Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.
We fell in love with FAYE the moment we heard “Water Against the Rocks”: A big, soaring tribal pop track, it gave us the same fluttery feelings we felt the first time we heard “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence & The Machine, or “Rolling In the Deep” by Adele. But talent that self-assured doesn’t come out of nowhere: Born Fanny Hamlin, the Swedish songstress cut her teeth as a member of the girl group Play, who made a splash in the United States and Europe with their sugary-sweet, inspirational power pop, before she left the band at the height of their success to finish school.
Now launching again as a solo artist with the help of production duo Montauk, her rich, thrilling songs have garnered her considerable and well-deserved attention — and as she gears up for the release of her debut LP, American stardom doesn’t seem far off.
NAME: Fanny “FAYE” Hamlin
HOMETOWN: Stockholm, Sweden
SOUNDS LIKE: The dark sensibility of Lykke Li with the rhythmic intensity of Florence & The Machine
UNEXPECTED INFLUENCES: With so many exceptional Swedish exports, we half expected FAYE to cite Robyn or Loreen as inspirations — but instead, she said, it’s the vocal prodigies who she really admires. “Beyonce Knowles has always been an influence for me,” she said. “I love the way she sings. I love Adele, as well, and her singing. For me, it’s not so much about the music. It’s about the voice.”
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT: It wasn’t until she connected with production duo Montauk (Johan Cederberg & Victor Holmberg) that she really found her voice: “It was love at first sight — everything worked really well,” she explains. “I really found my place with them.” Together, they developed what’s becoming her signature sound: “When we wrote the first song, it became kind of dark, with these electro beats, and we really liked that sound.”
A NEW NARRATIVE: Coming back to America as a solo act, FAYE says she never expected this return:”I haven’t really had a plan with it. What we’ve built is just three friends having fun and creating something that we’re proud of, and I think it’s amazing that it’s spread all the way here again, which I never thought. When I quit Play, ten years ago, I thought I would never go back here.”