FAULT Focus: Khadija Saye: Remembering The Artist Through Her Photography

 

Early Thursday morning, the reality of London’s Grenfell Tower blaze hit home for myself and my fellow UCA alumni as we read the final Facebook update from our once classmate, Khadija Saye. Trapped within the burning building, Khadija reached out for prayers from her loved ones, and they rushed to the streets and social media in hopes of finding her. Sadly, the next day Khadija’s family would confirm that what we feared the most had come to fruition, Khadija had tragically perished in the blaze.

While we did share a class throughout university, myself and Khadija were not close friends. Remembering my panic as I scrolled Google and social media desperately looking for an update on her condition, I feel compelled to help ensure that her captivating body of work and not the tragedy of her passing, form her lasting legacy.

As an artist, her work cast a light on Gambian culture, the collective unity within “the other” and her journey into self. In memorial of Khadija and the conclusion of her photographic portfolio, FAULT takes a dive into the work of the late great artist – Khadija Saye.

 

‘Crowned’

In 2013, Khadija took her seat at the proverbial table and unveiled her centrepiece in the form of her photographic project entitled, ‘Crowned’. This series of photographs is one of the projects that our class was able to observe as it developed from inception to completion as Khadija’s final degree show series. ‘Crowned’ is made up of eight portraits showcasing the different ways in which black woman close to Khadija styled their hair. From woven braids, extensions, dreaded and natural afro, the viewer is given a glimpse into the diverse range of hair styling possibilities open to black women.

Entitled ‘Crowned’, Saye references the physical and the symbolic idea that black hair is something to be prized and adorned and not ashamed of. The words of Ingrid Banks taken from her book entitled ‘Hair Matters: Beauty, Power, and Black Women’s Consciousness’ echoes in my mind when I reflect upon Khadija’s title choice. In the book, Banks writes:

“Crown suggests a source of power, excellence or beauty…Therefore, a notion of power is embedded in the idea of hair as a black woman’s crowning glory. Hair has the ability to become a foundation for understanding how black woman view power and its relationship to self-esteem” –  Ingrid Banks 2000.

More contemporary references to black hair as something of brilliance can also be seen in Solange Knowles’ critically acclaimed 2016 release ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’, where within the opening verse Solange exclaims:

“Don’t touch my crown, They say the vision I’ve found”

“They don’t understand, What it means to me”.

One does wonder what significance Khadija’s perception of her own afro hair and its beauty played in her choosing to embark on the project and if I were to guess, producing ‘Crowned’ was a labour of love and presentation of self-pride. Indeed in March 2017, four years after the release of the series, Khadija reminisced on the making of the project in joy tweeting:

 

In the image, her young assistants observe possibly unaware of the importance their participation played in the construction of ‘Crowned’ or how it might affect their perceptions towards their afro hair and ideas of self in years to come; truly the impact of ‘Crowned’ will stretch on far further than even Khadija would have imagined.

As the only black male on our course, I once attempted to play up my “wokeness” and asked Khadija if she had seen “the Chris Brown documentary called ‘Good Hair’”, (misquoting Chris Rock’s 2009 documentary that focussed on the perception of natural hair within the African-American community.) Emblematic of her kind-hearted and gentle attitude, Khadija, of course, corrected my mistake letting out a light giggle; dropping my façade I listened to her thoughts on the documentary.

Earlier I referenced Solange Knowles’ ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’, a fiery anthem that highlights the resentment caused by patronising actions which decrease afro hair to a thing of play but observing ‘Crowned’, the same frustrated narrative does not confront me. My interpretation of ‘Crowned’ isn’t, “don’t touch my hair!” It is an inviting, “Don’t touch but do see. Bear witness to the beautiful ways black women can choose to style their crowns.” The viewer is invited to marvel at the intricacies of the different twists, curls and over-locking structures of the sitter’s hair and when printed and framed in a gallery, we’re disarmed and hypnotised by their sophisticated beauty.

It’s important we recognise the personal connection Saye shared with the women she photographed. The trust the sitters have placed in Khadija is unique; formed not just from a shared experience of blackness but through the confidence these women placed in Khadija’s skill as an artist to capture so much more than just hair. It is thanks to her affable character that Khadija was trusted to capture up-close the art within her subject and through her artistry and presentation nous, she allowed the viewer to appreciate black women’s hairstyles up close as something of splendour.

Khadija’s ‘Crowned’ might end here, but the project as a form of inspiration to a new generation of artists will continue. The eight sitters included on Saye’s website are but a drop in the ocean of the many different ways black woman can choose to style their hair; making ‘Crowned’ a gleaming seed from which the mightiest body of work can still grow.

 

Home.Coming

For her series entitled ‘Home.Coming’, Khadija travelled to The Gambia and documented her exploration of self through a series of portrait and landscape photographs.

Something I notice through all of Khadija’s work is her ability to find familiarity and gain trust within cultures sometimes seen as ‘the other’. ‘Home.Coming‘, ‘Crowned‘, ‘Eid‘, ‘Madame Jojo’s‘, all focus on different categories of the human experience yet notice how she has never been kept at arm’s length from her subject. I don’t feel the presence of a white tape that Saye is forced to photograph from behind when I observe her work. When capturing her subjects, for a time at least, Khadija is one with their environment and through her lens’ eye, the viewer is too.

For me, the unseen friendship-building and conversations Saye would have had with each person to earn their trust before the photo session conjures much intrigue. The above portraits arrest your gaze; the men’s eyes tell countless yet frustratingly unattainable stories. Khadija has stopped time but for a moment yet opened the door for myriads of questions – made sorrowfully more perplexing now they’ll go unanswered.

In another photograph from the series, a young girl smiles as she watches something out of the frame and in the below photograph a man leans on his prized Volkswagen, both beg a mountain of questions yet if we take a step back, we’ll find Khadija’s story told throughout the series.

Any second generation migrant knows all too well the conflicted notion of “home”, and from what I can only guess, Khadija travelled to The Gambia to find, explore and reflect on life in a home in which she did not live. While the content of Khadija’s photographs doesn’t answer the question of “did Khadija find self and the comfort of home while in The Gambia” but we need only look at her sitters to find our answer. As referenced previously, her subjects are unperturbed in front of the camera and this is likely because they were relaxed with their photographer. Any artist can tell you the anguish of requesting a portrait of a stranger only to watch their sudden discomfort when faced with the intrusive camera lenses flung in their face but notice the air of calm in Khadija’s work.

Yes, each photograph in the series contains countless untold stories, yet one is clear, and it’s the sitter’s tale of Khadija. As a photographer, she wasn’t a stranger in their midst nor a second generation displaced entity forcibly taking up shop in their domain; for that time if only for a moment, Khadija Saye was one with them – truly at home.

 

Dwelling: In This Space We Breathe

Khadija’s last exhibited work ‘Dwelling: In This Space We Breathe’ made with the help of artist, Almudena Romero, saw her once more exploring her heritage by investigating traditional Gambian spiritual practices and the comfort practitioners found in the arms of a higher power.

There is something remarkably poignant about her final project immortalised on such a physically existent format such as the tintype. By using tintypes, Khadija transformed her amorphous visual being, memory and legacy from a temporary state and gave it physical form. Unlike a digital file, memory or spoken recollection, her tintype image has weight, texture, smell and uniqueness the very same way our physical forms do; yet unlike us, her tintypes do not have an expiration date and will always remain.

The very idea of legacy and the pursuit of artists to leave a token in this world for after we pass, itself is a practice of spirituality. For all we know, there is no telling of what significance our life actions will play after our lives come to an end, yet we attempt to leave proofs of our existence to tell the future world “I was here and I existed.”

In the tintype images, Khadija is depicted in a ritual using sacred Gambian artefacts meant for the purpose of connecting with the spiritual world from the physical plane. Now with her passing, there is a spiritual awakening of ideas and ways of reflecting within the viewer. Now as we gaze upon the imagery, it is us the viewer who are being connected with Khadija and in turn, linked spiritually to the “once was”.It is through Khadija’s immortalisation of Gambian ritual that we now look upon her from this physical plane despite what would be considered by many religions as her soul ascending to a higher state of being.

I’ll admit that the above sounds somewhat of a stretch and likely not what the project was intended to symbolise, but it did cast a light on my scepticism towards schools of beliefs that I do not understand. In reflecting on the work, my own westernised perception of spiritual ritual has come into question. For myself at least, the actions depicted by Khadija provides a brand new outlook and way of seeing such ceremony.

For some of those raised in the UK, the idea of spirituality and non-conventional western religion is sometimes considered as something of myth or fantasy, not necessarily through conscious choice but through our conditioned view of pre-evangelised spirituality.

In Sir Edward Burnett Tylor’s 1987 book (now somewhat offensively entitled) ‘Primitive Culture’, he gave the broad belief that spirituality can be attributed to ritual and inanimate objects the name ‘Animisim’.

Note: ‘Animisim’ does not exclusively describe the Gambian ritual Khadija explored in her project but broadly refers to the school of similar beliefs held by people throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia throughout history. Hopefully an anthropologist or practitioner of the specific belief Khadija explored can provide a more suitable title for us to use in this essay.

