Billy Franklin was raised in New Orleans, LA. He also lived in Africa with his family for an extended period of time as a child, where he was first exposed to hand drums and learned to speak French fluently. Franklin first picked up the guitar at age 14, played continuously, and was accepted to NOCCA (New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts) less than a year later. At NOCCA, Franklin studied Jazz and Classical guitar for the next 3 years and began to play gigs professionally around New Orleans at the age of 16. After graduating from NOCCA he attended the Jazz Studies program at the University of New Orleans (UNO) where he studied under guitarist Steve Masakowski, saxophonist Ed Peterson, and played in the UNO Big Band under the direction of pianist Ellis Marsalis.
Franklin receive his degree from U.N.O in Jazz Performance, and soon after turned his attention to traveling. He backpacked in Ireland, Holland, Italy, England, and central Mexico, where he first became interested in Afro-Cuban and clave based music. After a spiritually altering experience in Latin America, he began writing music at a vigorous pace and re-entered the New Orleans music scene with the formation of E.O.E (formerly Atman Roots). For the next 2 years Billy Franklin played steadily with E.O.E in the Crescent City and the surrounding area, filling up his spare time with solo performances and gigs with other New Orleans bands and musicians.
Wanting to expose his music to a wider audience, Franklin decided to take E.O.E on the road. He left with the band for it's first tour out west on Sat, Aug 27th, 2005, but two days later hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and drastically changed everything. Knowing that their hometown would be inaccessible for some time, E.O.E continued their tour and waited for news of their city and loved ones. At the completion of the tour the members of the band split to attend to their individual post-hurricane situations, and Franklin stayed in Colorado to await news of his hometown.
Since then he has split his time between the road (touring), Colorado, and New Orleans. In the wake of the hurricane Franklin has managed to increase his musical focus and continues to refine his skills and increase his vision. In the year + since the storm he has traveled over 30,000 miles and played more than 150 gigs in 10 states. E.O.E remains at large, and has begun to put their progressive message into action, partnering with Habitat for Humanity in an effort to raise funds for the organization on tour. Franklin is also making plans to hit the road with other touring acts in his off-time, and has recently begun to teach guitar at the college level. Yet he holds no illusions about the work that lies ahead of him. He is the first to acknowledge that the key to his success relates directly to how much the music fans create a buzz about him and E.O.E. In fact his whole message and vision hinge on the belief that true power lies with the people, not the administration as mass media would lead us to believe. So if you haven't already, make sure you get hip to the sounds of Billy Franklin (www.EOEuniverse.com and www.myspace.com/BillyFranklinMusic) and help spread the word about this rising young talent.
- Prestige Foley