Entering planet earth on April 13,1978 his grandmother must have prophesied greatness when she decided on the first name Royalprince. And the gregarious toddler soon began to prove her right. As soon as Royalprince Franklin could crawl he was banging on pots and pans, and no amount of scolding could stop him. By five-years-old he was seated at a Ludwig drum kit given to him by both his father and grandfather.

Raised on Chicago’s west side, his family believed in the power of music and encouraged the development of his innate talents. Throughout his childhood he played in church and school bands and was particularly influenced by his uncle Robert Vanderbilt who fronted his own gospel group. By the time Franklin was in his teens he was being mentored by a host of legendary jazz and blues musicians including Ramsey Lewis, Erwin Helfer, Kimo Williams, Chico Freeman, Ernie Adams, Orbert Davis, Willie Pickens, Pat Mallenger and Clark Terry.

Franklin’s musical education continued after high school at Eastern Illinois University under the renowned percussion professor, Johnny Lee Lane. During those formative years he made a living by teaching private lessons by day while “living the dream,” at night with his own band "The Royal Prince Vanderbilt Experience.” Bio continued below...

Franklin's Weapon of Choice:
American Classic® Extreme 5A
For the 5A player who wants more power and reach.
L = 16 1/2" | Dia. = .565"
  [enlarge photo]

Bio continued...

Chicago has a vast and strong musical history. During his journey, Franklin met one of the most musical and influential Chicago rock and blues guitarist and currently the CEO and founder of the Chicago Blues Museum, Mr. Gregg Parker. Gregg Parker took Franklin under his wing as his own son and encouraged him to play rock and roll. This is where his musical ears begin to expand.

When his first professional gigs came calling Franklin Vanderbilt headed for the desert, having been hired by the Vegas Jazz great Ghallib Ghalab. For the next several years he would play Vegas show acts and gig at the Sin City’s House of Blues. During those years he gained his first worldwide touring experience with Grammy-nominated Jazz/Urban Dance music group Liquid Soul. Along the way he continued to broaden his skill-set learning to play the guitar and bass and write his own songs.

It wasn’t long before word of the young drummer’s talents began to spread, and when legendary funk diva Chaka Khan came to Vegas to perform, she took Franklin with her to LA. Franklin held the drum seat with Chaka Khan for two and a half years and it was with her that his star truly began to rise. When he wasn’t holding the beat for Chaka he toured with fusion jazz pioneer Stanley Clarke and Richie Kotzen. During that time he also recorded with Billy Sheehan.
In 2005, he received the unbelievable opportunity to play with 22-time Grammy award winner and “eighth wonder of the world” Stevie Wonder.

In 2007, Franklin received a call from Lenny Kravitz inviting him to become a member of his band. For the past five years he has been touring worldwide with Kravitz. They have also made numerous television appearances including Jay Leno, David Letterman, Ellen Degeneres, Jimmy Fallon Show and NBA All Star Game to name a few. In his continued quest to evolve musically, Franklin is always singing, songwriting and looking forward to all of life's changes. Celebrating and staying passionate about life, music and love is what Franklin Vanderbilt is all about.

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