An Interview With Shiny Toy Guns Front-Woman CARAH FAYE On Her Breakout Debut Solo Music and Much More!
Posted On 03 Nov 2017
Following her GRAMMY-nominated turn as one of the lead singers for Shiny Toy Guns, Carah Faye releases “Gold Plated,” the official solo debut and new, vocal-driven sound for the singer. The debut single will follow up with a corresponding live action video and series of singles leading into early 2018.
“Gold Plated,” featuring the soulful vocals of Los Angeles-based Crenshaw Elite Choir and Heart of Compassion Outreach Chorus, is a vast departure from the former electro-pop singer’s discography. With soaring vocals, and a gospel-meets-lowrider bassline, the song reintroduces a formidable vocal talent with an ear for blending genres.
“’Gold Plated’ is my ode to what I call grimy gospel,” said Carah Faye. “I’ve always wanted to sing the way I grew up singing in and out of church; bigger and with more soul, but keeping the modern rhythm based edge I love so much. I love the power of drums and the power of voices singing together most. This song is the unfiltered version of me.”
The song was inspired by her own reaching, and observations of others reaching, for the wrong thing with the wrong motivations, whether that be fighting for the wrong relationships, or being driven in life by the wrong goals. “There is a lot of fake light that can temporarily fill a room, or heart, but never leave you with real happiness.”
“We live in a very narcissistic time,” continued Faye. “There are lies that we start to believe about what makes us ‘enough’ whether that be in life or for someone else. The chorus is my silencing of those lies. It was essentially born out of frustration. I was giving my all to people who weren’t examining their own intentions. The gold-plated metaphor is an unfiltered plea for people to open their eyes and hearts to genuine connection and recognize surface-level intention.”
The single marks the start of a new path for the pink-haired vocalist and songwriter. She last released an unofficial single titled “Don’t Say a Word” in June of 2016. Carah Faye is credited as songwriter for acts including Zedd, Hayley Williams, Lindsey Stirling, Taeyeon and Hey Violet.
Connect with Carah Faye:
Learn more about Carah Faye in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood? What is a song you are loving these days?
Of course! So happy to chat. You’re catching me at 9AM on a Friday, three cups of coffee deep, and feeling pretty feisty. 🙂
Kayne, Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, Stevie Wonder, and Nat King Cole could all literally shift my mood the moment a song starts. They command that you feel what THEY’RE feeling. That’s what music should do. Whatever the emotion, you should be rendered powerless against its effects.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Was there a time where you thought of doing something completely different?
My grandfather was a “crooner” for a band in the Air Force and was my biggest inspiration to sing. I joined a kids group when I was 7 and performed for everyone from Ronald Reagan to 7 people in a nursing home. I fell so deeply in love with singing for people on any level. I can’t remember any time in my life where anything was more important to me than music, and affecting people through it.
Musically, this has been a very big year for you and your music. Can you talk about deciding to break away from Shiny Toy Guns and pursue your own solo music? How long do you think you have wanted to do this? Was it hard for you to do it? What are you most excited about for in 2018?
This year has absolutely been a major shift for me. I made the decision to go solo from Shiny Toy Guns years ago but it’s only this year that I could so definitively see, taste, create and embody exactly what that meant. I found my sound. I found myself in the process. It was both exhilarating and terrifying. Nothing about this is a side project to me because there are no pieces left off the table. It’s all of me.
2018 means releasing more of these songs that I’m DYING to have the world hear and then playing them live. I want people to hear my heart.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown has affected you and your music today?
I’m from a town called Newbury Park, California. Not too big, not too small. I feel like I got the best of both worlds because I was far enough from LA to have a normal childhood, but close enough to have the opportunities that I now realize I was BEYOND fortunate to have had. My town looked like it would be in Spielberg movie. Typical suburban neighborhoods but surrounded by mountains we would ride our bikes to and explore. I really think the human imagination excels in towns where there seemingly “isn’t a lot to do” because it forces the mind to create a world for itself.
