Franne Golde began her career as a singer/songwriter. Her first hit song, “Gettin’ Ready for Love,” was recorded in 1977 by Diana Ross and became a worldwide sensation. Over the years, her songs appeared on records that sold more than 100-million copies and enabled her to work with such superstars as Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, the Pussycat Dolls, Celine Dion and Faith Hill, to name just a few.

After 35 years, however, the record business began to change and Golde had to invent another way to take care of her family. In August 2016, she launched her own clothing line and experienced instant success, much like writing a hit song. Her story is one of talent, grit, responsibility, determination and exemplifies personal resourcefulness in the face of changing circumstances.

Stay Thirsty Magazine was very pleased to visit with Franne Golde for this Conversation about her extraordinary career, her creativity and her passion.

STAY THIRSTY: What motivated you to transition from a very successful songwriting career into fashion design?

FRANNE GOLDE: The music business as I knew it started to change in the late ‘90s, when people began downloading music for free. My earning power went down the tubes and my husband Paul, a successful record producer, was also feeling the heat. We tried to go with the flow and hoped for the best. I wrote a #1 Billboard hit and Grammy-nominated song in 2005 for the Pussycat Dolls, but that would be my last.

Franne Golde

At that time, my son’s school asked for my help with an upcoming fundraiser. In that and subsequent years, I contributed memorabilia from Sheryl Crowe, Ringo Starr, and others, along with various concert tickets.

By my son’s senior year, I’d run out of favors and invested a thousand dollars to create a mini-boutique in the school gym. I’d always loved fashion and people frequently asked me where I’d gotten my clothes. Often, they were pieces I’d modified with scissors, needle, thread, ripping and knotting. I loved interacting with and styling all the moms and neighborhood drop-ins. By day’s end, I had sold out.

Then I started selling clothing to friends out of my house, often designing what I couldn't find. I wasn’t trying to create a business, but I was having a blast and learning the ins and outs of finding fabric, pattern-making, samples, tweaking, cutters, sewers, marking, grading and production. It was a whole new world and turning into an expensive hobby.

By 2011, the music business was hitting new lows as people started downloading songs for free and album sales were tanking. Even successful songwriters were going broke. No one knew what the future held.

By late 2012, I knew something was seriously wrong with Paul. I never expected to hear what would take months to find out. In his mid-fifties, Paul was diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

I knew I could no longer make a living writing music and it was hard to imagine doing anything else. It had been my life for over 35 years. Yet I had to take care of my family.

My only option was to sell my songs, the one thing that was all mine and that I’d worked so hard to nurture and protect. It was one the hardest things I’ve ever done.

The sale brought some cash, but I needed to get back to work. I couldn't just go out and get a nine-to-five job. It wouldn't begin to cover our expenses or satisfy my passion.

I needed to reinvent myself and in a moment of revelation I realized that I’d already started doing just that. I had lots of samples of clothing I’d designed; more significant, I had been working on what I considered to be the perfect black pant. I made close to 100 samples till I got exactly what I was looking for.

Working became my therapy and I poured myself into it.

I launched in August 2016 and was floored and thrilled when the orders started coming in. A couple of months later, I got an email that O magazine expressed interest in seeing my pants. I couldn’t believe it. It was just like having my first hit record!

My black pants were featured in the January 2017 issue of O and dubbed the “Magic Pant” by Adam Glassman, Oprah’s fashion guru and Creative Director of O magazine. This was followed by a feature on the Oprah segment of View Your Deal, on ABC, on Jan 31, 2017. More orders poured in and my team and I were off and running.

Franne Golde sculpted fashion

STAY THIRSTY: You refer to your clothing as “passionately sculpted fashion.” How did you settle on that as the mantra for your collection?

FRANNE GOLDE: I worked really hard on the all the patterns. I made sure every piece was cut to create the most flattering fit. I made lots of adjustments along the way, till everything was exactly as I imagined. Fit is everything!

STAY THIRSTY: How did you conceptualize the fit of your clothes – what do you want them to do for the people who wear them?

FRANNE GOLDE: I always start with how I personally want something to fit, feel and drape. I want people to feel their absolute best in my clothes, with little effort. There are so many things we have to deal with in our daily life, dressing should be easy.

Here are two quotes I recently received from customers that say exactly how I want my customers to feel:

“Thanks again for making it easy for me to run around looking chic AND comfortable with minimal effort!!”

