew Knowles offered Farrah a place in what's now known as America's highest-selling girl group, the only thing to say was, "Yes!" The Iowa-born singer went on to appear in two major videos with Destiny's Child -- "Say My Name" and "Jumpin', Jumpin" -- while also lending her vocals to singles like "8 Days of Christmas," "Independent Women" and several tracks on the deluxe edition of Writings on the Wall. Unfortunately, her time with the Grammy Award-winning ensemble didn't last past a mere seven months.
As rumors circulated about the singer's dismissal, Beyonce made an attempt to clear things up by making a statement pertaining to Farrah's lack of interest in the group. But now, 15 years later, Franklin is back with her own music and ready to set the record straight.
While she sits in her Atlanta home, reminiscing about her days in sunny California where winter doesn't exist, she recounts her time with Destiny's Child, her life in the entertainment industry at 18 years old and embracing a solo career but loving the camaraderie of group situations. Now she's heading into the end of 2015 with a new single, "Magic & Make Up." The song is both introspective and relatable with lyrics that hit home. "They only show you what they want to, ain't always reality," she sings. Read on as she opens up to The Boombox about her new music, what life would be like if music was never an option and her storied past.
The Boombox: Your new single, "Magic & Make Up," sounds very reflective of what you’ve gone through in the music industry over the past decade. Is there a specific story that goes along with the song?
Farrah: That’s pretty much it. But it’s not just my story. Everyone has their own story to tell. Being women and we have to go through the tugging the pulling the pressing the hair, [but] at the end of the day we just want to find someone that’s gonna love us for us.
So what's been the magic and makeup for you?
It’s a job like anything else, [but] what people don’t see a lot of the time is when the cameras aren’t rolling when someone is acting or dancing or onstage or whatever entertainment someone does -- those are usually private moments, and sometimes people are fortunate enough to get those and sometimes [they] take advantage of those situations. I wasn’t prepared. I was 18 when I joined Destiny’s Child. They see the three minutes of the video; they don’t see the two days of shooting or 32 hours [of work]. They see three minutes.
Watch Farrah Franklin's "Magic and Make Up" Video
Since you mentioned Destiny's Child, what made you decide to place an old photo of the four of you together in your new video?
Honestly, that wasn’t my decision. I’m obviously paying for it now. The song is a reflection in itself of moments in my life. I would think that’s why my director put it in there.
A lot of people want to know what happened between you and Destiny's Child? You joined them in '99. Things were going well in 2000, then everyone was like, "What happened to Farrah?"
It’s hard to just say what happened. It was really management. [They] didn’t handle things properly [is] how I was feeling. I was 18 years old, so I didn’t have that many people I could go to for advice and talk to. There were things happening that I didn’t approve of; there were things happening that they weren’t happy about; there were rumors put out that I was missing shows and I’ve never missed a show, ever. It’s unfortunate that it happened the way it did, but I don’t harbor any feelings.
Even though it’s not as long as you would have hoped, you still got an amazing opportunity. Are you grateful for the experience that was given to you?
Oh, absolutely. How could I not be?
Watch Destiny's Child's "Say My Name" Video
So now you're working on your new project. How long has that been in the works?
Lord knows I’ve been wanting to do this for years now. It was about getting with the right team that can help me get to where I need to be [so] I can just be creative. I’ve been in Atlanta now for about a year, and I’ve been working on songs for maybe six or seven months. But I haven’t finished yet. I might even do more [songs]. I get excited when I work with good people.
With the talent that's out now, is there a specific lane your music fits in or anyone that you think would be direct competition?
I honestly don’t consider myself having a lane because I like all types of music. I’m an R&B junkie. I’ve been that my whole life. But, I have some songs that are I guess you can consider them alternative, pop, some songs that are ratchet, some trap beats. I just like good music. I like seeing people smile because of my music.
If music and entertainment no longer become an option, what career path would you want to play out?
I would be a chef! That’s like my secret weapon. I even have an Instagram page called @SexyChefFarrah. I love cooking. I’ve been doing it forever. I’m the oldest for 14 brothers and sisters.
From when you first stepped into the industry to now, do you have any regrets or things you wish you could do differently?
There’s nothing that I would want to do over in my career. In my personal life, I kind of wish I would have went to college. I didn’t get to experience that.
Have you ever thought about going back?
I’ve definitely thought about taking some classes, especially now since we have all this online [stuff]... And I’m pretty sure I will be doing that. [I'll probably take] psychology. I was already interested in [that], and taking a few classes for it.
Watch Destiny's Child's "Jumpin', Jumpin'" Video
See 20 Reasons Why We Need the Old Destiny's Child Back