ARTIST INTERVIEW: Faye Meana

Will Andrews in conversation with soul prodigy Faye Meana

Faye Meana
 

The epic “Verzuz” lovefest between legends Erykah Badu and Jill Scott demonstrated that the market for neo-soul music is still thriving. The R&B titans' livestream drew more than 700,000 attendees and set a new series viewership record, but with miss Badu and miss Scott being renowned for their reluctance to release new albums, the ‘battle’ made it abundantly clear that our generation is in dire need of more soul royalty.

Enter London based songstress and producer Faye Meana. Oozing soulful calmness, her unforgettably sultry voice makes her an ideal candidate to fill the neo-soul void. Meana (pronounced Mee-nuh) is undoubtedly bound for success, boasting lyrical maturity far beyond her age while accompanying herself with spell-binding soul production, proving that this individual truly demands immediate attention.

Following the success of her last EP Shades Of A Dreamer. Will Andrews caught up with the prodigious talent for us at Slow Motion Panic Masters to discuss quarantine, artistry and new music. Get hooked on Faye's soulful brilliance with the link below, and enjoy a great conversation with an absolutely unmissable voice straight from the UK underground...

 

Faye, you started making music at a very young age. When was the first time you realised you wanted to be a musician?


I’ve been playing Piano since I was 5 and I’d always wanted to be a composer up until the age of 15, when I realised that actually my passion was songwriting. So, in short, I’ve always known.


On your most recent EP, Shades of a Dreamer, you outline on the cover the meaning/inspiration behind each track – a lot of these songs are very personal, revolving about relationships and love. When was the first time you fell in love?

I think there’s been times when I’d thought I was in love in the past, but I think only now, with my current partner, was the first time I’d properly been in love and known it.


Have you been writing much since releasing your last EP?


I’ve been writing lots since my last EP [while] working on my next one. It was meant to be coming out in July but because of the pandemic and everything in London being shut it’s been pushed back until studios open up again unfortunately. But it’s very much a summer project so I’m hoping that it’ll be out when we have good weather here still.


The UK has recently been producing a variety of young talented singers such as yourself, Jorja Smith, Mahalia and IAMDDB. Are there any artists whom you’d like to collaborate with in future?


I’m loving Children of Zeus right now, so I’d love to collaborate with them. But I mean I have so many people I’d love to write with; Yussef Dayes [ed: fuck yeah], Thundercat, Dev Hynes, bLAck pARty to name a few.


Performing at the Islington in London, you did an amazing cover of the 'Other Side of the Game' by Erykah Badu. Which artists have inspired you?


That’s so cool you came, thank you! Erykah has definitely been a big inspiration. When I was a kid I really only listened to music from the 60’s & 70’s era so a lot of my inspiration has come from people like Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Astrud Gilberto etc. But I’ve also got a lot of inspiration from people like De La Soul, The Internet, Anderson. Paak there’s so many.


Mentioning covers of artists, what's your go-to karaoke song?


Okay, this is a tough one but I'd have to go with 'You Know I'm No Good' by Amy [Winehouse]


What kind of things inspire you to write?


Usually I find inspiration from travelling/visiting different places or if something significant, either good or bad, has happened in my life then I usually turn to writing. Considering there’s very little variation in the days right now I didn’t think I’d be as creative as I have been, which took me by surprise.


Do you find that music you create is similar to the music you listen to, or is there a difference in what genres/styles you enjoy listening to and that which you create yourself?


I think that my style of writing is almost a mix of all the music I like put together. I get little bits of inspiration from different genres and mix them all together. Some genres have more of an influence than others but I think they all have a part to play in my overall sound.


You have a great stage presence; do you ever get nervous when performing?


Surprisingly, I’ve never had nerves when performing. I think because it’s the one thing I feel totally comfortable doing and it’s like second nature to me. I think it also helps having my band with me because we just have a laugh and enjoy ourselves. I will [most definitely] be doing a show as soon as we are given the green light to. I miss performing so much.


Which of your songs is your favourite to perform?


If I’m performing with my full band then my favourite is definitely Unrequited Love but if I were doing an acoustic set with just guitar I love Move On from my first EP.


Inevitable question: how're you finding quarantine and what have you been doing during it?


At first I found it quite hard as I’m usually always out of my house and not knowing how long it was gonna go on for was so intimidating to me, but after a couple weeks I realised I actually needed the break. So I’ve just been writing loads, been learning to speak Portuguese and going on a tonne of walks.


The theme of this series is ‘lockdown inspiration’ - we want to know who inspires you - so, if you could invite five famous people for a dinner party, dead or alive. Who do you choose and why?


I love this question! Okay so definitely Aretha Franklin, she’s my all time hero and I would just wanna hear everything about her life. Quincy Jones because he could probably teach me more in 2 hours than I’ve learnt in 2020 so far. Tyler, The Creator because he’s so weird and I find him so funny. Erykah Badu, because she has so much wisdom and I’d make her read my tarot cards haha. And Rosalía, because she seems so sweet and I wanna be friends with her.

Finally, what more can we expect from Faye Meana in 2020?


So I’m gonna be releasing my EP sometime this summer and hopefully doing a couple shows soon after. However, because it’s such an uncertain time I’ve found it really hard to plan for the future so I think I’ll just go with the flow for the rest of the year and see how everything turns out.

 

Thank you again to the amazing Faye Meana and our very favourite interviewer Will Andrews. Read his last interview with the brilliant Shingai here to see more of what the UK underground has to offer. Follow Faye on instagram right now and show her some more love on behalf of us here at SMPM.

 

Will Andrews is a 21 year old student at King’s College, London. He’s the most southern man to ever come out of Yorkshire and spends his time procrastinating listening to music rather than studying.


Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based in South Wales.


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