Jessica Faroe is a self-proclaimed global nomad, having lived and worked all over the world. She studied songwriting at NYU and Berklee and spent a period working and creating new music in a remote recording studio in a small Icelandic fishing town. Her brand new single Beautiful explores the personal battle between her body and her mind and the way that she is overcoming her struggle with internalised sexism and racism.
Here we have a beautiful chat with her about her music and journey into Self.
For Creative Girls: Beautiful is a song that glides between poetry and ethereal rock music. Tell us about writing and recording it. What process and experience led to it?
It’s interesting that you call it ethereal rock music – that’s really cool! In November last year, I was really struggling with questions of self-worth. I had a lot of intrusive thoughts that actively put myself down. ”I’m not pretty enough.” ”She is so much more attractive than I am’‘ etc. It was exhausting and it took some really low moments for me to realise that all these voices inside me weren’t really mine.
Whose voices are they then? I started asking myself. These voices come from my parents, friends, acquaintances, social media, movies, TV shows and magazines. They are everywhere. Beauty had become a system of oppression in my life; it had become the overarching ‘value’ that I measured myself with. It was toxic.
I toppled the old belief system, and while I was healing, ‘Beautiful’ the song came to me. I was playing the synth one evening and found this sound and chords I liked. As I was playing, these words immediately came to me:” How many times / did they tell you / that you weren’t beautiful?” During lockdown I recorded the song in my home studio – I actually spent way too much time trying to make it sound ‘perfect’, which was ironic because the song is about being yourself instead of a ‘perfect’ being that doesn’t really exist. However, I did realise that and I eventually decided to stop working on it endlessly and instead be happy with what I already got.
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Your music explores themes around internal struggles and personal relationship between mind and body. How would you describe the music that you typically create?
Synth-alt-rock-indie pop for now, but who knows what I will write in the future 😉
Tell us about your musical beginning. And how did your upbringing influence your ideas about music and creativity?
I was in the school choir when I was a kid, but that didn’t really get me into music. I got into music when I bought a cassette of Avril Lavigne’s ‘Let Go’. I was immediately hooked and kept going back to buy more cassettes and CDs. I listened to a lot of rock, punk and emo at first, and then switched to more mellow music – Regina Spektor, A Fine Frenzy, MIKA and many more. Because I listened to all genres, to me music is a field with no boundary. You can make anything you like.
So now I still have this philosophy – there are so many different elements I want to incorporate in my music, and so many artists I want to collaborate with. Music is my wilderness and I’ll be always creating.
Has your musical journey had a deliberate direction or did it simply gradually evolve in whatever direction it found? And will you continue to push towards a specific/deliberate direction?
Since I was 12 I’ve always known that I wanted to be a musician and artist. So in that sense, I’ve always had a deliberate direction. Back in my uni days, I signed myself up for voice lessons, songwriting workshops, and spent a lot of my time on piano & guitar.
I will definitely continue to create because that’s who I am and it just makes me so happy.
What does a typical day in your life look like? Walk us through your daily process.
This year hasn’t been very typical, but usually, I would wake up, go to work and make music during my spare time. I have a lyric book with me and I write poems/lyrics in there all the time. It’s very therapeutic to write out all my thoughts and later turn them into songs.
When I come home after work I’m usually exhausted, but as soon as I turn on the synth and start playing, my fatigue is gone. I would usually spend all evening in the studio writing – sometimes it’s usable sometimes it’s not, but I try not to pressure myself to be ‘productive’ musically all the time.
And what does making new music look/feel like for you?
It feels natural, and it keeps me motivated and hopeful in life. The world can be a scary place, but music always feels like home.
On the business of Music, how have you been able to structure your music into a thriving livelihood?
I haven’t, haha. I have a day job that pays the bills, and I spend all my other time on music as much as I can. I’m working towards turning this into a full-time gig, but while I’m getting there, I still need something to sustain my livelihood.
Tell us about 3 women songwriters and musicians that inspire you.
Oh, there are so many! Lights, Lhasa de Sela, Lianne La Havas. It’s a coincidence that their names all start with ‘L’…
Lights is a Canadian singer, songwriter and producer. She has a really cool home studio and she produces her own music. Her music is very honest and uplifting, and at the same time super danceable.
Lhasa de Sela had the most beautiful and magnetic voice. She was such a beautiful soul as well. She poured her soul into every recording and performance, and you can feel the palpable emotions. I really wish I could get to know her. She is no longer in this world, but a lot of us still love her deeply and will always remember her.
Lianne La Havas is a soulful songwriter. Her songs are so earnest and her voice so charming. A true inspiration for me and my musical journey!
What imprint do you want your music to make and leave?
Saying I want to make this world a better place is so cliche, but that’s what I’m trying to do – making this world a more bearable place, one song at a time.