Charlie Faye & the Fayettes
Charlie Faye & the Fayettes craft smart soul-pop that merges the swinging, swaying sound and style of ‘60s girl groups with a vibe that’s so current, they’re already dancing to the forefront of the retro-revival movement.
Charlie Faye & The Fayettes’ debut album rose to #20 on the Americana radio chart and garnered high praise from the press. Often described as a “modern-day 60s girl group” reminiscent of the Ronettes or Supremes, the trio’s original songs, Motown-worthy dance moves, and tight backing band make their live shows an exciting and unforgettable experience.
Faye and her Fayettes, BettySoo and Akina Adderley, make music, sweet music, with an irresistible groove that’ll get you moving. But it’s the songs — the great, classic-sounding songs with catchy melodies and intelligent lyrics — that set Charlie Faye & The Fayettes apart from the rest. “Musically, the group hearkens to Motown, Spector or the Brill Building,” says The Huffington Post, “Charlie is emerging as a budding Carole King, and the songs are good enough to rate comparison to Goffin & King or Mann & Weil.”
Due to the strength of these songs, the band recently signed a licensing deal with Bank Robber Music. A series of great sync placements have followed, including two on the CW’s Riverdale, and others on Seal Team and Girlboss.
What originally drew you to Austin?
I was living in New York, and I came through Austin on a tour… and I just felt like the music scene here was so different from anything I had experienced before — it wasn’t just a scene, it was a community. I really wanted that. I met some great people in Austin and wasn’t too long before I made the move.
How did you, Bettysoo and Akina find each other and decide that not only were you going to make music together, but revive such an iconic style?
After my last solo record, my writing started leaning in this kind of retro direction… these little vintage soul-pop songs were coming to me one after another. So I decided I would make a whole record that felt like that. At the same time, I was getting a little tired of doing the solo singer-songwriter thing. I wanted to create something more exciting, more fun – so I had the idea to do a kind of modern-day 60s girl group.
I told BettySoo about the idea and she pretty immediately said “I’m in!” Then, as word started to get out about the new project, I got a Facebook message from Akina, saying “If you ever need another Fayette…”
So we all met up at my house one day to see what it was like with the three of us singing together. And it was magic.
Given that your aesthetics and sound draw heavy influence from the 60’s, Have you noticed any one age range gravitate to your music?
We do have a lot of fans who were lucky enough to enjoy this kind of music the first time around, in the 60s! And that feels like a huge compliment, because they saw all those amazing groups in their heyday, and now they’re excited about us. But we’ve also seen a younger crowd gravitate to this kind of music – and it seems like there’s a whole new genre coming into being because of it. Leon Bridges, Anderson East, Nathaniel Rateliff… these guys are all heavily influenced by 60s soul – and there’s a whole younger audience getting into it now!
Your latest album “Charlie Faye & the Fayettes”, musically, is a noticeable departure from your 2013 album “You Were Fine, You Weren’t Even Lonely”. When you started writing for this record, was it always your intention to make a sound so cognitive of groups like the Supremes or the Shirelles?
I’ve always been a big fan of 60s soul and pop, including those girl groups. And if you listen to “You Were Fine…” you’ll hear hints of that stuff in a couple of songs. When I started writing for this record, that influence seemed to just get stronger and stronger, so I knew I needed to do a whole record with that vibe. The girl group idea came a little later, and sprung from my desire to do something different, and something more fun – plus, I realized nobody else was doing it!
With so many historic venues in Austin, are there any that you’ve played or would like to play, that you think would fit your style and sound?
How did you originally come in to contact with the Austin Music Foundation?
I originally came into contact with the Austin Music Foundation when I was working on a project to save the Wilson Street Cottages. Wilson Street was this amazing community of musicians and artists in South Austin that was being threatened by developers. It was one of the last cool, central, and truly affordable places to live, so of course, it was an enclave of wonderful musicians! Somebody told me to go speak to AMF about the project. So I did, and through that, I met Brad Stein, who became a major ally in the battle to preserve this affordable housing for musicians.
Is there an advice that you’ve been given in your music career that has stuck with you or shaped in some small way, the way you operate as a professional musician?
There’s probably a lot of great advice I’ve been given that is now just a part of how I operate. Here’s one thing I’m thinking of though, that I’d like to pass on to other artists: When you’re communicating with other musicians, with a club, with anyone you’re working with, be as clear as you can possibly be. For instance, when you ask a sideman if he/she is available to play a gig with you, make sure you tell them exactly when and where the gig is, how much it pays, how many rehearsals are involved, and any other pertinent details, so they know exactly what the job entails. Don’t be afraid to talk about money. I know it can be hard (it was for me) to be all “business-like” when you’re in a world that tends to mix the professional with the personal. But good clear communication really does make everyone’s life easier.
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