Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Faeya. Together we discussed their relationship with music, the role of nature in their music, ducks, their newest song “Liminal Space”, and so much more!
1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing?
I’m doing very well Mustard, thank you for asking! I am happy to have released my newest song. And I am excited to have a place for my music up on the Music Shelf!
2. You can sing us the tale of when melody met the word; they flourished in harmony, blooming at the mouth of every bird. Can you recall what happened after the birds spread the word?
I’d say they felt a bit lighter and freer. The beauty of sharing music is that, despite how it is received by others, the musician always feels a bit lighter and more at peace with themselves and their message.
3. Mustard wonders what your relationship with music was growing up?
I’ve always loved music growing up, but my relationship with it changed a lot over the years. When I was little, I fantasised about writing my own music someday and performing as a musician, but it stayed merely a daydream. In my early teens, I switched my focus to the piano and stopped singing completely. Only a few years later, when I started writing my own songs consistently, I began to pursue my dream professionally.
4. Can you recall the first song you wrote?
I can’t be sure it was the first, but one of the earliest songs I remember writing was called “Fly”, and it was a little attempt at a piano ballad about a girl who wishes she could fly free as a bird very “on brand” for me years later.
5. Your parents signed you up for piano when you were four years old. How did no longer following a curriculum help you develop and discover your sound?
To this day, I study classical piano, which I really enjoy! Being able to separate my own music from the music I play helped me find my sound as a musician. I like to recognize the way classical music affects my playing. But also how my style is entirely different and unique to me.
6. What is your creative process?
In two words, I can describe my creative process as intuitive and stubborn. I tend to write when I feel inspired- and yes, I know discipline is important to creativity, but the work I force never feels right. Sometimes, I will sit at the piano and write a complete song in half an hour, as I did with “Fire Within”. Other times, I struggle to finish songs for months, such as “Liminal Space” and “Beautiful Sorrow”. And in rare cases, songs like “Bring me to the Light” are written in the witching hour in under five minutes- it all depends, really. But overall, I write when I feel the need to write, and I cannot force myself to.
7. Who (or what) influences you?
My family, friends, surroundings and the natural world influence my music immensely! And although I draw a lot of inspiration from my personal experiences and relationships with others, I am equally inspired by books, poetry and music I love. I have quite a diverse roster really, from the poetry of Mary Oliver and Sylvia Plath to artists Pomme, Birdy and Billie Marten and composers Rachmaninoff and Chopin. An incredible aspect of writing original music is how I can draw ideas from the art I consume and my surroundings while expressing my unique worldview.
8. Nature plays an important role in your music. Can you share more about your relationship with nature? Do you have a favourite animal and fantasy creature?
Nature plays a significant role in my music because it is a way of seeing life through perspective. In the noise of everyday life, I tend to forget what is important to me, and escaping into the natural world helps me clear my mind. I love the city, its landscapes teeming with people, lights and traffic. But I find solitude in the woods, by the lake, and on walks. I think the natural world has so much wisdom and beauty to share, being art itself, and is worthy of our depictions of it through art. I can’t really think of my favourite animal… cats, maybe?
9. If you could sample any bird to be on a song of yours. What bird would it be and why?
My bird of choice would be the common nightingale, whose beautiful song embodies spring in its every note, or the mourning dove, whose haunting, owl-like coo I heard every summer morning in my backyard growing up. The nightingale represents hope, as the coming of a new season, and the mourning dove’s song is nostalgic to me, representing comfort.
10. Your first two songs on your self-titled EP are about growing up as a person and artist. Could you share more about what it was like to put this EP together?
The EP features only two songs, so it’s almost closer to a single than a full-length EP. These two songs are the first that I felt ready to record in the studio. “Fire Within” is about feeling lost and stuck but constantly pushed forward by wanting and passion for my music and my art. “Human” embraces and laments the sadness that arises from this “stuck” feeling. Releasing those songs felt like the first step in the direction I wanted to lead my career.
11. Do you still wish to no longer be human? What does it feel like to be human to you? Are there things about being human you don’t learn about growing up?
The most human part of living is feeling everything! I am really sensitive and an overthinker, so the way I feel all my emotions so deeply both helps my art and is overwhelming at times. I think something you don’t learn growing up is that your potential as a person or as an artist only increases as you grow older. I feel like I’ve restricted my goals to a young age, but as I get older, I’ll only become smarter and more creative.
12. 2021 also saw the release of “The Blue Period: Volume One.” Do you have any plans to release volume two? Do you still feel blue?
Since that EP had three songs on it, I thought about releasing my three newest recorded songs as a volume two EP. But I decided against it at the end because I felt like the new songs aren’t blue I’m actually undecided about which colour they are. The title, “The Blue Period: Volume One” doesn’t describe the songs as sad. Instead, I like to think of melodies and tonalities as colours [for example, G major is yellow, and Bb major is blue to me]. Inspired by Picasso’s Blue Period, I wanted to group the songs by colour, not by meaning.
13. As a condiment that does not get out much, they love the world you created on “Winter Winds.” Could you share more about what it was like to put this EP together?
Thank you! “Winter Winds” was a really fun EP to record. I wrote these songs in a jazzy sort of style with just the piano and the occasional percussion shaker. I wasn’t planning to record them at first, but I later chose to try “live-style” recordings, which I think fit the songs really nicely. The title was pulled from a line in “Frostbite”, and a close relative of mine and I drew the cover picture together. It was loads of fun to assemble!
14. Have you figured out where the ducks go?
Haha, well yes, ducks generally migrate south during cold winters. That line in “Ducks” was drawn from “The Catcher in the Rye”. In the song, I try to depict the temporary winter and someone leaving, which causes a feeling of displacement. It was a silly line to sing when recording the song, but a lot of fun!
15. What can humans do to prevent frostbite? Have you ever had frostbite? Stay warm, I suppose? Well, I live in Canada, and I’ve definitely had my fingers and cheeks freeze over one too many times, but I’m not sure if it counts as actual frostbite!
16. You recently released your newest song “Liminal Space” which features some beautiful instrumentation. What was the inspiration behind your newest single?
Thank you, I wrote the song “Liminal Space” about change: how beautiful, freeing and confining it feels- all at once. The instrumental details throughout the track and the orchestral tuning at the start of the song represent the feeling of a “liminal space”- a comforting yet unsettling transitional period from one stage of life to the next. I wrote the piano melody first, and over several months, I decided on lyrics to add.
17. How would you describe your live performance? Do you have any upcoming shows?
I love playing live performances! I started performing during the pandemic, so my first show was online. But as venues began operating again, I discovered the joy of performing for a live crowd it is the best feeling! I would describe my shows as cosy and sincere. As I prefer to perform while accompanying myself, as a solo act, I am free to alter my set as I please and interact with the crowd on my own time. And although I love recording many instruments on my final tracks, it feels special to perform my songs the way I wrote them, just myself and my instruments. This way, my songs feel genuine, and I feel most like myself. I hope to book more shows as the weather warms up and the festival season begins!
18. What is next for Faeya?
I am looking forward to releasing two new songs in the very near future: one on March 24th and another on April 7th. I cannot wait to see what my listeners think! Keep an eye out for “Night Music”, my upcoming release. Otherwise, I hope to play many more live shows this year and write new music! Although I have released several short EPs, I’ve never recorded an album… a project I would love to begin working on soon!
19. Where can readers listen to your music?
My music can be found on any streaming platform by searching my artist name, Faeya! You can also find my songs on my website and youtube. I will add some links down below.
My website: https://faeyamusic.com
Listen on Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/faeya/1550971345 Listen on Spotify: