Local Artist Spotlight: Falon Sierra

Leading up until the Upstream Music Fest + Summit, a Northwest regionally focused festival with over 300 acts, KEXP will be featuring a new local artist from the lineup with an interview and suggested tracks for where to start. Today’s post features Seattle jazz and neo soul songwriter Falon Sierra, performing Thursday, May 11 on the Sound Off! stage at 7 p.m.

For some, Falon Sierra‘s appearance in the Sound Off! finals was their first introduction to the young r&b vocalist — but this was far from her start. Sierra has been singing since she was a child but started releasing music two years ago on Soundcloud with mature, minimalist covers of Amy Winehouse and Ari Lennox — vocalists who set a pretty high bar themselves. On her 2016 debut, Beauty in Danger, she takes that raw talent and infuses it into beats that range from neo soul to jazz and r&b. We caught up with Seirra to learn more about her artistic vision, fusing together different styles, and using her music to address the issues of today.

Last year you put out your debut Beauty in Danger. As your first official project, what did artistic vision did you want to communicate to new fans? 

I wanted to communicate 100 percent who I am. I wanted to let out all my feelings on to different style of beats that I love and run with it. I am very carefree with my writing. I write how I feel and move on to the next.

On the record’s six tracks, you traverse multiple genres – jumping from jazz ballads to neo soul and contemporary R&B. What made you want to fuse these styles together? Is there one genre that you look at as the foundation of your sound? 

I have had a love for all of these genres all of my life. I didn’t want any of the songs on Beauty In Danger to sound the same. I wanted to mix all the styles together to show people that I wont limit myself. My goal was to get that out of the way right off the bat. As of right now my foundation genre is definitely alternative r&b with a neo soul/jazz twist.

Your voice is not only powerful, but you experiment with it a lot on the record in fascinating ways – like the phaser and reverb effects on tracks like “Midnight Memories”. When did you start singing and what made you want to try to venture out into using effects?

According to my mom, I started singing when I was about 3 years old. I have always been interested in trying out effects, Lucy Christo (my engineer/producer/Rapper/D.J/Friend) really got my into it. He is so good at understanding what I want in a song and what it is that a song needs. We make a great team.

With tracks like “Mr. Prez” and “Intro”, you’re not afraid to take on heavy topics. As an artist, do you feel an obligation to use your art form to speak on major issues facing the world? 

I feel like it is an obligation as a writer to express whatever it is that your feeling. I in that moment after hearing that beat I wanted to write about Donald Trump. I may not ever write about world issues again.. But i also might like 100 times. Lol

You work with producer Lucy Christo, Luka, and Ready Ron on the record and have done singles with Noo and RADubs. How do you find producers you want to work with and what do you look for in a beat? 

Sometimes I reach out to producers and sometimes producers reach out to me. I love to be alone and in a comfortable space when I listen to a new beat. I see if i can feel something when i am listening. If a topic occurs in my mind and a cadence feels good too then its a song and I will want to record it! I love all types of music and beats. I never want to limit myself or my ears, that’s disrespectful to my ears. If I can sing to it and write to it then its my style.

As aforementioned, you’ve released a couple one-off singles since Beauty In Danger. Is there another project in the works? If so, when might we expect it? 

Not at the moment, I will be releasing my FIRST music video and a single  sometime in summertime. Right now I am just riding the wave and performing a lot this summer.



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