Griffith Frank Offers Music with a Message
Griffith Frank Delivers a Plaintive Call to Action in the Aftermath of Loss
If you've ever lingered in the shadow of what-ifs following the loss of a loved one, then the plaintive lyrics and earnest vulnerability of Griffith Frank's new single, "Reach Out," will speak directly to you, as it did to me. In the aftermath of a personal tragedy, this award-winning singer and multiplatinum songwriter relies upon what he knows best to impart a message of healing: meaningful lyrics and emotionally compelling vocals. Ultimately, the tune is also one of hope.
Griffith grew up in a musical family, the son of David Frank, a songwriter, pianist, and music producer who has worked with high profile artists such as Christina Aguilera, Chaka Khan, Billy Idol, and Phil Collins. But make no mistake: Griffith Frank is a talent in his own right. His mesmerizing voice reminds me favorably of George Michael, Josh Groban, and Sam Smith.
In 2010, Griffith was a featured soloist on the soundtrack of the Golden Globe-nominated motion picture Nine, receiving special praise from People magazine for his rendition of "Unusual Way." Additionally, Griffith has appeared at major venues across the globe, including as a featured artist at the renown Jakarta Java Jazz Festival. Between his vocal finesse and uncanny ability to lyrically capture raw emotions, Griffith Frank is a rising star.
Griffith co-wrote the poignant song, "Reach Out," with two friends, Esteban Calderón and Caitlin Timmins. He tapped into his own experience of losing a childhood friend to an overdose. Some people in his friend's inner circle believe both depression and addiction were involved. Griffith goes back and forth about the use of such terms. Due to privacy concerns for the friend's family, we are referring to Griffith's friend as "Tom."
Although Griffith lost his friend a decade ago, the singer relates the experience as "a pain that never goes away." Griffith describes "Reach Out" as a call to action for anyone facing a personal crisis too big to manage alone. "The point of the song is to appeal to people who are hurting to reach out to others," he explained. His message acquires additional urgency when you consider that one in seven Americans will face substance addiction at some point in their lifetimes.1 Similarly, nearly half of all Americans will struggle with mental illness2. Given the stigma that still exists, it isn't always easy to reach out for help. Griffith wants to help break down the barriers that keep people from talking to others when they are hurting.
The Personal Tragedy That Inspired the 2019 Single, "Reach Out"
In the decade since his friend died, Griffith has journeyed through the depths of grief to a place of compassion and healing. Through "Reach Out," he shares his feelings of loss and offers consolation to others that they are not alone. "Going over the emotions is cathartic," he discloses.
Griffith first met his friend, Tom, at age three. He and Tom were neighbors and grew up together, enjoying the same musical tastes. Tom, he recalls, always seemed liked the "cool" kid to him. He was an idea person, had a passion for horror films, and sought a career in film making. Tom also lifted up loved ones in a way that left them feeling valued and supported. However, his friend was reluctant to seek key emotional support from others.
Unfortunately, a façade of drinking and partying camouflaged Tom's personal demons, and Tom went to great lengths to hide his personal demons. "There were brief moments when I could tell he was deeply struggling, but he'd dismiss it, laugh it off. Instead of looking further, I naïvely believed that he was alright," Griffith said.
In retrospect, the singer surmises that his long-time friend attempted to handle his battles with addiction and mental health primarily on his own. He kept his drug withdrawal symptoms private and allayed friends' concerns via dismissive responses that he simply wasn't feeling well. Griffith wishes he could have done more to help.
As Griffith's song references, Tom died alone in his apartment one New Year's Eve. Friends hadn't heard from him, and Tom's stepfather discovered the young man unresponsive.
You might assume you're alone in struggling with a problem, but you don't know who might also be affected. If you are hurting, it's important to reach out for help. Know that the feelings are okay, that it's acceptable to discuss hurting. Hurting is part of being human.— Griffith Frank, singer-songwriter
Survivorship: Making Sense of Personal Loss
As is customary with tragic losses, Tom's unexpected passing launched a period of grief for his friends and loved ones, punctuated by confusion and regret. Survivors ruminate; that's what they do in their efforts to make sense of senseless tragedies like Tom's death. "Reach Out" accordingly alludes to missing the signs and second-guessing oneself:
After all this time
I keep replaying those days
You said that you were fine
Griffith, however, is a survivor with a life-affirming message. He offers experience-based encouragement to listeners who are grappling with personal issues and those in a position to potentially lend support. While he understands that a person in crisis ultimately owns the decision of whether to accept help, the singer hopes to inspire conversation and connection among us all.
"You might assume you're alone in struggling with a problem, but you don't know who might also be affected. If you are hurting, it's important to reach out for help," he said. "Know that the feelings are okay, that it's acceptable to discuss hurting. Hurting is part of being human." Additionally, he notes that if you recognize that a friend or loved one could be having emotional difficulty, then "don't assume the help you can provide isn't appreciated or wanted. Talk to them, do what you can, because it may mean the difference in stopping something that is irreversible."
Listeners who are impressed by how expertly Griffith translates his emotional loss into music will also be interested in his 2018 single, "You Will Be Missed." The bittersweet song describes the pain of moving on after loss. Sadly, Griffith also experienced the death of his mother in 2013.
Griffith Frank: The Artist Behind the Music
Griffith describes his style as "pop music with a cinematic twist" and explains that he enjoys "creating musical and lyrical texture, taking people lyrically on a journey so that they lose themselves." Griffith has been around music his entire life, but he first found his voice at age 10. He was practicing Bing Crosby's "Buddy Can You Spare a Dime?" in the shower for a school play. As he experimented vocally with bravado, all of a sudden something clicked. Impressed, his mother asked, "Griffith, did you just teach yourself how to sing?" Griffith is also a gifted pianist who added songwriting to his repertoire while studying at UCLA.
Griffith's dream duet is with Sting or Annie Lennox, but he reports having also drawn musical inspiration from Barbra Streisand and Trent Reznor (from Nine Inch Nails). When not involved with music, Griffith enjoys experimenting with cooking, yoga, and spending time in the Los Angeles mountains where he can experience the vastness of nature.
Asked when he would know when he has "made it" as an artist, Griffith replied that in a large sense, he feels like he has already done so because he gets to professionally sing, explore and express human emotion, and convey messages to listeners.
Fans can follow this promising young star on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GriffithFrankMusic/, Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/griffithfrankmusic/, or Twitter at https://twitter.com/griffithfrank.
1Hafner, J. (2016, November 17). Surgeon general: 1 in 7 in USA will face substance addiction. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/11/17/surgeon-general-1-7-us-face-substance-addiction/93993474/.
2 Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., Merikangas, K. R., & Walters, E. E. (2005). Lifetime Prevalence and Age-of-Onset Distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 593. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.62.6.593
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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