What was it like putting together your debut solo track “Gold Plated”? Where did the inspiration for it come from exactly? How did you get together with the LA-based Crenshaw Elite Choir and Heart of Compassion Outreach Chorus for the song? What was it like collaborating with them? How is this song your “ode to what you call grimy gospel”?
Gold Plated was special from the day it was born. I wrote it with a production duo named Trackside and an incredible talent named Cam Grey. We just hit a vibe and the song felt like it was writing itself. The meaning is so deep within me. The awareness in myself, and really all of us, focusing on the wrong things and the wrong light with the wrong motivations. The decision to consciously not be that way anymore. To be better. To give out the right kind of light in the world. The chorus is directed at the lies I believed and refuse to ever listen to again.
How I ended up meeting/getting the choir is insane. There was a gentleman who drove my Uber home from a late night studio session who had asked if he could sing for me. I was tired but immediately pulled out my phone and requested Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’. Long story short, he sang like an ANGEL and I was blown away. He prayed for me and then said if I ever needed a singer he would love to help. Fast forward six months to me wanting a real choir on this song and having NO clue how I was going to pull that off. I laid in bed and googled “LA gospel choir” because that seemed like a good place to start. I was scrolling through a bunch of search results and eventually saw the name “Crenshaw Elite Choir” and a completely sure feeling that this MUST be the choir I somehow get. I knew nothing about them, only that they had been highlighted in my heart and there was no looking back. Little did I know at the time that this was a very sought-after and dream choir that I couldn’t pass up.
Anyways, I went to bed that night not knowing how I was going to get them. The instant I woke up the next day, I remembered the evening where I had had an Uber driver sing for me. I thought to myself, “maybe he knows a choir, but I have no idea what his name wa-“ and in that moment I felt the name “Goward” get written on my heart. I had never been told his name. I didn’t even know “Goward” was a name. But, I decided to search it in Instagram and HE WAS THE TOP ONE TO POP UP. Right there. Goward Horton. I was scrolling through his feed and THERE IT WAS, Goward singing with a choir. I clicked on the picture, and got chills all over my body. It was the Crenshaw Elite Choir!! You cannot make these things up. After some moments of collecting myself off the floor, I wrote him a heartfelt message and just hoped he would remember me and somehow be willing to help. He responded and was so excited. Said he knew he was supposed to help. Connected me with Iris Stevenson, who is the director of the choir, and everything was suddenly in motion. They believed in me, my song and my heart for the world and wanted to help. Goward assembled the group that would sing on the record and we began planning arrangements and days to shoot a video all together. I was so honored to work with them. Ms. Stevenson is a FORCE and a legend. She is actually who Whoopi Goldberg was modeling her character after in Sister Act 2. I still wake up pinching myself that she and Goward are in my life.
How do you think “Gold Plated” prepares listeners for future music from you?
I specifically released Gold Plated first because of how indicative it is of what I want to be/do. I grew up singing in church and I wanted that influence to be prominent in my music. I wanted to sing bigger. I wanted the sound to be ambitious and paint a picture for how you would expect to see it played live. I wanted to say things I was passionate about and, to me, Gold Plated captured that. It feels like I’m actually holding my breath until I release the rest of these songs though!
When do you hope to release more new music and a full-length album of new songs? Do you feel like you are in a really creative headspace right now so you are feeling very inspired these days?
Not only do I feel inspired but I feel emboldened in a lot of ways. I don’t want to make music in a box, or from rules, or from a place of fear that people might not understand it. That’s not how you make real art. It’s admittedly terrifying to do something that doesn’t have a definably obvious “lane” but somehow I feel ok with it. I worked hard enough on my music to feel ecstatic about it. Sink or swim, and no matter how people react, these songs are so true to me and exactly what I want to be doing.
I’m hoping to put the rest of these songs out by Spring of 2018.
How do you think your sound as a solo artist is different than your music with Shiny Toy Guns? What has been the biggest difference from being a part of the two?
