The Cinderella story of Elle Varner may mark a turn in the tide of contemporary artistry.
It seems like your movement has been put in motion overnight, how do you feel?
It’s crazy I was just talking to my mom, she was supposed to come up for my video shoot for my first single on Tuesday but then I found out that I’m booked to perform as SONY’s headliner for their iTunes showcase, in which they present their annual catalogue to iTunes and they wanted me to headline in San Francisco and I have a photo shoot for a major fashion magazine that same week (it’ll appear in December). In one week for that all to be happening among other things is crazy.
At what point are you with your debut project?
Basically I just completed my album we’re just in the final mixing and mastering process, now I’m just working on the live show. We had a showcase for the label and it was supposed to be like 13 execs, you know, a small thing. It ended being 80 people from the Sony building that RSVP’d. It was really crazy. So I’ve just been really getting that live show tight and doing radio drops, getting ready for the add date on radio, the video is coming up so everything’s moving.
Your movements are indicative of an established artist, how do you explain that?
I had no idea I thought this was how you do it. I was telling one of my friends that when my album drops I don’t wanna be able to walk the streets without a bodyguard, as crazy as that sounds, it’s the truth, I want the world to know my name. I don’t want to release the album and then try to build a buzz, and try to get people interested. I wanna build that buzz off of a couple of singles and promotion. Really, it feels like what we’re doing, and I’m not behind the whole strategy, but what it feels like is a mix of label promotion and grassroots because my situation is unique; I came to the label as a completely unknown artist. I had a very small following in New York from school and stuff so a lot of times now, in order to get signed or get recognized you have to already have a buzz and maybe even have some traction or some sales. I had the complete opposite so now I’m doing that in addition to having a label with their heavy hitting game and just putting me in certain events and tours or whatever so we’ll see how that goes.
How did you get your start?
I used to work at Santos (Party House –New York) at the coat check and there was always industry people coming through and on my down time when the club was empty basically I would just be sitting back there playing my guitar and this kid approached me and I gave him my card and a week later I was at MBK (Entertainment). I didn’t even know who MBK was and I met with Jeff Robinson and Suzette and Janean and I played them three songs and like the next week I was at Sony and I just played them three songs acoustic and like the next week they were like, “Okay, we have a deal on the table.” I was like, “You’re kidding me!” (Laughing).
What were your most immediate thoughts at that point?
It was really strangely and unrealistically crazy how it happened so fast. I didn’t have to do none of the things that I thought I would have to do. I always thought I’d be a writer first and get my name out there that way and then try for a solo career or whatever. I didn’t think it would happen as quickly or as easily as it did but I thank God for that.
Are you pleased with the direction of your project?
Yes. I got to make my album with predominantly one production team, Pop & Oak. There’s a couple that my dad and I co-produced and one that was produced by Al Shux, who did “New York State of Mind” but the rest of the album is Pop & Oak. I thought that was an amazing thing to have, these days when an album [today] is usually a body of work from different writers and different producers there’s a lot of consistency to everything with my project.
Do you write your own songs?
Yeah, I write all of my stuff, I wrote all the lyrics and melody and a lot of the music as well. I’ll write to tracks but a lot of songs I write to guitar and then they’re produced fully with drums and keys and all that.
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