Kam Franklin

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Kam Franklin
Kam Franklin of The Suffers.jpg
Background information
Birth nameKamerra Franklin
Born (1987-06-07) June 7, 1987 (age 31)
OriginBryan–College Station, Bryan, Texas, U.S.
GenresSoul, R&B, Ska, Indie rock, Reggae, Hip hop, Americana
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Years active2005–present

Kamerra Franklin (born June 7, 1987[1]), known professionally as Kam Franklin, is an American singer-songwriter, activist, writer and motivational speaker. She is the known as the lead singer for the Houston Soul group, The Suffers.[2] She began her career as a backing vocalist and dancer, and has toured with Jim James and The Very Best.


Franklin's debut solo EP, Bamitskam, was released on June 12, 2008. The EP features appearances by Perseph One, the Buxleys, and Nicole Saxton.

Franklin is known for her soulful mezzo-soprano vocals,[Awards 1] as well as her collaborations with artists of many different genres,[3] including Houston rappers Z-Ro and Fat Tony (rapper), Americana-rocker Matthew Logan Vasquez of Delta Spirit , and famed drummer Chris Tsagakis of RX Bandits and The Sound of Animals Fighting.


2008–2017: Background career[edit]

Franklin was nominated for the 2008, 2009, and 2011 Houston Press Music Award for Best Female Vocalist. Franklin finally won the award in 2012, and again in 2014.[Awards 2][Awards 3] Her band, The Suffers, took home The 2012 Houston Press music award for "Best New Act" and Best Reggae/Ska/Dub.[Awards 4][Awards 5] Franklin won 2014 and 2015 Houston Press Music Award for Local Musician of the Year.[Awards 2][Awards 6]

Franklin was featured in a national advertising campaign for ModCloth[2] and has been featured in a BuzzFeed article on fashion for plus-sized women.[4][5]

Franklin was in Houston when Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017 and gave an account of it to the Texas Monthly newspaper.[6][7][8][9]


Her primary musical influences are drawn from soul, country, gospel, and reggae music.[10]


On August 28, 2016, she performed lead vocals on "I Against I" during the 2016 Afropunk Festival Power Jam alongside Bad Brains, Living Colour, and Fishbone.[11] She has performed with the Suffers on the Late Show with David Letterman,[12][13][14] The Daily Show[15] and Jimmy Kimmel Live!.[16][17] She sang the National Anthem before a Houston Astros game at Minute Maid Park in August 2017.[18]

Critical reception[edit]

Franklin is often praised for her "massive voice".[19][20] The Edmonton Journal applauded her "vibrant grooves and emphatic vocal declarations",[21] while 303 Magazine referred to her "highly personal style".[22] The Seattle Weekly called her "the epitome of a powerhouse vocalist".[23] The Idaho Statesman called her the band's "powerhouse singer".[24] JamBase said that Franklin and her band had become "WXPN Fan darlings".[25] Jewelry designer Jessie Dugan said that Franklin is the "contemporary vision of rockstar royalty in a world where women reign".[26] Houston Public Media stated that "the Suffers are fantastic, and everybody wants lead singer Kam Franklin to be their big sis/best friend".[12] The Houstonia magazine called her a "burgeoning Houston style icon"[15] with "engaging, high-energy style".[13] CultureMap.com said "While rocketing to fame, Franklin has become the band's style icon by pairing colorful dresses with hip cowboy boots and funky jewelry".[16] In a live concert review, the Houston Press said "The crowd roared with Franklin extra wispy, almost ready to let her arms and joints do all the talking for her".[27] Describing a duet with Clay Melton, Broadway World said: "Kam's soulful, sexy tones embellish the more raspy masculine voice of Clay Melton and together they lay down a track that begs a closer listen."[28] The New Orleans' Times-Picayune said "Singer Kam Franklin has enough soul to melt away the decades between the band's source material and today."[29] The San Diego Reader talked about her "sonic gravity".[30]

The Austin American-Statesman wrote: "Houston’s diversity and internationalism is reflected in my favorite H-Town bands. The Suffers, fronted by vocal powerhouse Kam Franklin, blend reggae, Mexican influences and hints of bayou Cajun sounds into a mix they call Gulf Coast soul. Khruangbin mixes surf pop and psychedelic sounds with Thai funk of the 1960s."[31]


Solo Studio albums[edit]

  • (2008) – Bamitskam (EP)[1]
  • (2018) – Nu Metals (EP)[1]

The Suffers[edit]

  • (2013) "Slow it Down" b/w "Step Aside" (single)
  • (2014) "Make Some Room" (EP)[23]
  • (2016) The Suffers (album)[32]
  • (2018) "Everything Here" (album)

Other appearances[edit]

  • 2009 – Nick Gaitan and The Umbrella Man – Self Titled
  • 2010 – RABDARGAB – Fat Tony (rapper) ("Not Now")
  • 2010 – Horse shoes and Hand Grenades – Nosaprise
  • 2011 – SCREWDARGAB Chopped-Up, Not Slopped Up by OG RON C – Fat Tony (rapper) ("Not Now")
  • 2011 – DisasterChris Tsagakis
  • 2011 – Revelator – Sideshow Tramps ("Revelator")
  • 2012 – 24KT GOLD – DIRTY AND NASTY Featuring Hollywood Floss
  • 2016 – Tomorrow Never Comes – Funk in the Trunk Featuring Neko
  • 2017 – Matthew Logan Vasquez – "Same"[33]
  • 2018 – Z-ro – "Hi Hater"
  • 2018 – La Mafia – "Enamorada"

Award references[edit]

  1. ^ Guerra, Joey (December 13, 2009). "Top Houston Discs of 2009". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "The 2014 Houston Press Music Award Winners". Houston Press. August 8, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  3. ^ Gray, Chris (August 9, 2012). "2012 Houston Press Music Award Winners". Houston Press. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  4. ^ Gray, Chris (August 9, 2012). "HPMA Ceremony Heavy With Winners, Light on Drama". Houston Press. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  5. ^ Gray, Chris (August 9, 2012). "2012 Houston Press Music Awards Recipients List". Houston Press. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  6. ^ Gray, Chris (August 21, 2015). "The 2015 Houston Press Music Award Winners". Houston Press. Retrieved August 21, 2017.