Wow, they are COMPLETELY different. Joining STG I had zero history, or even understanding of dance music. I felt like I had to sing a certain way. Across my life I had to “sing a certain way” because as a kid I was singing Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston songs and needed to emulate them. Somewhere in this solo journey I felt like I finally found my voice and could express what happens when MY soul walks up to a mic. My influences are so broad but have somehow come together to make me what I am today. The biggest difference between STG and my solo project is the scary truth that there aren’t three other talented people sharing the vision. Any potential success, failure or judgement of what I do now points entirely to me. No one else to blame! Also, I’m singing dramatically different; the sound is far from “electro.” That said, I would like to think that I tried to take the strength that Shiny Toy Guns had in writing melodic love songs and willingly let it influence me. That band is a huge part of who I am and nothing will change that.
Do you have plans to play out live at all this fall and winter? Are you going to continue performing with Shiny Toy Guns?
I’m in the process of planning my first couple shows as a solo artist. There is no “half way” in my music or in what I want from a live show. Especially, since discovering exactly what this is. If you close your eyes and feel the story being told in the dynamics, how the production is making you feel, you can expect to feel that life. From now on I’m taking every chance I get as an artist and treating it as if it’s the last chance I’ll ever have to write or perform music again.
With the summer over now, what was something fun or new that you tried this summer?
I tried skydiving for my boyfriend’s birthday annnnnnddd WOOOOOOAAAH. Every moment leading up to where you actually are forced to jump from that plane is awful. I was excited but, as a human being with parts that WILL break should something go wrong, I was really hesitant. But, in the moment you jump out everything changes. There’s no going back and you just have to surrender to the journey down. The perspective it gives you is INCREDIBLE. I would do it again in a heartbeat. The rush is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced!
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? Do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these difficult times?
There are two ways to look at your “power” as a musician/artist.
One, saying things through your art because you have a platform and people are listening. Or you could also use music as the VESSEL to get you the platform to use your voice in other ways. Which is kind of where I stand.
Or two, you could be the a safe place and offer relief. Make the world feel calm in the midst of a storm. People need soul-refuge in these times. Being able to provide that on ANY level is so magical and any artist would be so lucky to take part it that gift.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Nat King Cole, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd, Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, Fleetwood Mac, Kanye, Bon Iver, Miles Davis, Van Morrison, Nas, The Fugees, Mew, Kent, Outkast and SO many more I’m literally just thinking of what I’ve listened to in the last month. Also, each for different reasons. I would love to work Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, Kanye or Bon Iver. Modern Day, they are making things that I connect with so much.
What do you hope your fans take away from your music? Do you think there is a message to a lot of your songs?
Throughout this, I kept saying “I want to do for music what it’s done for me” and that’s what I hope to have achieved. Music has made me who I am. I’ve built life around it. I tell my stories through it. I fight my biggest battles via the creation journey.
I hope people listening to my songs just hear my heart. Hear another human going through the same life battles we all face, and in turn find hope that they’re not alone. Music can be whatever you choose to use it for. On both the creative and listening side of music, I think that’s important to remember.
What advice would you give to a young person who is thinking about becoming a musician one day?
The dream has to be bigger than any rejection you will potentially face. That will make it worth it on the hardest of days. And, know what you are. What you have to give. Figure it out, so definably, till you don’t even have to explain it because you will just BE that thing. The world will know and respond. Whatever it is you want to do focus on it. And believe in your heart that the only way you will fail is if you give up. Every dreamer gets their chance, it’s whether or not you cared, and were focused enough, to prepare for that moment.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I just hope that any effect I have, small or large, will be a positive one. Both through my music and my personal life, which have finally bled together, I hope when all is said and done I made you feel something.
I get to do what I so honestly love and I will never take that gift for granted.
The song is now available on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/album/30hNFcxMeqcoK1Kw3dPTj1
Apple Music here: https://itunes.apple.com/sz/album/gold-plated/id1291549557?i=1291549558