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Michael Franks

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La Jolla, California, USA (1973 – present)

Michael Franks (born 18 September 1944 in La Jolla, California, USA) is a smooth jazz singer and songwriter from the United States. He has recorded with a variety of well-known artists, such as Patti Austin, Brenda Russell, Art Garfunkel, and David Sanborn. His songs have been recorded by The Manhattan Transfer, Patti LaBelle, Carmen McRae, Diana Krall, Shirley Bassey and the Carpenters.

Franks grew up in southern California with his father Gerald, his mother Betty and younger sister Christine who is the mother of Connor Sullivan (The lead singer of The Royal Nonesuch). Although no one in his family played music, his parents loved swing music and his early influences included Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Johnny Mercer. At age 14 Franks bought his first guitar, a Japanese Marco Polo for $29.95 with six private lessons included - the only music education that he received.

At University High in Irvine, Franks discovered the poetry of Theodore Roethke with his off-rhymes and hidden meter. In high school, he began singing folk-rock, accompanying himself on guitar. Studying English at UCLA Michael discovered Dave Brubeck, Patti Page, Stan Getz, João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Miles Davis. He never studied music in college or later, but earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA in comparative literature in 1966 and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Oregon in 1968.

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