Photo: Eat Humans

Folksy Faye Webster Plays DC9

Faye Webster is more than a folk artist, though that’s how most websites and music critics classify her. The 21-year old singer-songwriter from Atlanta does indeed strum acoustic guitars and her soft voice comes with a faint Southern accent, but her sound has undoubtedly evolved since her first release, 2013’s Run & Tell. Though traces of that traditional twang is still evident in 2017’s Faye Webster and this year’s Atlanta Millionaire’s Club, it’s clear the young musician is growing exponentially with each release.

There’s little doubt the use of her name on the second record was intentional, acting as a fresh introduction to a new direction she wanted to take her music – trading some of the bluegrass for pop and some of the country for R&B. If Faye Webster was a taste of Webster’s versatility than  Atlanta Millionaire’s Club is a buffet.

While Webster is on the road, we had a chance to chat with her pen pal style, where we asked her about her photography, her Braves, her yo-yos and, of course, her music.

On Tap: The first thing I noticed listening to Atlanta Millionaires Club is how different it is than your self-titled LP and especially Run & Tell. It seems like you’ve sort of reached this point where you’re truly free flowing from R&B to folk to country to wherever else you feel like going, but it all still sounds uniquely you.
Faye Webster: I don’t think about that stuff when I make music, I just write and record and let the song call for whatever it wants or “meant” to sound like.

OT: This album has a seamless flow to it, even as it goes from a song with a tropical sound like “Room Temperature” to a pop-sensible “Right Side of My Neck.” How much work did you put into getting the order right to better tell your story?
FW: It was a lot of back and forth, I probably made five drafts of the track list. When I finally made this order and listened to it front to back, it was just an instant feeling that this was the one.

OT: Before this record, you sang a few hooks on hip hop songs, was there anything learned from the experience of doing features that you brought to Millionaires Club?
FW: Definitely, I learned to let things happen in the moment because when you are there doing a feature and collating with another artist you don’t nit pick lyrics or make revisions, you just let your heart out. With this record, I tried not to go back and touch on songs; I just left them raw and imperfect. Also having Father on this record is really special to me and is kind go a homage to him and Awful Records. They hold a very special place in my heart always.

OT: Speaking of hooks. Being from Atlanta, what hip-hop legend would you most want to do a song with? I know you did a photo shoot with Killer Mike, does this mean we can expect you on RTJ4? (Please say yes!)
FW: He’s not from Atlanta but JPEGMAFIA and I have been talking about doing a song together, and I really want that to happen.

OT: I know you’ve said in other interviews that everything you write is personal, but was this one more difficult because of the subject matter? I think you mention crying approximately 57 times, it’s extremely open and intimate.
FW: Approximately, yes. Singing about my family is always hard, especially when they are there in person listening. I used to have conversations with my brothers about whether or not I should take out something I said about my mom or grandmothers, but it’s how I wrote it and that’s how it should stay.

OT: As a photographer, do your album covers sort of mean more to you than they would other artists, because so far they’ve all been some take on an a portrait of yourself. What was the process of doing the coin photo? Also, how many of the coins did you actually eat? 
FW: Yeah, I try to not just make it an album but a art piece as a whole. It took two days to get that picture and I didn’t eat chocolate for three months after that.

OT: Does your music and photography intersect at all, do you find yourself inspired by the music you for a shoot and vice versa? 

FW: I think it’s just something that I enjoying doing. It definitely shows off in my music videos though.

OT: What was the toughest environmental portrait you’ve done as a photographer? Why was it difficult?
FW: I think the portrait of Killer Mike because we met at his barber shop and that’s all I had to work with. It was just hard transforming the photograph to look like we aren’t in a barber shop.

OT: Switching gears, what is the most expensive yo-yo you own? Is there a difference in quality or is it simply the design/aesthetic that makes it expensive, because I’ve looked some up and prices are WILD.
FW: An $80 Cadence (Kieran Cooper’s signature yo-yo made by SF Yoyos). When yo-yos are metal they start to get fancy and expensive. But that’s what people compete with.


OT: Do you ever sing and yo-yo at the same time? Is it like brain gymnastics, like does it help spark ideas when you’re stagnant?
FW: No, but I have a whole playlist to yo-yo to.

OT: Lastly, what happens first: 1.) You sing the National Anthem at an Atlanta Braves Game? or 2.) You throw out the first pitch at an Atlanta Braves Game?
FW: First pitch. I would forget every word to the National Anthem, it would be terrifying.

Faye Webster will play in front of a sold-out DC9 tonight. For more information on her, her music and her yo-yo exploits, follow her on Twitter @fayewebsters.

DC9 Nightclub: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; 202-483-5000; www.dc9.club