We had the good fortune of connecting with Faye Nightingale and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Faye, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was born and raised in a small, quiet suburban town on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand. Growing up, there wasn’t much to do or see. I spent a lot of time in my room learning about the rest of the world, including music from overseas. A lot of my influences then were what I had access to over the internet at the time. I knew there was more to life than the little bubble I was living in. I wanted to hear more music, see more live shows, perform to more and new crowds. For the 3 years after graduating high school, I was going to architecture school and I hated it. The workload was overwhelming and I couldn’t fit in with the university culture. Between going to class, the sleepless nights working on projects I had no passion in, I also worked hard at applying to all sorts of scholarships I could find to get myself to the states to pursue what I love. I stopped at nothing. I stayed up late at night to make overseas calls, telling the one person after another on the other end of the line, my story and goals. Eventually the college I went to ended up giving me enough merit + need based scholarship for me to move. At 19, I did. I didn’t know anyone in the states, never been to the states before, I just knew how to speak English, which to me was already a huge advantage. Making that decision to move my life, everyone and everything I knew has really shaped who I’ve become today. I’m always willing to push, to take a leap of faith, to hold onto a simple ability and amplify or stretch it as far as it can go. Big changes in life excite me rather than scare me. I love having to adapt to them, I seek them. My music is often about that very thing – the bittersweet feeling between starting new and letting go.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Growing up, I had always enjoyed music and knew I loved writing and performing. However, when it got to choosing what to pursue for college – I ended up going to school for photography and videography. From there, I ended up photographing a bunch of musicians, their album art, their promo, everything needed for their releases. I learned about their process and made a bunch of connections as a non-musician (I was too shy to let them know that I also play music.) Besides, in some ways meeting all these talented professional musicians, I felt small and incompetent. Eventually I was able to shake off my insecurities and started making music again on my own a few years ago after moving to LA from NY. I’m thankful for actually having gone to school for photography and videography because it’s really helped me with my releases. From directing and editing, sometimes even shooting my own music videos, doing art direction for my photoshoots, all of those things fall into place and make releasing music as a package a much smoother and cohesive process for me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d have to give them (my) full LA experience. A hike I love is Tuna Canyon – it’s not overly crowded. I also enjoy Eaton Canyon for a longer hike. Beach wise, I’d take them to Leo Carillo State Beach or a bit further out in Palos Verdes. Then of course, DTLA for nightlife – it’s the closest thing that reminds me of NY and a little piece of my heart will always stay with NY. Silverlake and echo park are my usual hangs, all the little restaurants and cafes. Alhambra to grab all the best asian food of course.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
All the close friends I made when I first landed in Boston – not knowing anyone in the States or having visited before, they quickly became my second family. I was fortunate that my roommate happened to be an incredibly talented musician and singer. I took some vocal lessons with her over the weekend (with a special unbeatable college roommate price!) I became friends with all her other musician friends whom I regularly attended their live shows and learned so much from. I’d also like to thank my older brother for always challenging me. From his refusal to teach me any guitar, to showing me Andy Mckee’s video of “Drifting” and daring me to learn it – all the strange ways a brother loves and teaches have forced me to grow and push myself to become a better musician. Lastly, my parents for having the heart and willingness to watch me leave home to follow my dreams. I never understood what it meant to leave then. My perspective was much narrower and all I saw was the shiny dream at the end of the tunnel that I was ready to chase after. 10 years later after leaving home and looking back – the moment I stepped onto that plane meant that things would never be the same again. So I thank them for letting me fly out on my own. The will to make it worth leaving everything I knew behind is what keeps pushing me.
Michael Glines – photographer