Being the child of a pair of famous artists can be kind of a drag, with expectations of greatness foisted upon you basically from birth.
For Greta Kline, it also means dealing with the ever-present Internet trolls.
Detractors have followed Kline’s music career from the beginning, ready to lay any success she has found at the feet of her parents, actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates.
“Its funny, because the first time I ever had an article written about me, it was on Brooklyn Vegan,” says Kline, performing with her band Frankie Cosmos on Tuesday at Kings in Raleigh. “I remember at the time just being so excited, like ‘Oh my God, a publication wrote about our show!’ Someone wrote a comment that said, ‘I wonder how much Kevin Kline paid to have her on Brooklyn Vegan?’ I immediately laughed, because the idea of my dad even knowing what Brooklyn Vegan is, or caring at all, is pretty funny. Dad isn’t paying blogs to advertise our shows.”
If Kline was already noticing jealousy online performing solo as Frankie Cosmos in 2011, the singer-songwriter’s email inbox must be exploding with “haters” these days. In 2014, her independent album “Zentropy” was named the Number 1 Pop Album of the Year by New York magazine and her career steadily gained momentum. This year, she’s already released a new album (“Next Thing”) and performed a set of showcase shows at Austin’s South By Southwest (SXSW) in March.
Playing SXSW is a milestone in many young artists’ careers, but Kline was flummoxed by the reception at some of the seven shows the band performed.
“It’s kind of an interesting town, because you could tell that a lot of people were at the shows not to see us, necessarily,” Kline says. “The shows were kind of difficult to begin with, as we were there performing with just a guitar and two vocals, and people in the audience would just talk over our performing. Other shows were amazing, but we definitely ran into a couple of situations where it was more about some of the audience being seen at the show than enjoying the show.”
Forming a band
Kline found recognition early as a solo artist, releasing over 30 compilations online through the website Bandcamp under the monikers Ingrid Superstar and Frankie Cosmos, but she has come to enjoy playing with a full band. Frankie – now a full four-piece group – has become a collaborative effort, a development that Kline finds refreshing after years spent crafting lo-fi recordings alone.
“The new album is the first in which I’ve recorded with a full band working on it at the same time, so it’s the most collaborators I’ve had working on a project at the same time. I feel that it’s a very important aspect of the record, as you can hear everyone’s different musical inclinations perfecting the way that each song sounds. For me, it’s a big step into declaring, ‘We’re a band, and this is what we sound like.’”
After years of promoting herself online, Kline realizes that the new distribution models for the music business are a blessing for young bands like hers. Talking to older musicians and venue bookers has given her an idea of the differences a couple of decades make, and she has no qualms about enjoying the easier route of getting the band’s music out to the masses.
“What it means to be a musician doing everything for yourself now, with the benefit of the Internet … I found myself emailing strangers, booking my first tour, and just finding people in random places around the country in order to play music at their houses or wherever. I don’t even know how people managed without the Internet years ago. Having to mail a cassette tape of your music to strangers over the course of months … I just can’t imagine having to do that.”
So Kline will pull into Raleigh Tuesday and perform without the benefit of her famous last name on the marquee, just as she has since first going pro. While she acknowledges that her family has been nothing but supportive, she bristles that strangers may imagine the band touring via the benefit of her family’s connections.
“Everyone in the band works their asses off to tour, and it’s not luxurious or comfortable, but we don’t accept a lot of help. Yeah, when I was 18 I borrowed my parents’ car, and they are super supportive. They might give us snacks for the road, but it’s not like they are paying clubs to book us,” Kline says. “It’s funny that someone even would consider us successful enough to invent reasons why, because we’re really not there yet. That being said, I just can’t picture my dad paying off 400 16-year-old kids to come to our show. I don’t know, it’s just silly.”
Who: Frankie Cosmos
When: 8:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Kings, 14 W. Martin St., Raleigh
Info: 919-833-1091 or kingsbarcade.com