Photo by Anna Encheva
Toronto-born, of Mexican decent, Ricky Franco formed his powerhouse P-Crew Orchestra after living and working in New York City for 5 years. After decades of fine-tuning his musical craft, Ricky is bursting with energy and creativity!
Interview by Zamira Lacosta
Ricky Franco is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and musical director who believes music is the ultimate mode of self expression; that music can provide a mysterious path to emotional and spiritual fulfilment for the artist, as well as the audience.
Ricky has been making music since the age of five, performing with his father Ramon Franco’s group Mariachi Azteca. He plays bass, guitar, piano, trumpet, guitarron and vihuela. (The last two are instruments found almost exclusively in mariachi bands.)
Besides performing regularly at Lula Lounge with his 13-piece P-Crew Orchestra, Ricky has performed at Berlin, Moda, Las Brisas and La Classique as well as at festivals such as Lulaworld, Salsa on St Clair, Beaches Jazz and Montreal Jazz Festivals. He has been featured on City TV’s Breakfast Television, the film Wagons East with John Candy, the TV series The Umbrella Academy and recently on Netflix with Mariachi Azteca. Ricky can also be heard singing with La Borinqueña, SWA, Salsotika and Son Ache.
Zamira: How long has Ricky Franco and the P-Crew been together?
Ricky: I formed the group in 2005, so 14 years ago, and I continue to be the musical director, also handling all the social media and administration for the orchestra.
Zamira: Who are some of the most important supporters of the P-Crew?
Ricky: In addition to Lula Lounge which has presented us regularly over the past decade, the radio program Voces Latinas on CHHA 16 has been an incredible supporter of our music in Toronto. The city of New York has also played a very important part in my career, as I lived there from 1999 to 2003. This gave me the opportunity to collaborate both on stage and on recordings with artist such as Ricardo Arjona, Huey Dunbar, DLG, Tito Nieves, La India, Charlie Cruz, and Aventura.
Zamira: Can you tell us about your musical inspirations?
Ricky: I’ve been most inspired by my father, Ramon Franco. Other major inspirations have been Alejandro Sanz, Juan Gabriel (El Idolo de Mexico), Alex Cuba (Cuban Canadian singer-songwriter), Sergio George (music producer), Brian McKnight (American singer-songwriter), DLG (American band), Sin Bandera (R&B/Latin pop duo), Camilla (Mexican pop/rock group), REIK (Mexican band), Andre Gagnon (Canadian Composer, conductor, arranger and actor well-known for his fusion of classical and pop styles). In terms of genres, I’m influenced and inspired by mariachi, tropical music, jazz, R&B, neo soul, Latin pop and classical music.
Zamira: Which is your most famous song?
Ricky: My best known song to date is Mi Todo, a Spanish version of My All by Mariah Carey. It’s done in a bachata style with Dominicanada.
Zamira: Do you have any recordings coming out soon?
Ricky: Yes!!! On October 21st, 2019 I’m independently releasing 8 original singles. The tracks will be available on all the major digital platforms including Spotify and iTunes, so I hope people will check them out! The singles are from diverse genres.