Faye Webster talks inspiration, heading back on tour, and Cobalt Blue
Faye Webster’s latest debut, I Know I’m Funny haha is the perfect soundtrack for crying along in your room—it’s also ideal for playing moonlit baseball with a group of close friends, or soaking up the sunshine with closed eyes and a smile. In fact, Faye Webster has a knack for capturing a wide breadth of complex human emotions through everyday honesty and an enchanting voice. Everything about Webster rings authentic. From self-directed music videos (“In A Good Way”) to her candid, casual public presence, she seems to speak from the heart both on and off the stage.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Webster’s knack for songwriting started young. She put out her first release, Run and Tell at the age of 16, soon followed by a self-titled album in 2017 on Atlanta’s own Awful Records. Her 2019 release, Atlanta Millionare’s Club on Secretly Canadian, features lilting vocals and a soulful country twang (with album art that peaks into Webster’s patented dry humor re: a vacantly gazing Webster munching on a fistful of chocolate coins.) It seems only too fitting, then, that Webster’s 2021 album goes by the name, I Know I’m Funny haha. Yes—she’s funny, and she knows it.
Plastering her portrait in little red office stickers that say “haha,” Faye Webster utilizes a blissful playfulness in every aspect of the album. Her personality is a shining beacon, letting audiences and listeners in on the joke, feeling like part of Webster’s very own special group of friends. Just as powerful as humor and honesty, the tracks speak simple truths and touch on basic, yet profound human feelings and situations with lines like: “Will you/ Will you be with me?” and “You make me cry in a good way.” She makes a crack at how her landlord took her money and reminiscences on buying her partner a bass like that guy in Linkin Park uses. She sings about crying so hard her eyes hurt, and also about being happier than she knew she could be—all with soulful, weeping guitar and.
Eleven had a chance to chat with Faye Webster about heading back out on tour, some artistic inspiration, and her dream video game collab. Be sure to catch Faye Webster in Portland on February 13th at Wonder Ballroom!
Eleven: So, when I think of your image right now, there’s a lot of symbols popping up in your work—yo-yos, Atlanta Braves, cobalt blue, little red office stickers. I’m curious to hear how some of those came into your life?
Faye Webster: I really just find whatever makes me happy. For the sake of my mental health. I stick with it because it makes me happy. I feel like I need it lot of times, or most times. If it’s just these random things I come across—like if it’s just playing with a yo-yo. I just really like doing that. Something as simple as these office stickers that bring me joy when I see them. Those are the things that are really important and kind of overlooked most days.
11: Is a rotating? Does it come in phases? Or do you see something and you just know that’s something that you like and want to use in your art?
FW: Yeah, like especially with the blue. I bought one thing that was blue—I think it was a kitchen knife. And I was like, “Oh I like this, I really like cutting my fruits with this knife! It makes me happy!” Cause I dunno, it’s blue. And then just from there, everything in my life is blue now. Shit like that.
11: How does it feel to be back on tour after being shut down for so long? To go back into the world on tour?
FW: I toured in September, which was the first time back in 2 years. I feel like the first 4 shows were like, “I’m not supposed to be here. This is weird, I shouldn’t be allowed to be here.” And then after that, it was more routine for me. I was like, “Oh I remember now. This is why I do this. This is why I have to do this—this is why I like doing this.” And I think it’s really refreshing. It’s also nice to feel useful. I feel like the past 2 years, I really do enjoy being at home and not doing anything. Like I really, really, really enjoy that. But I also enjoy feeling like I’m doing the best that I can do. I feel like tour definitely makes me feel that.
11: I’m curious who some of your musical influences are. Your sound is an interesting mix of indie, folk, country, R&B. Do you have any significant influences?
FW: I really like Courtney Barnett a lot. I really like her vocal style. She’s almost talking, like she just wants to get the song across and it’s extra relatable thinking that that’s her personality, etc. I also really like an artist right now named Erika de Casier who makes all her music at home and it’s fucking sick. Those are probably the people I listen to the most right now, currently.
11: I hear that you don’t share your songs with your band until you’re in the studio, is that true?
11: Can you speak a little bit to your personal song writing process and what that looks like?
FW: Yeah, I write at home. I feel like home is my safe space and that’s really the only time I can be as comfortable as possible, which results in writing a real song. Not really holding back, kind of thing. I don’t know, I have to do it alone. I’ve never been able to cowrite with people because that’s just a weird concept to me. I feel like it’s supposed to be such a personal thing, I guess which is why I really have to write at home. I really just get moments where like, “Mmm I feel like playing the guitar right now.” And that results in me singing and then eventually writing a song. But I’m never really like, “I’m gonna sit down and write a song right now.”
11: Along with that, I guess I’m curious—you must have a really strong bond with your band to trust them like that. And I notice that you have some recurring characters, a lot of the people who appear in your music videos. Do you bring friends into your music videos?
FW: Yeah, I feel like everything I make is with a friend or family. I prefer things to be very collaborative rather than like, “I need something done for me.” Which, when it comes to music videos and stuff like that, or merch— it’s like, I wanna do this with my brother I wanna do this with my friend. Like you said, reoccurring characters. I think that’s really important to me, it’s more special that way. It truly feels like me. If you get to see my friends or my partner or my brother, I feel like it makes it more important that way.
11: Those relationships really come through. You seem to blend these vulnerable moments—your lyrics and these moments in your videos. You’re pretty vulnerable out in the open, in public. Does that ever feel overwhelming to have fans know you so well, or is it nice to be able to share that side of yourself with such a broad platform?
FW: I like feeling like you can relate to me, or my music. Because that’s what I want in music as a listener. So to know that I made somebody feel some way and that’s why they’re a fan or whatever, that’s the only thing I really want as an angle out of music. But I also hate the attention a lot. Which, you know I feel like there’s a healthy balance somewhere—obviously, tour. You’re there to hear me do what I want to share. But yeah I hate social media. I’m never on social media, really to avoid that specific area. I’m such a fucking normal person. I wish I was just valued as a normal person, because that’s what I feel like. Tour really is the best way for me, and the healthiest way for me to want to feel related to.
11: That’s a great outlook, I think! I just have one last question for you: If you could write music for any video game, which game would you pick?
FW: Rocket League! I’ve tried. Like please, please Rocket League! I want to make an anthem. In the game, when you score a goal you have a player’s anthem and you get to choose songs that play when you score. I so badly want one of my songs to be an anthem. Not even one of my songs, I will write a Rocket League type beat! That’s my dream collab.
11: I hope you get to that point, that would be amazing to see! Thank you for taking the time to talk, I’m really excited to catch your show here in Portland.
FW: Sick, yeah Portland is one of my favorite stops on tour every time, I’m also very excited!