The Scotsman Sessions #389: Alice Faye
Alice Faye is an utterly bewitching new talent with a timeless vocal style which draws you in, whether she is playing with her full band or beaming in from the sitting room of her new flat in Glasgow’s West End for the Scotsman Sessions.
“My style is definitely influenced by a lot of songwriters from the Sixties,” she says, citing Roy Orbison and Paul McCartney among her favourites and her parents as drivers of her taste, whether her mum’s love of Motown or her dad’s eclectic music collection.
As a teenager, Faye was less a bedroom songwriter than a school music room kind of composer. She sang in her school’s soul band before graduating to guest vocalist with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, followed by a spot of opera tuition and then on to a music and creative writing course at Glasgow University, so variety is definitely her spice.
“I wouldn’t say I am strictly one genre,” she agrees. “I have a serious penchant for high drama, so whatever genre 'high drama' falls under is fine by me! I would say the songs I’ve written on the guitar could be perceived as primarily folk. When writing on the piano, I find my inspiration primarily from French music from the Thirties and Rufus Wainwright.
“Lyrically, I like my songs to either feel overly earnest in a sort of ridiculous way, or cheeky and naughty like the silly little lady that I am,” she continues. “Vocally, my main goal is to evoke the emotion of my songs – whether that always sounds technically beautiful, I am increasingly less fussed about. I love big voices, particularly male and female vocalists with a rich and low timbre. When thinking about the style I like to imitate, I’d go to Nina Simone, Edith Piaf and my all time favourite Judy Garland for inspiration.”
In practise, Faye is no imitator, sounding equally sultry and melancholic with the hint of a cry in her voice on evocative tracks such as Jamie and her Scotsman Session choice, Later, Later On.
“The song’s lyrics are centred around my once very desperate desire to hear back from an ex-partner, a desire which now feels like a distant memory to me,” she says. “Later, Later On reminds me that despite how emotionally wrought I once felt that I was able to move on from those pangs.”
Faye’s latest batch of bewitchment is her debut EP Deadbeat, released this summer, and she has been recognised for her seductive music with a nomination for Best Acoustic Act at this year’s Scottish Alternative Music Awards. Next up and in the works is a full band EP.
“I want it to be chock-a-block with wickedly honest songs about past relationships and romance,” she enthuses. “Sonically, the songs will be exciting and upbeat, whilst lyrically rude and pessimistic. I’m really into Randy Newman’s style of songwriting at the moment, and I think these tunes really capture my referencing of his tongue firmly in cheek lyrics.”
Alice Faye supports Cara Rose at Cottiers, Glasgow, 9 December