Interview: Fayth Hope | The Wonderful World of Carminelitta

Interview: Fayth Hope

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I am always happy to discover new artists, especially when they have views on the world and music similar to mine and when they are very passionate about their art. I am therefore quite thankful to my friend Preach Jacobs for putting me on his very talented singer Fayth Hope. Fayth is now signed to Preach’s brand-new Sounds Familiar Records and is also part of his really innovative venture Mo’ Betta Soul (initially an online magazine). But I will now let the lady explain all this and more. Here is Fayth Hope, in her own words…

First of all, for those of us that are not familiar with you and your music, could you introduce yourself and tell us about what you’ve been up to so far?

Well, I’m Fayth Hope… and yes, that’s my government name (smile). I’m a singer, songwriter, and a lover of music. Music has been in my life ever since preschool. I can gladly say that I didn’t roll over one morning and proclaim, “Hey, I think I’ll be songstress!” It’s always been a part of me. Took damn near all of my life to realize music’s purpose and plan for me, but I’m happy I went through the journey because not only did the experience shape me into who I am now, it also gave me something to write about. So that’s what I’m doing, turning all of my life experiences into melodic form for people to hear and, hopefully, learn from.

I had a look on your website (which I find beautiful by the way, lovely design!) and I really enjoyed reading your bio, particularly because of the way music was always present in your life, even when you tried to ‘escape’ it. Could you tell us more about the steps you had to go through to finally find your voice and embrace your talent?

Thank you! I put a lot thought into the website. I wanted visitors to be able to see the contents and get a true feel for who I am – through colors, graphics, narratives… everything.

Continue reading after the jump

In conquering my fear of singing, the best medicine by far was being forced to face my fears. Now that I did not do on my own – I had a little help from Sister Serendipity (smile). It started back in 2007 while I was organizing and promoting events dealing with music, poetry, and visual arts. I never considered adding myself to any of the showcases; I was always highlighting the talents of others. Funny thing is, whenever I handed out flyers for the events, people always asked if I were singing. And each time I would say, “No, I’m the one putting the event together.” It was like I was walking around with a damn bull’s eye on my forehead with the word “SINGER” etched smack, dab in the middle. It really irritated the hell out of me because there was no rhyme or reason why this was happening. No one knew me around town at that point or had ever heard me sing for that matter. So how did they know I could sing? The jury’s still out on that one. Anyhow, on my first event, I needed a filler because there was still a lot of space left on the performance segment. Soooo, I stepped in and did a song on the fly. And people dug it! I really didn’t understand their receptiveness at first because I didn’t view it as some grand, kick ass performance; I was simply doing it out of duty, for the sake of saving the show from a boring pause and potentially losing the crowd. This happened a few more times on subsequent events. After a while, I was performing not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I was truly enjoying myself. And for the first time in my life, I wasn’t worried about what people thought of me while I was on stage. I just did my thing. And in doing my thing, I found out what my “thing” was. Those performances gave me the chance to further refine my voice and style. If the crowd responded well to my delivery and I felt good while doing it, then that was the green light for me to keep doing my thing, my thing. When it comes down to it, I do me best. I’m glad I finally learned that lesson, whew!

You are now part of the Sound Familiar Records family and took part in Mo’ Betta Soul: Unplugged, the new series of events organised by Preach Jacobs. You opened for Res on this occasion and it seems to have been a great experience. How did you get in touch with Preach and what are your impressions on the show?

