Faith Elle is an up-and-coming artist who has grown alongside North Carolina’s local music scene, but unlike many of her contemporaries, she sings as much (if not more) than she raps. Her 2015 debut mix-tape features guest appearances from AZ, Young $tretch, Teflon Don, and DJ X-CELL. At only 25 years old, she definitely has a lot of potential. In a recent exclusive interview Faith gave us some insight into her thoughts, experiences and work code. Faith Elle has currently released her 16-track mixtape, “Spring Fling: Vol 1”, hosted by DJ X CELL on Certified Mixtapez.
- How long have you been in the music business and how did you get started in the first place?
Faith Elle: Well the music business is something that I’m still very new to, but music has always been a part of my life. I started recording when I was really young, around age 13. I would record at home on the computer and I’d put little songs out on MySpace (laughs). I never had a specific sound so when I got of college age I would basically spend all my free time in the recording studio at my school, just learning about engineering and developing my gifts. I’ve been very social when it comes to networking so I would work a lot with my professors on musical projects and events as well as consistently working behind the scenes with other independent artists on their music and now I feel I’m at a place in life where I’m more seasoned as an artist. That’s one reason my debut mix-tape (Spring Fling) was so important to me, because now I have a chance to really be myself and show the world how much I have grown and developed my gifts.
- Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
Faith Elle: Ayeee ! This is a good one (laughs) I’ve always been very influenced by the likes of Tina Turner and Janet Jackson. They are both always so outside the box. When I see them, I see individuals who have worked very hard to be innovative and have their own unique sound and style of music. This is how I strive to be seen.
- Which artists are you currently listening to? And is there anyone of these that you’d like to collaborate with?
Faith Elle: There are a lot of dope artists out right now but just to name a few, I’d say some of my favorites include Sevyn Streeter, she’s a huge inspiration to me, and Tink as well. I’d love to collaborate with them.
- Have you suffered any ‘resistance’ from within the industry, and if so how have you handled that, and how do you handle criticism and haters in general?
Faith Elle: Well, being a female in a male dominated industry, there’s always that pressure where you feel like you have to act a certain way or have a certain image in order to be successful. Like, if I’m not sexual in my photos and in my music then some wouldn’t be interested in me as an artist because to them I’m boring. And I’m okay with that because I’m determined to be the best version of me that I can be, and to stay true to myself and what I believe in. I don’t mind being sexy, but I also have a real message that I’d like to share with the world, so to me, as a young lady, its important to find that balance between sexy and elegant.
- What are your thoughts on visual media? Do think that video is an appropriate marketing tool for your music, and where can fans find your videos?
Faith Elle: I believe video is important because it is very helpful when it comes to keeping your supporters engaged in your movement. I have videos on YouTube, if you search “Faith Elle” you’ll find promo videos I’ve done for little songs I’ve put out and also I have videos online that I actually shot & edited for other artists.
- Which do you ultimately prefer? Entertaining a live audience or creating songs in a studio setting?
Faith Elle: This is tough because I am so passionate about both. I love being in the studio for hours, vibing out with my friends, creating dope new music and basically living in the studio (laughs) but I also really enjoy those moments where I can entertain a live audience and I get to vibe out with them. So I believe the two work hand and hand with each other.
- Tell us something about your lyrics and music production on your releases. Which part of these processes do you handle, and which do you outsource generally?
Faith Elle: Being a songwriter is something I take pride in, so I write all my own lyrics. I’m not opposed to having others write for me but this is something I will normally do for myself. Music production is usually always outsourced, whether it be from a producer friend I may know or me fishing for beats on YouTube.
8 What is the title of your latest music release and where can fans find it?
Faith Elle: My latest music release is my 2015 debut mix-tape and it’s called “Spring Fling”. My supporters can virtually find it all over the web via Google search engine, but the main site I usually send people to is www.CertifiedMixtapez.com – from their site you can search “Faith Elle – Spring Fling” and they have it available for streaming and download.
- Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist in a genre thriving with newcomers?
Faith Elle: This is something I have asked others before and from what I’m understanding, my personality and the content of my music is what drives people to want to support me the most. People have expressed to me how I’m like ” a breath of fresh air” and I’m constantly being compared to the influential likes of Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and India Arie. I’m sure a lot of people are counting on me to uphold a certain standard in this industry.
- If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to be a part of this tough business. Is it joy, anger, desire, passion or pride and why?
Faith Elle: I would say my passion and desire is what drives me most. It’s like a natural feeling I’ve always had inside of me that pushes me and assures me I’m meant to be involved with music and the business side of it.
- Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most?
Faith Elle: Being independent means that I have so much control over how my career is handled and that alone can be worth more than any major deal, because I’m happy. Happiness is priceless. The bigger challenge is that since I don’t have a major label backing me, I always have to strive for credibility and that can be one of the toughest challenges of being an independent artist. When it comes to making the music, I’m always excited about the writing and recording process, but sometimes when I’m recording, I may be having a hard time hitting certain notes the way I would like and so that can discourage me some, but with determination and much practice, I’ve reached a point in my life where I can demonstrate so much flexibility with my voice. I’m hitting higher notes now that I couldn’t reach just last year. So in seeing how much I’ve grown, I can remain excited and encouraged.
- How do you market and manage your music career? Do you have a management team or do you handle everything independently?
Faith Elle: I’m very hands on in my career but team work makes the dream work. I have a very strong and faithful team behind me. Everybody has input and a responsibility to the team. My debut mix-tape “Spring Fling” was a team effort. Yes, I did the majority work on the album because it’s my own, but there were many adjustments being made during the production process, just off the strength of the suggestions from my team members.
- How do you achieve your sound? Do you work from a private recording environment or do you use a commercial sound studio?
Faith Elle: My sound took many years to develop, I definitely did not achieve this over-night (laughs). I discovered my sound through a lot of trial and error. Although I have recorded in commercial studios, the vast majority of my work is almost always completed in a private recording environment.
- The best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?
Faith Elle: One of my mentors told me to always be true to myself and to be confident in pushing the music, the sound, & the style that I love most, without caring too much about criticism. This is the key to creating longevity and timeless music in this business. I’m still very new in this industry, so I have not had the time or the experience to apply every lesson I’ve learned from advisors, but, I’m sure as I continue to progress that there will be many lessons for me to learn from.
- What are your thoughts on talent shows like American Idol, The Voice and the X-Factor etc.?
Faith Elle: I’ve never been interested in being a talent show artist. I have done talent shows in the past where I’ve taken first place, but, it’s not something I see myself doing much of these days, although I enjoy watching those shows very much.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites, as fundamental to your career, and indie music in general, or do you think it has only produced a mass of mediocre “copy-and-paste” artists, who flood the web, making it difficult for real talent to emerge?
Faith Elle: I believe the internet and social media has its pros and cons. It’s important to find a balance in your internet presence and your live presence. Foot-work is always the best way to market yourself, but with the added use of the social media, you can create and push a really strong campaign.
- If someone who has never heard of you, asks what does ‘Faith Elle’ sound like? Which 3 keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?
Faith Elle: I would say my sound is unique, creative, and refreshing.
- You both rap and sing. What do you essentially feel is your primary talent? An R&B singer or female rap artist?
Faith Elle: Naturally, I’m more passionate about being a singer, although, I was rapping long before I even knew I had a voice for singing (laughs).
- As you work your way through your career which more than any other fires-up your imagination – A Grammy award, Platinum music sales or any other tangible milestone?
Faith Elle: I love tradition so I would say I’m more fired up about the day I win my first Grammy.
- What is the ONE thing you are NOT willing or prepared to do EVER, in your quest to achieve a successful musical career?
Faith Elle: I would never go against my moral values to achieve fame. NEVER. If I can’t have dignity in what I do, then I won’t do it.