ABOVE: FAYE. IMAGE COURTESY OF HYBRIS
There's a chance you have seen Faye Hamlin perform before, but it's not too likely you'll connect the dots as to where. As one of the original members of the all-girl Swedish pop band Play, the songstress hit the road touring at age 12, opening for the likes of Destiny's Child and Aaron Carter. "Do Beyoncé and I keep in touch?" she muses. Her voice is quickly muffled by the sound of laughter. "No, but I sure wish we did!"
13 years later, she's resurfaced on the music scene as a solo act, singer and songwriter Faye, and she's determined to be not to be anyone's puppet this time around. "It's really important to me to do things on my own terms," she said over the phone yesterday, while in cab on her way to do a practice run at Brooklyn's Grasslands music venue (where she performed last night). "Coming from a pop band, you don't get to decide anything. Right now, I only want to do projects that make me feel happy." For the moment, that project is Progress, the forthcoming electronic pop album she's making with Swedish songwriter/remixer duo, Montauk. Just about a year ago she released her first single "Come to Me," which she followed up with a second called "Water Against The Rocks." Her songs are already starting to catch on in Europe—her model-like looks might help, too—and tonight, the Lower East Side will get its introduction to the Swedish beauty's euphoric vocals when she performs songs from her new album at Pianos. Trust us, the next time she's in New York, she's going to need a bigger venue.
CURRENT LOCATION: New York City, New York
HOMETOWN: Stockholm, Sweden
DESTINY'S CHILD: I was in a pop group called Play when I was 12 and yeah, we toured with Destiny's Child. That was an amazing experience. What can I say? It was a dream come true. Beyoncé was so nice to us—she really thought it was important that we had a great time and had fun. I remember her advice to us was to not go into music. She thought we should go home and live a normal life in Sweden. Obviously, I didn't follow that advice.
INFLUENCES: To be honest, it's not music that really influences me, instead it's voices. My biggest influence has always been Beyoncé—I love the way she uses her voice. When you listen to the way I sing, you can hear that R&B. Beyoncé, she's my number one.
FLYING SOLO: I left Play when I was 16, and then we briefly got back together. It was just three years when I started this album on my own. I write all my music together with two guys under the name Montauk—we have all been best friends since we were 15. We started with one song and had so much fun we decided to do a whole album. It's called Progress, and it comes out in Sweden in April.
MAKING PROGRESS: The music is kind of dark with electronic band beats mixed in. I describe it as a story of my life. A lot of the songs are stories about what I have been through—it's all the feelings you feel when you grow up as a young girl. From the expectations people have on you to the heartbreak to getting new friends, it's all of those emotions that you go through. If you listen to the album, you get inside my world and get to know me better.
No, I'm not dark. I'm actually a very happy person, but I have definitely been in dark places—I am out of it now. That's what's so great about this album. It's so obvious that it all actually happened to me. It's my real story.
NOW PLAYING: I listen to a lot of Swedish music. It's usually a lot of guys actually singing in Swedish. I think that's probably the music I listen most to when I'm in the studio. I get so easily distracted by other things so it's a lot of Swedish indie pop songs.
IF YOU COULD PERFORM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD: The ultimate dream has always been Madison Square Garden. Somehow, some way, I'm going to be there one day.
FAYE PERFORMS TONIGHT AT PIANOS IN NEW YORK. FOR MORE ON THE ARTIST, VISIT HER WEBSITE.