I made contact with Preach years ago, back around 2004, when I was in graduate school at the University of South Carolina. I was in this cool little coffee shop near campus. Lots of students and artsy folk frequent this spot. While I was waiting for my order, I noticed some really cool photography displayed on the wall. Simply dope! Reminded me of Gordon Parks. The photographer’s name was Preach Jacobs. I called the contact info listed and told him how much I dug his work. We seemed to hit it off during this first conversation. Throughout the years we stayed in contact. He was even suppose to perform on one of my shows I promoted, but he got into a car accident and couldn‘t make it. Keep in mind that we had never met in person up to that point (I live an hour away from him). We finally ran into each other by happenstance at a pizza joint in 2009. And ever since then I’ve made sure to keep his number on speed dial. When I decided to pursue a solo career, I gave him a call for some guidance and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Res show was truly a door opener for me. I knew it was going to be something special from the moment the opportunity had first arisen. The reason why I aligned myself with Preach in the first place was because the music scene in Augusta wasn’t working out for me. I had a hard time finding my audience and people who could appreciate what I have to bring as an artist. I got that and a whole lot more at the Res show in Columbia. I was totally caught off guard with all the love I received from the crowd… so much love to the point where I was left speechless and damn near in tears. Just floored! I’ve had a number of opportunities presented to me because of the show. I’m also playing a bigger role with Mo’ Betta Soul than I expected. With Preach’s blessing, I’ve now started the Augusta franchise of MBS. So not only is he my mentor, but he’s also my partner. MBS as a whole has opened doors for all of us. Doors that we helped to build. MBS is a DIY concept. We got tired of waiting and waiting on callbacks from promoters and venue owners just to get a gig. So instead of depending on someone else for an opportunity, we’re creating our own opportunities. That’s a huge accomplishment for any independent artist.

Your music is, in your own words, ‘a menagerie containing my life experiences thus far, both in words and sound’. I really like this formula and what it implies, in terms of eclecticism and experimentation. Is it important for you to explore different musical areas and ideas? You also insist on the need to share those experiences with others, do you feel music is the best way for you to do so?

Exploration is definitely important for me, both as an artist and a listener. Because of my exposure to different kinds of music, I just can’t seem to stick myself in one box. There are so many genres and styles to pick from. Why have just daisies when you can have daisies and tulips and roses and hydrangeas and azaleas… I’m pretty sure you get my point (smile). Experimentation gives me room to create my own flavor and sound. That’s why I really like eclectic artists such as Van Hunt, Robert Glasper, and Esperanza Spalding; they can easily flip in and out of different styles. To me, that’s the mark of a true artist – the ability to break barriers. And as a person, I have the same type of nature. So it’s not surprising that it shows up in my music. When you see me in a few years with a jazz album, please know that it’s not a gimmick, just me further expounding on something that was already there in the first place. And the same thing goes for the acoustic album (laughs).

I wouldn’t say music is the best way, but one of my preferred ways of conveying my thoughts and sharing my experiences with others. I do not have any problem with holding in-depth conversations with people. I absolutely love sitting and talking with people for hours about the high’s, the low’s, and the crazy moments of our lives. But when you add melodic verse and instrumentation to the pot, it makes those experiences that much sweeter. When you publish your experiences for others to hear (be it through music or writing), you create the opportunity for people to relate with you. Because chances are, there is somebody, somewhere who feels the same way as you do or has gone through/is going through what you are speaking about. Sharing isn’t for me alone; it’s for the hearts and souls out there who, as Minnie Riperton said, can “feel what I’m saying”.

As I said earlier, music has been present in your life very early and you have been exposed to different genres and influences. What or who would you say helped you create your own style?

It started when I was 4 or 5. My father stayed buying music. He listened mainly to R & B (a la Luther Vandross, Patty Austin, Jeffrey Osborne, The Gap Band) and smooth jazz. He would spin his records in our downstairs den on a Friday or Saturday night and we would dance, dance, dance. But my liking for music seemed innate. I was lucky to be in an environment where my instincts were nurtured. Also during this period, I watched MTV non-stop for some odd reason. There was nothing soulful about MTV then, only rock and pop. I was glued to the TV set, watching the likes of Van Halen, Huey Lewis and The News, Billy Idol, etc. I don’t know why it appealed to me, but it did. MTV continued to play a big role in my life. As an adolescent, “Yo! MTV Raps” was a favorite summertime and after-school past time of mine. But the way I really got submerged into the world of hip hop was by hanging out with my older sister and her friends. Whether they were getting ready for a party or joyriding, they always had the hottest hip hop tracks playing. I even went with her to a concert where Salt-N-Pepa, Heavy D, Dana Dane, and Slick Rick were on the same bill. Classic hip hop moment! It wasn’t always about hip hop though. My sister had a particular friend who listened to a lot of 70’s soul. Through my many excursions with the two of them, I developed a love for old school soul artists such as Earth Wind & Fire, The Isley Brothers, and Curtis Mayfield. Around that same time, I began classical voice training and later went on to attend the Alabama School of Fine Arts, where I continued my classical training. While at ASFA, I hung out with an eclectic group of kids. My taste for alternative music budded because of that (and also because of watching hours of Beavis & Butthead; thanks again MTV!). It was also during this time when neo soul and conscious hip hop came blasting on the scene. I was in heaven! D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, The Roots… it was such an exciting time. This brand of music truly spoke to me. It wasn’t just the clichéd “ooh baby I love you and you know it’s true” type of music; these artists put the artistry back into writing songs about love and the human condition. Just dope! Fast forward… while attending Clark Atlanta University, I developed a strong enthusiasm for jazz music. I was covered in it. CAU had an all-jazz radio station, a jazz orchestra, and in choir we performed jazz pieces. Nowadays, I listen to jazz on XM 90% of the time I’m in my car. I’m nowhere near where I want to be with my personal jazz collection, but I don’t think I ever will. Jazz is so vast, and I love it!

