Kam Franklin Shows Houston Hometown Love & Praises Soul-Stirring Songs In Curated Playlist

By Gabrielle Pharms | February 21, 2022

In celebration of Black History Month, EDITION enlisted the aid of Black artists across all music genres to curate playlists comprised of songs that have connected with them the most. Each record they’ve chosen highlights fellow artists they’ve grown to appreciate over the years alongside their thoughts on the impact the tunes have on their artistry and lives.

This week, we’re featuring a powerhouse-packed playlist curated by the talented songwriter, lead singer of Houston-based soul band The Suffers, and activist Kam Franklin.

See more: Victoria Monét Helps Us Rediscover R&B Classics Through Curated Playlist

Between Franklin’s powerful and passionate vocals and The Suffers’ signature funky rhythms, you can’t help but feel their dynamic synergy. Recently, Franklin assembled a collective called Bayou City Comeback Chorus, featuring Houston artists Uncle Tino, Sugar Joiko, Z’maji, and Nick Connors. Over the past several years, Franklin and her fellow bandmates have performed at Newport Folk Fest, Austin City Limits, Afropunk, and NPR's Tiny Desk. The Suffers will hit the road beginning February 24, 2022, with Tank and The Bangas in New Orleans before hitting SXSW, followed by the western U.S. through June.

Listen to Franklin’s selections below and read on for the inspiration behind each song she chose.

Joy Oladokun - “if you got a problem”

Few songs have impacted me the way this one has in the last few years. Joy is a very different type of writer, and her pen makes me wanna work on my own pen every time I hear her work.

Minnie Ripperton - “Les Fleurs”

This song makes me feel lighter as soon as it starts. Minnie’s vocal delivery is so smooth and controlled. She was a genius and taken way too soon.

Joshua Asante - “Everybody Gets Used”

Every time Joshua Asante releases something, I assume he wants the listener to feel all of the feelings at one time. This song just does it for me, and I hope it makes you feel the same way.

Ebo Taylor - “Love and Death”

At the beginning of the pandemic lockdowns of 2020, I really started deep listening to Ebo Taylor’s work for the first time. His work has transformed me as a creator, and I’m really grateful for that.

Fat Tony - “Gambling Man”

I’ve known Tony for a long time, and I can say with my whole chest that this is my favorite song he’s ever written. I know he has a bunch of bangers and more on the way, but the story this one tells makes me wonder what a Devin The Dude/Kenny Rogers collab would sound like.

Seratones - “Crossfire”

I don’t know if another song comforted me more in 2019. So many of our Black brothers and sisters were murdered in 4k, some in real-time. This song made me feel like I wasn’t losing my mind when I’d speak out against it.

Lisa E. Harris - “Sallie Mizzle”

In 2021, The Roosevelt Institute released a report that showed that canceling up to $50,000 of student loan debt per borrower would immediately increase the wealth of Black Americans by 40%. Lisa wrote a song from the perspective of a Black woman simply trying to live while paying back what she owes to good ole Sallie Mae.

Allison Russell - “Nightflyer”

This song made me feel less alone in my own childhood trauma. Healing can be really painful, and every time I listen to this song, I feel like I’m healing just a little bit more.

The War and Treaty - “Love Like There’s No Tomorrow”

The title speaks for itself. The War and Treaty are one of my favorite bands out there. If you’ve ever wondered whether or not real love still exists, go to one of their shows.

Bayou City Comeback Chorus (featuring Dende) - “Stronger Together”

This song is part of a project I produced featuring the voices of many different up-and-coming singers from around the Houston area. Dende is an incredible solo artist, but his delivery on this was so effortless. The intent of the entire project was meant to connect and inspire at a time (spring and summer 2020) when everything felt so lonely and chaotic.

Photography by: Agave Bloom Photography