College wasn't really the thing for 19-year-old singer songwriter Faye Webster. After attending Nashville's Belmont University for a semester, the Atlanta-native decided to pursue a music career back home. "I would go to Atlanta almost every weekend and I had just met a group of friends -- a lot of them are in [Atlanta-based collective] Awful Records -- and that's just where I felt like I was supposed to be," Webster tells Billboard.
She wasn't entirely new to music. In 2013, she released her first album, the folk-heavy Run & Tell. "My granddad is the one who really taught my brother and me about music, and he's in a blue grass band in Texas," Webster says of her distinct Americana roots. "He was definitely my main idol."
But it's Webster's affinity for hip-hop that makes her country sound contemporary and unique. "Aaliyah is my number one everything," she says about her R&B style influences. She's covered Outkast and has totally transformed "Cheap Thrills" by Father -- Awful Records' founder and rapper -- into an emotional ode to indie-folk. The singer's friendship with rapper/producer Ethereal and the Awful crew, as well as her innovative sound, has earned her an official spot on the independent label's roster.
Webster's genre-defying music isn't her only creative crossover - she's gained recognition in Atlanta's hip-hop scene for her Kehinde Wiley-esque photography of rappers like Lil Yachty, Migos' Offset, and D.R.A.M. Inspired by a photography class she took at Belmont - "It's mainly the only reason I'm glad I went," she explains - Webster channels her quirky personal style and love of monochromes into her portraiture.
A post shared by Faye Webster (@websterfaye) on Aug 2, 2016 at 2:00pm PDT
The multi-faceted artist's style is best translated in her new music video "She Won't Go Away" off her self-titled LP slated to release this May with Awful Records. "I had a bunch of these ideas for portraits and it was right around the time that I had met this filmmaker that I have always loved, Joshua Shoemaker, in Nashville," Webster says. "I thought, instead of using these three concepts for portraits, I'm just going to use them for myself and put them together in video form."
In the video, Webster reclines with an actual snake around her neck, awkwardly dances '80's aerobics style before a red backdrop, and rides the streets of Atlanta in a patterned two piece. "I won that on Ebay," she says excitedly. Webster's eclectic fashion sense comes from her second-hand habit. "I travel a lot and when I'm just driving road trips, I stop every time I see a Goodwill," she explains. "I wear a lot of my mom's clothes, too."
When it comes to her future with Awful Records, Webster is excited for artistic growth. "There's so many artists and I feel like everyone influences each other," she says. "I think I've finally settled into a good spot, but I'm down to try anything."
A post shared by Faye Webster (@websterfaye) on Feb 4, 2017 at 6:40pm PST