Fay Gauthier is a phenomenal artist! We had an opportunity to chat with her about her music and song Be What You Are. Check out the interview below.
Hi, Fay! Tell us what inspired your song Be What You Are?
Hi! Be What You Are was inspired by the words of a Casting Director in an acting class I took a few years back. She was urging us to develop our characters by drawing from our own unique selves, as opposed to trying to create a character externally. The phrase stuck with me and it became this song.
Tell us about your writing process.
Sometimes a phrase, like “Be what you are” just grabs me and I’ll build around it. Ideas often come to me when I’m driving. I’ll pull over, record a melody or lyric line on my phone, and develop it later. Sometimes I’m inspired by something I’ve read. Other times I’ll just plop myself in front of the keyboard with no idea in mind, and let the muses guide me. Usually, when I do this I’ll sniff out a melody and the words follow.
Do you agree that your music is a fusion of different genres?
Yes, definitely. And I used to fight the idea because I thought it would confuse people, but now I just embrace it.
How do you maintain a level of high-energy for each performance?
Well, I’m just now getting prepared to start performing live again to promote the CD, as opposed to working on tracks in the studio, so it’s funny you ask that. I was much younger the last time I performed live and took my energy for granted. Now I’m actually paying more attention to eating healthier, getting proper sleep and keeping hydrated—you know, the boring stuff you don’t think about till you get a little more…ahem… mature.
Tell us about your upcoming album Firehead.
It’s a project made from pure love. It brings together a variety of genre-bending songs, written during different phases of my life, made into recordings by different but equally fabulous producers, and yet somehow it all miraculously came together very naturally. I’m very excited to put it out there come September.
Growing up, what songs inspired you?
Being the youngest of seven kids, I was exposed to a lot of different music, so that’s a long list. Stevie Wonder’s You Can Feel It All Over, Carole King’s It’s Too Late, Pretender’s Brass in Pocket, Billy Joel’s The Longest Time, and the Eagles’ Hotel California are some specific standouts.
Do you draw from personal experiences to create your music?
Sometimes my own yes, and sometimes it’s a friend’s or even a stranger’s experience. I’ll read something that moves me and it sparks a song idea.
Your lyrics are touching! What is the most important aspect of songwriting for you?
I’m a bit of a lyric freak, so thank you so much for saying that! When I’m working on a song, there’s a feeling I get, an emotional energy of sorts, that tells me I’m on track. Once I find that sweet spot, what’s important for me is to sustain it, no matter what changes I make structurally or lyrically. It usually means not overthinking it.
What is the biggest misconception about being a singer?
I can’t speak for other singers but I’ve run into people who assume because I’m a singer I’m also a dancer. And I’m definitely not, though I wish I had that skill.
What is your most favorite performance in your career to date?
Once, I was on a business trip in San Antonio, and my colleagues dragged me into a piano bar on the River Walk and asked the pianist to let me sing a song. “Me & Bobby McGee” used to be my go-to cover song, and I liked that it was a song everyone could sing along to, so that’s what I chose. Somewhere in the middle of my performance people started throwing things at me. At first, I thought, “oh my God they hate me”, but then I realized they were throwing crumpled up dollar bills. It was an amazing thing, being embraced by a bunch of strangers like that. But that’s the power of music.
List the 5 things you need to have with you on a stage.
1) Water, cuz, well, hydration.
2) A sense of humor, cuz it’s live and anything can happen.
3) Great musicians, cuz they make a performance pop and it’d be lonely on stage without them.
4) Gratitude–for the crowd, the venue, the musicians, the opportunity to perform–cuz without any of these things I’d be stuck singing in the shower or to my cats.
5) A backup microphone, cuz, stuff happens.
Do you have any upcoming projects that we haven’t mentioned?
The CD release is my big upcoming project, but I’ve been back in the studio recording a couple new songs that I’m excited about. Also, the music video for “Be What You Are,” which I had a blast shooting, will be coming out with my release.
Complete this sentence, if I had an opportunity to change anything, I would change ___________.
Hatred into kindness.— That, and I’d change my husband to want the sheets tucked in at the foot of the bed. No joke. It’s a constant battle.
Photo Credit: Mikel Healey