Donavon Frankenreiter eager to share ‘Heart’ with Kaaboo festivalgoers

Surfer-turned-singer-songwriter Donavon Frankenreiter will be singing straight from the heart when he shares songs from his new album during the inaugural Kaaboo, a three-day music festival in September at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

“The Heart,” was released Aug. 7.

“It should be an amazing three days,” Frankenreiter said of the festival. “Just to be a part of that — it’s awesome.”

A Southern California native, Frankenreiter got his start in surfing as a teenager on the beaches of San Clemente. He was 10 years old when he first learned to surf and became a professional in the sport at 16.

From waiting for the right wave to waiting for the right deal, Frankenreiter started a career in music more than a decade ago.

“I picked up the guitar and was able to bring it everywhere with me,” said Frankenreiter, who has traveled the world as a surfer.

Although he has played music since he was 15, he didn’t land his first record deal until he was 30 years old. His debut self-titled album was released in 2004 on close friend Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records through Universal Music.

“I toured and opened up for Jack for a few years,” said Frankenreiter, a married father of two. “That’s how it all started.”

Now, 42, Frankenreiter recently released “The Heart,” with songs he described as “seriously sentimental.” The album marks his second decade as a solo recording artist. He’s released eight full-length albums since the start of his career. He’s also recorded EPs and live albums.

“It’s the most intimate and honest record that I’ve made,” said Frankenreiter, who shares writing credits on many of the songs with lyricist Grant-Lee Phillips. “They’re real personal songs.”

Based in Hawaii, Frankenreiter recorded the 11-track album in 10 days in May at Blue Rock Studios in Wimberley, Texas. He described the experience at the site, tucked away from the city and among the canyons, as “magical.”

“We did about a song a day,” said Frankenreiter, who noted that the sessions streamed live on the Internet. “It was a lot of fun. I love recording like that. You don’t sit around and think about them too long.”

Frankenreiter will share some of his new tunes as well as fan favorites at the upcoming Kaaboo.

Although this is his first time performing at the fairgrounds, it isn’t his first time taking the stage locally. He’s frequented the Belly Up Tavern and local events, such as Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach.

“I love that area,” Frankenreiter said. “We have a really good time in that area, so it’s a special place.”

Frankenreiter hits the stage on Sept. 20, the final day of the festival.

“It’s going to be amazing,” he said. “It’s an incredible lineup. I’m thrilled!”

For more about Frankenreiter, visit