A Tall Glass of Kari Faux
Tell me about growing up in Little Rock.
Growing up there is probably what you think it is. I had to have a really big imagination, so I was always watching TV and I knew that there was always more out there in the world. But I love where I’m from. I love the hospitality, I love the food, I love the people. Music was another thing that helped me - it definitely acted as a form of escapism for me. I love the prominence of nature in Little Rock too. It’s actually called the “Natural State” so there’s a lot of green. I feel like I’m humble because of where I come from.
It’s not like growing up in LA.
Yeah, exactly. Even me falling into music, it’s still weird to the point where I’m like, “how did I even get here?” to this day.
So your focus wasn’t always music?
I wanted to be a veterinarian, then I shadowed a veterinarian and quickly realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do. It’s very gruesome. I went to cosmetology school for a bit too, thought I was going to do that...but no, I don’t even like doing hair! Music was something I always did throughout high school that I just kind of kept doing throughout my life, music was something that I never really thought was going to happen because of the fact that I’m from Arkansas.
How did linking up with Donald Glover early on in your career help push you further into the music industry?
So I had released a mixtape called “Laugh Now Die Later” and it was poppin’ off on the internet. Donald’s manager had found the song and hit up my co-producer at the time and was like, “yo this is crazy, Donald might remix it.” I was freaking out, but I wasn’t trying to get too excited. Anyway, he ended up doing it and they all came to Little Rock and naturally we forged a relationship. After that, he suggested that I come to LA and see more of what the world has to offer me, and I’m really grateful for that. I learned so much from being around that crew of people, most importantly how you can make an idea come to life. I was in the house where Donald and his friends were first discussing Atlanta, so I watched it go from simple ideas that people exchanged to this massive success. Even the album “Awaken My Love,” I was around for the beginning of that.
Do you think you wouldn’t have felt that push to get out of Little Rock if not for these newfound relationships?
I had already felt the urgency to leave. I moved to Atlanta a couple of times. Atlanta is kinda like Little Rock, a bigger city but just as southern. They pushed me to get completely out my comfort zone and travel to somewhere that was totally unfamiliar. I think that when I got to LA I began to understand that making music was an actual career, that music was actually what I wanted to do.
What do you think about the term “creative competition”?
There’s competition in every industry, but in the spaces that I occupy, I feel like the mentality to have is “let’s just have fun.” I want to make music, hang out, create.
How has coming up in the age of internet rap changed your perspective on the music industry?
I feel like I started out as internet rapper, but I’ve definitely transformed into what most people would consider a “real” artist. The internet was the only way to get people to listen to me. I was out here like, “hey! I’m in the middle of nowhere!” I was tweeting, I was all over soundcloud, even my Tumblr was poppin’ for a minute!
To me, your music is highly emotional but jumps to extremes on both ends of that spectrum. I was wondering, when your in that creative space, what emotion do you thrive off of the most?
It’s lowkey kinda hard to say because it varies, but I definitely thrive off of the feeling of being underestimated. When I feel underestimated, I feel fueled--it’s straight up gas for my car. I’m trying not to go to that place so much. I want to begin to write from a place of contentment.
Tell me the story behind your upcoming EP, because the title and the cover art are so contrasting.
I started making this project when I was depressed. I feel as though all the music I was making up to this point was what I thought people would want to hear. People want to turn up, you know? But that wasn’t where I was and I had to be honest with myself about that. These songs are very reflective of where I was at that time. I was in the space where I didn’t want to be alive anymore. Some friends had reached out to me and something that one of them said that really stuck out was “I’m glad you cried out for help”. I feel like a lot of us suffer in silence. We don’t want to bombard people with our problems, but sometimes we need to be like, “hey! Can you care about me for two seconds?” And that’s okay! This project isn’t really for anybody, it was music therapy for me and something that I feel compelled to share with others.
What would you tell your fans out there who are having difficulty processing pain?
I would say talk it out with somebody and make them understand that you need to talk. The moment you start saying things out loud, it becomes easier because what you’re holding inside will only manifest--you’ll start to see your world become what you feel on the inside. We’ll always experience traumatic things and we’ll always feel pain, but it’s important to know that okay to vocalize how you’re feeling, it’s important to tell somebody, to speak up. We all must remember that there are people that want to see you thrive and be happy.
"Cry 4 Help" is out now.