  1. ^ a b c Serrano, Shea (January 13, 2008). "Kam: Bamitskam EP". Houston Press. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Young, Erica (July 19, 2017). "Lead singer of The Suffers featured in national campaign". KPRC-TV. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  3. ^ Cress, Sara (March 14, 2008). "Underground with Kam". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  4. ^ Whelan, Nora (May 14, 2016). "This Woman Proves Plus-Size Fashion "Rules" Are Meant To Be Broken". BuzzFeed. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  5. ^ Cress, Sara (May 14, 2016). "Buzzfeed loves Suffers singer Kam Franklin". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  6. ^ Hardy, Michael (August 28, 2017). "Here's What It Was Like To Evacuate Houston During Hurricane Rita". Texas Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  7. ^ Caldwell, Brandon (August 29, 2017). "Houston Musicians Hit the Ground For Harvey Relief". Houston Press. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  8. ^ "Why didn't Houston evacuate before Harvey hit?". Fox News Channel. August 28, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  9. ^ Osberg, Molly (August 28, 2017). "'It's a Privilege to Evacuate': A Houston Native on Battling Harvey". Splinter News. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  10. ^ Seetharam, Tara (June 28, 2012). "Hurt So Good!". Modern Luxury. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  11. ^ Rosenberg, Axl (August 29, 2016). "Video: Bad Brains, Living Colour, and Fishbone Stage Awesome Megajam at Brooklyn's Afropunk Fest". MetalSucks.org. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  12. ^ a b "MIXTAPE: Kam Franklin, The Suffers – The frontwoman shares her mixtape. It gets emotional". Houston Public Media. October 5, 2016. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  13. ^ a b Nielsen, Sarah Rufca (April 1, 2015). "What The Suffers' Kam Franklin Wore on Letterman". Houstonia magazine. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  14. ^ Carpenter, Craig (September 25, 2015). "Gulf Coast Soul Returns to Charm New York". HuffPost. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Nielsen, Sarah Rufca (June 7, 2016). "Kam Franklin Is Not Afraid to Wear Yellow (or Anything Else)". Houstonia magazine. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Pugh, Clifford (March 9, 2016). "The Suffers go national again, but lead singer Kam Franklin is just a 'boot lady' at heart". CultureMap.com. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  17. ^ Vaziri, Aidin (June 6, 2017). "The Suffers bring Gulf Coast soul to SFJazz". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  18. ^ Hlavaty, Craig (August 24, 2017). "The Suffers' Kam Franklin prepares to achieve rare Houston performance feat". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  19. ^ "The Suffers – On Tour". WHYY-FM. Philadelphia. May 12, 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  20. ^ Sharp, Elliott (May 7, 2015). "The Suffers: The Big Band That Wowed Letterman". Red Bull. New York City. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  21. ^ Levesque, Roger (July 21, 2017). "Soul and funk can't be denied for The Suffers". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  22. ^ Wrenn, Colin (August 9, 2017). "Review – Telluride Jazz Fest Brought Hot Funk Despite Cold Rain". 303 Magazine. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  23. ^ a b Podplesky, Azaria C. (February 17, 2015). "Live Tonight: Gregory Alan Isakov, The Suffers". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  24. ^ Deeds, Michael (November 3, 2016). "Canceled at Alive After Five, The Suffers feelin' good about Sunday concert". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  25. ^ Krolick, Jake (August 4, 2017). "Dancing Beside The Delaware River: XPoNential Music Festival 2017 – Review & Photos". jambase.com. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  26. ^ Nielsen, Sarah Rufca (February 22, 2017). "Meet Kam Franklin's Favorite Houston Jewelry Designer". Houstonia magazine. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  27. ^ Caldwell, Brandon (November 28, 2016). "The Suffers Give Back to Houston With Yet Another Star-Making Turn". Houston Press. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  28. ^ "Clay Melton Premieres Music Video for 'Wind & Wave'". Broadway World. August 25, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  29. ^ Rawls, Alex (April 24, 2016). "New Orleans Jazz Fest 2016: 6 important, smaller acts for Weekend 2". The Times-Picayune. New Orleans. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  30. ^ Monk, Barnaby (February 25, 2015). "Deap Vally rawk, Gulf Coast soul, Six Organs psych-out". San Diego Reader. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  31. ^ Stith, Deborah Sengupta (September 1, 2017). "The magnificent diversity of Houston shines through its music". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  32. ^ Payne, Chris (January 7, 2016). "Keep Warm Through the Winter With New Retro Soul Jam From the Suffers: 'Peanuts' Premiere". Billboard. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  33. ^ Brennan, Collin (January 27, 2017). "Matthew Logan Vasquez amplifies his agitation on new solo single "Same"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved August 21, 2017.

External links[edit]