If you hadn’t heard already, FAYE is a name to watch this year. She’s the latest in a long and amazing line of Swedish pop songstresses, and with two amazing singles in the bag already, 2012 looks set to be her year. Eagle-eyed readers may perhaps remember her as one member of pop band, Play, who toured with Destiny’s Child in their heyday. Now she’s back on her own terms, and is the first signing to Best Fit Records, the record label from the people behind leading indie music site, The Line of Best Fit. In between promoting her new single ‘Water Against The Rocks‘ and touring the UK, the girls are caught up with FAYE to talk therapy, Sweden, and her love of Beyoncé…
So FAYE: you’ve been a busy bee. Tell us what you’ve been up to lately.
I’ve had a little bit of vacation time, but I’ve been in the studio today. I’ve also been busy releasing the single in the UK and Sweden. Also recently, I did a song with Swedish producer, Kleerup, so that’s also pretty exciting! It was amazingly cool to work with him. He’s brilliant and really fun.
How would you describe your music to people who’ve never heard it before?
Oh, it’s always pretty difficult to describe it. It’s definitely pop music, because that’s what I’ve always been doing, but I wanted to do something I really loved myself. I started making music with Victor and Johann (Swedish producer duo, Montauk), my writers and co-producers. When I asked them to write this album, I was at a low period in my life, so we started doing some dark pop together with electronic beats, mixed together with soul.
What inspires your music?
Victor writes almost all the lyrics to my songs, and we’ve been having therapy hours together where we just talk about everything we’ve been through, and how we feel about things. Then he writes something. Often, I listen to our song afterwards, and I realise he’s picked up on everything I feel. It’s always really emotional listening to what we’ve been doing. I also get inspired by other vocalists – one of them has always been Beyoncé. She just has an amazing voice. I never really listen to music that much when I record an album and make songs, because I don’t want to get distracted, but I never get distracted by voices. I get really inspired by them.
A lot of the best pop music in the last few years has come out of Sweden, with contemporaries such as Robyn and Lykke Li –is there any particular reason you think pop music is so great in Sweden?
I’ve been asked this question before, and it’s quite hard to answer. I think we always get inspired by music from the UK and the US, and we try to copy the music and improve on it. We’re a small country, and I feel we’re underdogs proving to the world that we’ve really got something. I think it’s really inspiring that we have so many women making music these days from Sweden. We inspire each other to have the courage to make music, and to spread it around the world.
You were once part of a successful all-women pop band – how do you find being a solo artist in comparison?
I really enjoy it right now! I’m always working with other people, so I’m never alone. I work really closely with Johann and Victor – we are definitely a band, and we do everything together. It’s important to have good people around you who inspire you and make you feel good about yourself. I’m doing things my way this time, and it’s important that every step feels 100% for me, and that I have fun all the time. I’m really trying to take it step by step and think everything through; be absolutely sure that I’m doing what’s right for me.
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You mentioned the therapy sessions – what else is involved in the collective song writing process?
In the beginning, we’d do it on office-time, so we met at 9 in the morning, and worked until 6, so we could go home and eat a proper dinner! Now we want to try and do something else – maybe work at night, just to see what happens. Also, we’ve all known each other since we were 15, so I think we know each other a lot better than we think. When you work that closely, we can feel strongly if someone’s sad or angry about something – we don’t have to talk, we can feel a lot when we’re in the same room.
Is it easier to be taken seriously as a woman musician today than back when you were in Play?
I don’t think so, but I do think it’s a lot to do with what kind of music you’re making. When I was in a girl group, we were put together by someone else, so of course, that’s not the same thing as what I’m doing now. Of course, it’s easier to get people’s respect if you do something on your own, but if you’ve got talent, people will like it anyway.
Who are your favourite women musicians of all times – who should the girls are readers be checking out?
I have a few! I mentioned her earlier, but I really love Beyoncé – she’s such a wonderful artist. Everyone has flaws, but she has none! I’ve been into R’n’B for a long time. My new inspiration is definitely Adele. I’d never really listened to her music before, but she’s a huge talent. I watched a concert of hers, sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea, and I was crying through the whole thing. She’s amazing! I’m not that updated when it comes to new music, but I really love Drake, but he’s been around for a while.
What have you got planned for the rest of 2012?
We’re planning to finish the album – we’ve listened to everything we have so far, and we want to do some more. We’re releasing the third single this fall, and then planning for the album to come out. We do want to release some more music in the UK, and we’d love to come back to do some more shows. We are playing the Swn Festival in October, and we’re very excited for that. Hopefully, the album will be released in the spring, but who knows what’ll happen, we really want to release everything we’ve done, but we just have to be patient!
If the singles so far are anything to go by, FAYE’s debut album will definitely be worth the wait. The latest single ‘Rocks Against The Water’ is out now. An album will be released early next year, and don’t forget to catch her at Swn Festival in Cardiff this October.