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CLOSE’s “Base Level” column features the hottest new artists we’re buzzing about. Before they make it to the summit of superstardom, we spot them at base level–the beginning of their hopeful journey to the top.

Women have been dominating R&B as of late. They’re been a few sprinkles of the fellas flexing their vocal chords here and there, but for the most part, rhythm and blues and has been a girl’s only type of club.

That’s all about to change once we introduce you to Nelson Frank. The three time Grammy nominated singer/songwriter hails from Maryland (or as he likes to say it Murriland) and has spent his time perfecting his craft by under the tutelage of R&B greats such Tank, and Ginuwine.  But now its time for the former back-up singer to step to the front of the stage.

#TEAMBEAUTIFUL got a chance to talk with the R&B crooner about his first solo album “Nothings Impossible” his musical inspirations and his uncanny ability to mimic Charlie Wilson.

Name: Nelson Frank

Hometown: Maryland

Who are some of your musical inspirations? Wow! My musical inspirations are a wide, wide wide variety. Stevie Wonder, Charlie Wilson. If you can’t do the Charlie Wilson Oooo We! I’m sorry, you’re not a real singer [LAUGHS] Jodeci, Boyz II Men, Gerald Levert, The O’Jays, they were actually my favorite group. “She used To Be My Girl” was the first song I sang. 

What’s been your biggest break thus far? My first big musical break came when I was a part of a group called Moet and we performed at the B.E.T sound stage in Maryland and that performance led to us opening for K-Ci & Jo Jo, Brian McKnight and SWV. At that particular performance, Ginuwine came out to see us do our thing from there he signed us and that kicked off my career.

What’s your biggest fear as a new artist? I don’t have any fears as a new artist, to be honest. I feel like I’ve had some incredible training around some of the best in the business and I do my best to study the best. They say greatness is contagious and I try to mimic that and learn that. I got a chance to travel with Tank for close to 10 years and he was my mentor, production wise and vocal wise and I got a chance to tour with Ginuwine an David Hollister and I think that is what helped me build a foundation. I feel very secure with doing what I do.

When did you know this was what you wanted to do?

If you were the lovechild of two musicians-dead or alive-who would they be? I would say Michael Jackson and Missy Elliot. Well because Michael Jackson is an all around incredible performer and writer. His stage presence is amazing. His work ethic was amazing. With Missy she’s so diverse and just her being able to write a variety of records from pop, to R&B to hip-hop. I think the mixture of their rhythms and the dance techniques as well would be awesome.

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BASE LEVEL: Nelson Frank Proves Nothing’s Impossible, Even For Back Up Singers  was originally published on