Meet Anika Mladineo Franco | Guitarist

Rock Guitarist Anika Mladineo Franco, image by Ronjue Studio
Rock Guitarist Anika Mladineo Franco, image by Ronjue Studio – We had the good fortune of connecting with Anika Mladineo Franco and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Anika, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
As a guitarist, I think that practicing is a key factor to get where you want to be. Music is a huge industry, you want to make sure that you can stand out, and the best way to do so is by being good at what you do. Spending a few hours per day with your instrument going over your technique, theory, and repertoire, will play a big impact on your development as a musician. Another factor, is the discipline: learning the material, being on time for rehearsals and shows, and showing a professional and polite attitude towards the people you work with. That is how you will be called for gigs.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It was a lot of hard work: hours of practice, taking as many performance opportunities as I could, making new connections… I think that music is a tough industry, and the best way to overcome the challenges is being kind to yourself and taking things step by step. Things in life can get tough, but we have to keep going. For example, on Spring 2021 we were still facing the pandemic, but I kept working hard on my field and ended up receiving an award from the Berklee Guitar Department, known as the “Jimi Hendrix Scholarship”. I believe that that shows that hard work can get you places, no matter what obstacles we are facing.

When I came back to Boston on September 2021, I started working for the Berklee Voice Department as a “Guitar Accompanist” and got to perform at the Berklee Performance Center. I started getting calls from multiple artists asking me to perform at their recitals, that’s how I met some of the musicians that I work for today. Now, outside the “Berklee Bubble”, I have been performing around the Massachusetts area and also in New York. I am going on a Northeast Tour later this Fall with singer/songwriter Jessica Woodlee, who is a magnificent artist and a wonderful person to be around!

What I want the most, is to continue performing and becoming a better guitar player as time goes by. What helps me staying motivated, is listening to the music from my guitar heroes and thinking that I also want to get to that level someday (that is what I practice for!). I want to keep sharing the stage with outstanding musicians and cause joy in the audiences.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
To start off the day, the first thing we should do is grab a coffee at Caffe Nero! Definitely going for a walk around the Public Garden and Boston Commons and shopping in Newbury Street: some of my favorite shops are Zara, Uniqlo, and Urban Outfitters. And of course, stop by Newbury Comics for some exciting “manga” and cute plushies. As a Peruvian, I will always take a stand for Peruvian food, so I might take my friend to the Machu Picchu restaurant in Somerville, but if we want to get fancier I’d be down for a steak at Capital Grille. A fun place to hang with your friends during the evening are the docks by the Charles River, and also the arcade called “Lucky Strike”. Hopefully there would be some concerts during the week, even better if they are rock concerts! Going out for a walk around Cambridge during the evening while having gelato from “Amorino” is also a wonderful plan.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Definitely my parents and my brother, who always encouraged me to do what I love. I would also like to give a shoutout to several Berklee Guitar Faculty members, especially to David Tronzo, Joe Stump, Jon Finn, and Scott Tarulli, who played a huge role on my journey as a guitar player.

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Image Credits: Ronjue Studio, Clarity Control Photo

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