“With my career, I travel a lot and I need to be presentable at all times. I’ve been waiting for someone to come up with items I can throw in a bag, not have to press and not stress with how I look or feel after a 12-hour day. I’m truly addicted to the elegant simplicity of your clothes. They are the core basic pieces to my every day wardrobe. Thank god for you!"

I couldn’t ask for better compliments.

STAY THIRSTY: In the earliest days of your music career, you had a studio at the legendary Chess Records in Chicago and founded a singing duo, Frannie and Zoey. From there your career as a songwriter took off as you collaborated with Carole Bayer Sager, Richard Perry, Diana Ross and Tom Snow. As you reflect on those days, what stands out in your memory?

FRANNE GOLDE: So many things stand out and it would take a book to tell all, but what I remember most was how in awe I was of everything and everyone. Being among people you dreamed of working with. Every day was like an adventure. The education I got was priceless and I definitely appreciate it more now than when I was living it back then. I love when the unexpected happens and I was fortunate enough to experience many magic moments.

STAY THIRSTY: You have also written songs for film and television, including The Bodyguard, Top Gun and Miami Vice. How does your method of songwriting change when you are writing a song for a recording artist vs. a film or television program?

FRANNE GOLDE: I would have to say, not at all. You still want all the same elements. A great song, that touches someone emotionally. Something they walk away humming, something that creates a memory for them, that they’ll carry forever.

STAY THIRSTY: Who were your greatest influences as a songwriter and how did they impact you?

FRANNE GOLDE: Growing up on Top 40 radio definitely planted the seeds of what would become my love affair with music and my desire to write songs. My mother was a pianist and exposed me to American Standards, classical, her beloved Jobim and many others.

I wore out all my early Laura [Nyro] albums: Eli and Thirteenth Confession, New York Tendaberry, Christmas and the Beads of Sweat and Gonna Take a Miracle. She spoke to me in a way I’d never experienced before. I loved how she mixed pop, soul, jazz and gospel. I felt her joy and pain, her hope and desperation. I heard music and lyrics that opened a whole new world for me.

Carol King’s Tapestry was another album that I adored and wore out. It was pop genius, so intimate, genuine and her voice was totally relatable. Everything about it was pure perfection. That said, I loved Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Crosby Stills, Nash and Young, Steely Dan and anything and everything Motown. I could go on, but I’d run out of room!

STAY THIRSTY: Of all the famous people you have worked with during your music career, what two had the most impact in helping you reach such success? What about in your fashion career?

Franne Golde - Jetsetter Wrap

FRANNE GOLDE: Well, that’s a tough question. My first international hit with Diana Ross, produced by my then publisher and mentor Richard Perry, is near and dear to me because it was the first. I got to be in the studio while Ms. Ross was recording and was in awe.

I’ll never forget driving down Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles and hearing it on the radio for the first time. It’s magical to know that millions of people are listening to your song at the same time you are. I pulled over, cranked it up and called my dad from the nearest pay phone.

“Dad, my song is on the radio!” We cried together. I loved being able to share this moment with him, my biggest supporter, who shared my dream with me.

I feel that every artist, famous or not, brought me to the next step on my journey. Obviously, there were incredible moments, like writing “Nightshift” for The Commodores, who are the absolute best people, besides being so talented, and having it win a Grammy. Being on the biggest-selling soundtrack of all time, The Bodyguard, which also won a Grammy, and writing Selena’s posthumous hit, “Dreaming of You.”

As far as fashion, hands down, Adam Glassman, creative director of O, The Oprah Magazine. When he dubbed my Classic pant, that I’d worked on for years, “Magic,” that was the best jump start to my startup that I could have ever imagined! Tory Johnson, of GMA and The View, has been another champion of my brand. There are so many people, famous and not, who have played such an important role in making my brand a hit!

STAY THIRSTY: When not songwriting or designing clothes, what charities are closest to your heart and why?

FRANNE GOLDE: Music Mends Minds – a non-profit that creates musical support-group bands for patients with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury and stroke. These bands of musicians and singers, as well as their families, friends, and caregivers, thrive on the socialization and music-making together. To witness what the power of music can do for these people is quite remarkable. It is something immediate, that makes them feel empowered, while we wait for a cure.

WAM, Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, led by the extraordinary Maria Shriver, is dedicated to raising awareness about women’s increased risk for Alzheimer’s, educating men and women about lifestyle changes they can make to protect their brain health and raises much needed funds for the advancement of Alzheimer’s research.

I also love Habitat for Humanity and UNICEF, who do so much good around the world for so many.



All opinions expressed are solely those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.