In addition to some of the artists I named above, I also truly dig John Coltrane, Janis Joplin, Nancy Wilson, Jill Scott, and Minnie Riperton. It was really through Minnie that I learned that I don’t have to have a big, humongous voice to tear the house down. In listening to her work, I learned that you can milk a song through simplicity and purity (which is something my college choir director said all of the time). Sometimes, you can lose people with gratuitous use of ad libs and other little gimmicks and tricks. She eloquently conveyed the message of the song while cleverly showcasing her vocal abilities. Minnie’s songs had balance; not too hot, not too cold… just right. And that’s what I’m striving towards. I hate that she’s gone. But I am so thankful that she has some great teachings to leave behind.

Your new single, the beautiful Truly, madly, deeply is now available, and for me it was a great introduction to your universe. Of course I am quite impatient to hear more from you. What are your projects and what else do you have in store for us?

(Laughs) I’m also impatient. Oh yeah, and it’s Truly Deeply Madly (wink). I’m currently working on my debut album entitled Out Of Obscurity. With God’s speed, it will be finished late spring/early summer 2011. Just as you said, it IS an introduction to my universe. My thoughts, my experiences, my hijinks, everything. The producer I’m working with on this album, Dose, is amazing! I’m surprised that he hasn’t already been snatched up by an A-list artist. He’s that good. Dose’s work carries a lot of depth and thought. You can tell that he really puts his heart, mind, and soul into these arrangements. He also plays the role of big brother and confidant. I can always talk with him when I’m having moments of uncertainty or if I’m in the midst of writer’s block. Dose tells me what I need to hear to keep going. We have a good thing between us.

But this is just the beginning. This album is only scratching the surface. I don’t want to give away everything I have all at once. I’m gradually peeling away the layers. The fun is in the journey… and I don’t want to get to the destination too quickly. Gotta save something for later. But I promise that everything that you will hear from me in the future is ME INDEED, whether it’s with a guitar, jamming with a jazz combo, or over a beat created by an MPC… it’s all still me, Fayth Hope.

Anything else you would like to add?

Thank you so much for your contribution to the world of music, good music! I look forward to your continued growth as a music journalist. And I also thank you for the interview. I am honored to be a part of your world (smile).

Now that you know more about the talented and extremely interesting Fayth Hope, discover her beautiful music with her first single Truly Deeply Madly, produced by Dose. It is available for purchase so please support quality music! Listen below and buy it on Truly Deeply Madly - Fayth Hope.

And because there’s never enough goodness, here is a video footage of Fayth’s performance of Not really on Mo’ Betta Soul. Enjoy!

Find out more about Fayth Hope on her website, Facebook and Twitter

P.S. You can support Mo’ Betta Soul Tour 2011 and allow Preach and his team to export the very interesting and innovative concept and DIY approach. All you need to do is go to Kickstarter and pledge any amount you desire. Thanks for them!

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One Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Terry Burroughs
    Jan 27, 2011 @ 01:34:27

    Great job,my friend!


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