"Yea I've heard Stewart Francke...he makes beautiful music." -- Bruce Springsteen, 2006.
From humble beginnings in the Michigan industrial city of Saginaw to bright lights on national stages, Stewart Francke’s creative work has transformed the lives of thousands who’ve listened to his songs or read his writing. Since releasing his first album in 1995, Stewart has created a body of work cited by critics as spiritual in tone and remarkable in its emotional breadth. In 2009 Saginaw recognized their favorite son by awarding him a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Saginaw County Cultural Arts Commission for “the enjoyment and insight his songs have brought to so many in his home town, home state and beyond.”
A bone marrow transplant survivor, Stewart has been recognized by the Points Of Light Foundation for his personal work in cancer patient support. The Stewart Francke Leukemia Foundation was presented the prestigious Partnership In Humanity Award by the Detroit Newspapers and he was named Volunteer of the Year by the National Marrow Donor Program in 2002. He's been recognized by his peers in his community through numerous Detroit Music Awards, including Best Artist, Songwriter & Album. Hour Detroit readers voted him most popular musician 2002-2004. He was awarded a Creative Artist Grant by Artserve Michigan in 2004.
He’s performed on bills with the likes of Sheryl Crow, Stevie Winwood, Steve Earle, Eddie Money, Huey Lewis & The News, Shawn Colvin, Hootie & The Blowfish, Chicago, Hall & Oates, Chuck Berry and many others, and fronts his own 10 piece soul band at venues across the country.
His first album, Where The River Meets The Bay (1995), contained the hit single, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," made famous through its use as an episode theme for the TV show Melrose Place. In the ensuing nine albums there have been other regional hits, including a duet with Detroit soul legend Mitch Ryder and several songs cut with the Funk Brothers, in what was their last session together. He’s sold over 50,000 copies of his nine albums through independent distribution and marketing, with his latest being 2009’s Alive & Unplugged At The Ark.
In 2006, Wayne State's Ridgeway Press released a collection of Stewart's lyrics and writing on music, life and Midwestern living titled Between The Ground & God. The book won two 2007 National Indie Excellence Awards, and led to an invitation to read at the New York Book Festival. A proud Detroiter for 30 years, Stewart’s now working on a new record with renowned soul producers Jon Tiven in Nashville and David McMurray in Detroit.
A writer for more than 20 years, Stewart is a contributing editor to Detroit’s Metro Times. His work in writing and music has led to him being interviewed on numerous high profile shows, including Sirius Radio, CBS TV, Fox Morning Show, the Mitch Albom Show, ABC News, NBC News, and the Fox Health Channel. Feature articles about him have appeared in Playboy, No Depression, ASCAP’s Playback and countless newspapers and periodicals. Cited by critics and his fellow artists alike as a vital American artist, Stewart has the unique ability to talk about his own work in an engaging, self-effacing manner.
His humorous, inspiring speeches have long been well received, whether speaking to cancer or business groups, including the National Oncology Nursing Society, General Motors Tech Center, the Henry Ford Cancer Survivor Celebration, the Karmanos Cancer Institute Survivor’s Day, the National Bone Marrow Transplant Link Symposium in Manhattan, and many others.
Stewart Francke lives in Huntington Woods, MI with his wife, Julia, and children.
“Thank God for Stewart Francke. Thank God for his
feeling healing music, for the sweetness of his soul, the sincerity of his songs, the strength of his vision.
His music is enriching, nourishing music – music as faith, music as celebration, music whose source is
clear and joyful love.” -- David Ritz, author of "Divided Soul: The Marvin Gaye Story" & "Brother Ray."
"Stewart Francke is one of a kind. A talent that encompasses both songwriting and prose writing appears rarely. How much rarer then is a songwriter whose sensibility includes Johnny Cash and Gore Vidal, Yoko On and the Funk Brothers, marriage and mortality, race relations and cancer treatment? Standing courageously at the intersection of rock and soul music, influenced equally by Marvin Gaye and Brian Wilson, Francke possesses all the tools: A sweet voice, a vision that’s grand without being grandiose and an undying love of sound for its own sake, along with an equally passionate engagement with everyday life and the people who live it. This music isn’t classic anything only because, like every real artist, Francke takes the world as he knows it and moves on his own course. Motor City Serenade is the most important blue-eyed soul record in a musical generation." --Dave Marsh, Playboy
"Listening to Stewart Francke's music is like waking up and finding yourself in an alternate universe. It's a place where rock and soul still speak to each other, where you catch glimpses of what the seventies might have become if we'd lived up to their long-forgotten promise. It immerses you in a soundscape where you hear Motown and Philly International communing with Pet Sounds and Fleetwood Mac. It's a good world to imagine, and, Francke promises us, it isn't really out of reach. Part of the sense of promise lies in the music itself. Whether you're coming at the music from rock or soul, you can close your eyes, relax and let it wash over you. When you come back to the world, you'll feel energized and renewed. Like the best music of he rock and soul era, this music believes. It believes that we can reach a higher ground, that the conversations between black and white, between blues realism and gospel redemption, remain as vital as they were before narcissistic irony swamped our shared hopes and dreams. Like Marvin Gaye and Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and Ani DiFranco, he knows that, if we find the strength to tell our own stories honestly and he courage to open ourselves to others, our burdens can be a source of hope, not despair. And, he insists, the only meaningful response is to love each other and to change the world. " -- Craig Werner, Gleason-award winning author of Change Is Gonna Come and Higher Ground
"As always, Stewart Francke's passion and raw, soulful singing strength are evident on Swimming In Mercury. Like all the best songwriters, Stewart writes from the heart and sings from it as well. The power of his up tempo tunes and the plaintive emotion of his ballads make for that rarest of musical accomplishments: a great songwriter who can rock!" -- Mitch Albom
"Stewart Francke is the best songwriter I’ve heard in 20 years." --- Mick Taylor, legendary guitarist & former member of The Rolling Stones.