Man of the moment

Sharon Mathala
Franco entertaining fans at Soul Fill Up festival

A soul filled, a dream realised

50 -year-old popular Kwasa Kwasa singer,Franco still has the dance moves and energy of a 20-year -old stallion.

With 18 albums under his belt since going solo in 2001, Franco, Born Frank Lesokwane is undoubtedly the man of the moment.

His first one-man show dubbed; Soul Fill Up With Franco was cancelled at the last minute in 2020 as a result of strict Covid-19 protocols.

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Over the past weekend after a two- year wait the show finally happened.

A few days after pulling a crowd that filled the national stadium to the brim, the tall and fit Kwasa Kwasa legend walked into The Voice offices this week to speak to SHARON MATHALA about the experience.

Soul Fill Up marked the second most successful all local line up show after Kast’s Tlatsa lebala in 2017.

Catching up on his journey into realizing his dream this is what Franco shared;

Congratulations, you have finally realised your dream, lebala ne lerile Thii (You managed to fill the stadium).A. Thank you very much because this was not an easy journey.

Before we get into the event, can you share with us your journey since going solo?

A. My journey had its ups and downs. There are a lot of challenges that we sometimes share sometimes we keep to ourselves.

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The music industry is a gamble and it is not always an easy turf, no matter how established you are.

I will tell you I have made as much money as I have lost over the years.

There are a lot of people who still owe us from 10 years ago.

But because of passion we don’t let those challenges and loses deter us, we keep moving and trying again.

But what keeps you going even though like you said, you have lost so much?

A. I am a believer you know. I believe that in as much as I win sometimes I will lose and it is all ordained. It is meant to happen like that. God always has a plan for us.

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Which church do you attend?


I have noticed that you don’t work with a promoter or manager, why is that?

A. Well, because sometimes it is easier to do things yourself.

I am aware of what is needed out there because I attend the meetings myself.

Please get me right I am not downplaying the importance of having managers or promoters as an artist but it just hasn’t worked for me.

You see, some managers are there to impoverish artists.

Not all of them have genuine intensions.

There is a belief that the music industry impoverishes artists, that they are unable, especially without managers, to accumulate wealth for themselves. What is your secret?

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Well I have managed to accumulate a lot of things largely because I save.

The little thebes I get I make sure that I save.

I don’t really want to say what I have but yes I have a lot of livestock, farms, and houses.

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You see I am not really much into fancy things, clothes or cars.

That is just not I.

You are one of the most booked artists in the country and I have noticed that during holidays you travel across the country long distances, how do you and your band deal with fatigue?

A. We practice a lot.

A lot of practice helps.

We practice and train four days a week.

These rehearsals we treat them seriously.

Who would you say has been the biggest influence in your career?

A. Definitely my fans.

First and foremost my fans, then my family and my mother.

There are those in the industry that say you are a hard man to work with, is this true?

A. I don’t think I am a difficult man and once you work with me you will realise this.

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It just that I like things to work in a certain way, yes people who like to take short cuts will say I am a difficult person because I want things to be done the right way.

For instance I don’t believe a person, which is often the case with entertainers, should work drinking alcohol.

You can’t go on stage with alcohol, I don’t want that.

I also don’t want people who come late to appointments and come with silly excuses, I don’t take that because I believe when you have to be at work at 7am, why not leave home earlier?

You are hardly involved in industry beefs, even though you are often compared with others, is this deliberate?

The truth is, it is not that I don’t see or hear those things.

I live my life by the Setswana saying, ‘ntja di bogola poo’ (I am not shaken).

I am here to do music and that is all I am focused on.

I don’t deal with nonsense.

I am in this industry for the love of it, some people say eyes on the ball, and that is all I live by.

Now turning to your sold out event, can you let us in on the preparations behind the scenes?

A. Oh my word! You know deep down I am finally relieved that this event has come and gone.

As you are aware the first event was postponed on the last minute and it was not easy.

You know I often tell people if I survived that moment without breaking down I can survive anything.

But the biggest challenge was sponsorship; we did not really have a major sponsor.

And what was going through your mind on the night before?

A. Well we were running around with last minute touches.

We were receiving a lot of calls people now looking for tickets because now the hype was real.

And on the big day when you went on stage for first time seeing all those people who came out to support you how did you feel?

A. It was a surreal moment.

I was overwhelmed because it was still 5pm and the stadium was already packed.

By 7PM the stadium was overflowing.

I am forever grateful for all the support because I know that even those who did not necessarily follow my music before attended the event just to support local.

And how many tickets did you sell in total?

A. A little over 18 thousand tickets plus others, which were sold at the gate.

Is it safe to say with the many people who attended your event you clocked over a million in profits?

A. (Hahah) I knew you would ask that question.

Actually on my way here I knew you would bring that up.

No. Not a million but I am happy with what I have made.

On a lighter note, will you ever marry again?

A. I will get married I guess.

I am still wrapping up a few things here and there, I am in no rush.

Which of your songs is your personal favourite?

A. Phutha merwalo

Any new music in the works?

A. I am actually almost done with my 19th album.

I just wanted to get the show out of the way then concentrate on compiling the album for release.

You see the music game has changed so nowadays you don’t just release music without a strategy but very soon I will definitely have something out.

You recently lost your drummer and music compiler, how will that affect your album?

A. The truth is we had been working on the album with him before his passing.

His contributions surely will be missed because he was the type of guy who would come up with last minute ideas to make even an average song come out great.

His impact will surely be missed.

Any last word?

A. Well I just want to say thank you once more to the Franco supporters.

There will be another show next year, which will be bigger and better.

TGIF, where will you be this Friday?

A. I will be resting at home.


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