1. What is your artist name?
2. How would you describe what you do?
Nu Jazz Singer-Songwriter, pianist and guitarist.
3. How long have you being performing/working?
Playing music all my life but made a strong change in emphasis from teaching music to performing about 15 years ago.
4. What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Probably playing at the Pheasantry in Chelsea with my band on my birthday last year. Isle of Wight Jazz festival was also pretty good.
5. Have you worked/performed for/with anyone famous?
Some fantastic people I have been honoured to play with, or share a bill with are Tony Kofi, Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Juliet Kelly, Never The Bride. You might know NTB as they are part of the gay scene whereas the rest are more the general jazz world...
6. What song would you like to cover?
There's a few in the queue right now. I would say that I do 90% my own material, but have some favourite standards, often requests that I try to incorporate. Gilbert Moses wrote a great song called 'Thank The Day', which is a song I love to hear and is a great vocal exercise. Also Randy Crawford/Joe Sample song called 'Last Night at Danceland'. If I'm going to cover something I like it to be an unusual song, not just 'sing-along' ones that everyone knows.
7. If you could perform/work with anyone, who would it be?
There is a fantastic jazz singer and curator called Georgia Mancio who puts together a really diverse festival called ReVoice! which celebrates singing...she always has a great line-up and it's my dream to get involved.
8. What is your guilty pleasure?
Nothing guilty about pleasure! Ha! Well, I am quite geeky and obsessive so I get addicted to classic sci fi, martial arts movies, mini-series box sets etc. Have been known to lose a whole weekend just catching up on The Wire, or similar. Also I am a huge K-pop fan (if you haven't discovered K-pop, you must) and enjoy Korean teen dramas and reality TV shows. (hey, you asked...)
9. Tell us one secret about yourself.
I checked through the questions and realised I missed this one. OOps. Must be meant to be...! Moving on...
10. How and why did you get into this profession?
That's hard to say because I was never not into it - it was just something that everyone in the family did to some degree. I always knew that that would be my direction.
11. When you're not working what do you like to do to chill out?
More work, basically, but in a more chilled out way. Composing or arranging in a meandering, relaxed way is great chill out time. But also I run nearly everyday and do martial arts several times a week - which is a great release. I also like to cook and to get out in nature, and today I rode a friend's motorbike! And I like to see live performance by other people - it's refreshing to remember what it's like to be the audience.
My whole family is musical but I think I just really stuck at it. I grew up in Devon in what I realise now was relative isolation. Surrounding by countryside I had plenty of time just to write music and start to experiment with composing. I learnt some classical piano as a kid, but only started to really fall in love with it and voice too, when I moved to London and trained with gospel musicians - gradually my folk roots mixed with Rhythm and Blues, Soul and Jazz and I started to find a style that went with my lyrics and inspired new ones. I always played guitar as a teenager, but took private lessons in earnest when I moved to London, going through all the classical grades - that was a marathon, I can tell you! But worth it. I've just worked really hard and continued to study and never stopped....
I am inspired by keyboard players such as Ray Charles, Scott Joplin, Herbie Hancock, Nina Simone, Rickie Lee Jones, Diamanda Galas Tori Amos and Hiromi Uehara. I write original songs which combine jazz, funk, pop, folk, gospel and blues influences with a retro yet contemporary Nu Jazz sound. I like to capitalise on having a voice that stretches across registers going very deep and ultra high. I've had some comparisons to Judy Garland and Horace Silver ( a great jazz pianist and lyricist, sadly recently died) I am a poet, accomplished instrumentalist, soloist and creative collaborator, doing session, teaching and production work for others. Recently I have been developing my guitar playing, adapting my classical and jazz training into my songwriting. I work as a session guitarist with UK 'Soulful ChillOut' artist Lazy Hammock and as a performer/musical consultant (I suppose that's what I'd call it...) with UK civil rights movement Million Women Rise....
I have gigged a lot in and around the London jazz 'underbelly' both solo and with my band. Have really especially loved Soho Theatre Piano Bar, Ray's Jazz, Upstairs at Ronnie Scott's, Stratford Theatre Royal, The Vortex, The Pheasantry in Cheslea and live Trafalgar Square with Million Women Rise. Festivals include: Isle of Wight International Jazz Divas, Derry Jazz Festival, Jazznacht Donaueshingen, Hackney Spice Festival, LFest.
Faye will also be featuring in a forthcoming book about female jazz artists - (available 2015 via German Jazz publisher Buddy's Knife. Details will announced online nearer the time.) And don't forget to visit Faye's popular BLOG. - 'Mind Matter and Music.'