One of Toronto's sharpest singer-songwriters, Faiza is emerging from a brief lacuna - even though she never hit pause. Rather, she has been pressing 'play'; hard at work on her new Audacity EP, connecting dots and creating sounds in Atlanta, and breaking bread with industry leaders for her appearance on CTV's new series, The Launch. Faiza is a trailblazer that keeps building - and she's doing it in a bold way.
Following her previously released single, 'Body Babe' (prod. Giangelo Power), Faiza shares the video for 'Bands' today. Directed by Dan Lemoyne, and filmed with a mix of lo-fi aesthetic, braggadocio demeanour, and local landmarks, the video is a perfect reflection of the artist as she rides a whole new wave.
"When I heard the beat, it just felt like some boastful shit needed to be expressed - the track needed to be stank face worthy. The beat itself makes a statement, and I wanted the lyrics to match that," Faiza comments on the track. "I’ve been gone musically for a while and I wanted to let the world know that I’m back and I ain't playing around."
Indeed, it's no joke - the young artist has been paving her path independently with fervent passion since her 2014 self-titled EP. We can't wait to see what's next for her - on screen as the nation watches her sonic development on The Launch, and through headphones as we bump new beats.
BanTOR Radio exchanged a few words with Faiza to discuss her journey to date, and the personal autonomy that drives her humble hustle.
Watch 'Bands' here, and read our interview below.
You were recently in Atlanta – what was that experience like, and is there anything you brought back to Toronto with you, inspiration-wise?
Atlanta was an interesting experience, for sure. It was cool to see so many black people in one place. Coming from Canada and growing up in London (Ontario), specifically, that’s definitely not something you see all the time - I felt very at home there. I listened to a lot of Trap music out there. Young Dolph was always playing, and rap has always been an area music that I wanted to explore but maybe didn’t have the confidence to. Atlanta helped with that a lot. I’m not sure ‘Bands’ would have happened here in Toronto.
‘Bands’ is a super confident, bold tune – tell us a bit about the underlying themes within the track and what fueled you in the song writing/production process?
When I heard the beat, it just felt like some boastful shit needed to be expressed - the track needed to be stank face worthy. The beat itself makes a statement, and I wanted the lyrics to match that. I wrote the first verse and hook in Atlanta and actually finished the record a couple months later when I was back in T.O. There so many underlying themes in the track, to be honest. I’ve been gone musically for a while and I wanted to let the world know that I’m back and I ain't playing around. There’s also a reference to men, and how trash they can be laughs - I think I was dealing with a whack dude at the time and he was like the straw on the camel’s back, so I’m just like fuck it! If you’re not contributing anything to my life then you can keep it pushing, but it’s obviously more fun to say “Only drop it like it’s hot for a n**ga with some bands."
The video for ‘Bands’ is a raw and gritty portrait of you cruising through Toronto neighbourhoods – including Bloordale and Chinatown - what were some of the other notable locations in the city you used to shoot this, and what influenced the overall aesthetic?
Dan Lemoyne is a genius and when he heard the record he already knew exactly how he wanted it to look. This is the second time we’ve worked together, and I trust him a lot, so I followed his lead on this. In addition to the places you mentioned, we also shot at Kennedy Station and the scenes on the train were shot on the RT from Kennedy to Scarborough Town.
You’ll be appearing on The Launch – as an independent artist from Toronto being in the spotlight, under the mentorship of key industry leaders, on-camera for the country to see, how did you grow in both creative and personal realms?
I feel like I grew personally from the experience of being on TV and seeing what goes into that side of the industry, and It was definitely cool to have industry execs give you praise and validate your talent. There’s definitely nothing that can prepare you for an experience like being on TV for the first time. I feel like having gone through that is only going to help for the next time I get to perform on an international stage.
Through your performance on The Launch, how do you hope to inspire other young, independent artists from Toronto?
I just want people to keep chasing their dreams and putting in the work. I’m still nowhere near where I strive to be, but these are the mini victories that connect the dots. I’m a black girl from London, ON who wasn’t raised in a musical home- Everything I have accomplished is just because I took a chance and put myself out there. I truly believe that if I can do it, ANYONE can. I hope that’s what people take away from this.
In your Launch Rapid Fire Q&A, you note that your favourite word is autonomous; which roughly means “self-governance,” or acting in one’s moral duty rather than one’s desires. How do you lead your life with this sentiment, and how does it resonate with your music?
I feel like autonomy is something I've struggled with and am coming fully into with age, and I feel like it's such an important thing to have. You have to know what you stand for, and also have the confidence to go left when everyone else is going right - especially when that's what your heart is telling you to do.
You’re originally from London, Ontario and now based in Toronto. Our arts and music scene is expansive, and ever-evolving, yet we still lack resources to support independent artists. In addition to the exposure through programming and shows like The Launch, what do you believe the community needs to do, to progress in the development of young, indie talent?
I think we just need to continue to support each other and build each other up, which is something I feel like is happening now more than ever. When our peers get to a certain a level, it’s about trying to elevate the next person. Often, we want to only work with people who we feel like are “on our level,” but there are so many talented people who don’t have social networks that are popping off - they still deserve to be included in these spaces. That being said, I do feel like there is an evolution happening in the Toronto music scene that is bridging the gap, so I have faith that we will get there.
Audacity is your next project on the way – what new elements or sounds can we expect to hear on this EP?
This project is very different than my last one, harder hitting beats - the content is more direct. There are some fun party records like ‘Bands,’ and some that express some of my opinions. It’s different than what I think people will expect.
Catch Faiza on CTV's The Launch on Wednesday, January 31st at 9 pm EST.
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