While coining the English term for the phrase, Tylor knew he was generalising a large number of people, but he did so out of frustration with writers of his day who saw such displays and dismissed them as illegitimate forms of spirituality.

“Short of the organised and established theology of the higher races as being a religion at all. They attribute irreligion to tribes whose doctrines are unlike theirs”. – Taylor 1987

The link between the photographic process and spirituality is also drawn upon in the accompanying text for ‘Diaspora Pavilion 2017’ where the works are currently held on display.

“The process of submerging the collodion covered plate into a tank of silver nitrate ignites memories of baptisms.” – Disapora Pavilion 2017

It is clear Khadija found a spiritual link at every step of this project even choosing herself as the subject when producing the tintypes but rather than theorising or projecting, it’s only right to let the words that accompany the project have the final word:

“This work is based on the search for what gives meaning to our lives and what we hold onto in times of despair and life changing challenges. We exist in the marriage of physical and spiritual remembrance. It is in these spaces that we identify with our physical and imagined bodies. Using herself as the subject, Saye felt it was necessary to physically explore how trauma is embodied in the black experience.” – Disapora Pavilion 2017

 

Notice how throughout Khadija’s entire body of work, there’s a level of thinking that transcends just the art of seeing. All three projects spoken about above are unique individual displays of artistry and wonderous displays of photography worth that of an artist far beyond Khadija’s years.

‘Crowned’, ‘Home.Coming’ and ‘Dwelling: In This Space We Breathe’, are all linked only by the artist of origin and much like Khadija, they mean and will continue to mean so much to so many different people. Reminiscent of the Khadija that I knew from across the lecture theatre, not a lot is shouted nor is it displayed with over-the-top performance – because work and artists with true substance donesn’t require such theatrics.

This week we sadly lost Khadija, but not her contribution to the artistic world.

 

See more from Khadija’s portfolio on www.sayephotography.co.uk

 

 

 

SONNY curates FAULT Magazine Playlist of the week

Despite not legally allowed to drink in the UK until last week, Sonny’s voice is filled with the rich tones of the jazz singer whose spent years perfecting his craft in smoky jazz dens. His debut single entitled ‘Princess’ oozes with soul whilst containing elements of folk and jazz all rolled up in a modern pop ballad for contemporary audiences.

“My first release ‘Princess’ is a very personal song about a challenging relationship. It’s a little tongue in cheek but I’ve tried to be as honest as possible and I hope that shows throughout the lyrics in this song.”

Produced by Rum And Bug, Princess is taken from Sonny’s upcoming EP, ‘Hopeless Romance’ that drops on the March 24th. (Preorder available HERE)

We wanted to find out how a young performer could be imbued with such old-school soul and what better way to find out than to have Sonny curate this weeks FAULT Playlist below!

 

Stevie Wonder – He’s misstra know it all 

This song has always been a big part of my life, it’s one of my Mums favourite songs and artist. I’ve been influenced by Stevie Wonder from such a young age but out of all of his songs, this one really stands out for me. It’s quite a serious song until he lets loose at the end and adds in some really fun and jokey vocals. Only Stevie could do this! It’s really iconic.

 

Drake – Hold on we’re going home 

This song was when I first discovered Drake, and it’s the song I’ll always remember him for. It’s quite different to what he usually does but the melodies are so catchy and powerful. He is always very understated yet powerful at the same time. This song makes me want to get up and dance.

 

Paolo Nutini – Loving you.

 

Paolo has such a distinctive voice and I love it! So I had to buy the album. After a few car journeys I stumbled across this tune and never looked back. It was so relevant at the time because I was in a really happy place.

 

Penny and the Quarters – You and Me

 

This song featured in a movie called ‘Blue Valentine’. I fell in love with it instantly, it’s so old school and soulful. Right up my street!! With one female vocal accompanied by several males, I found it really unique. I love the story behind this song and how it was discovered. 

 

John Martyn – May you never.

I was introduced to John Martyn by my Dad who is also an acoustic guitar player/ singer. He would teach me how to play it and then I added it into my set list! Its really folk and a different type of songwriting which I liked. 

 

Coldplay – Everything’s not lost

Coldplay have always been one of my favourite bands. This song is typical Coldplay! A slow build up throughout the whole song and then a big finish. It helped me out through a tough time, I would just sit and listen to it on repeat. It’s from the album ‘Parachutes’ which I feel really defined Coldplay and is kind of my favourite albums. 

 

 

Sonny On the web

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John Legend X FAULT Magazine Issue 25 Covershoot

John Legend discusses La La Land, Trump’s America and family values in FAULT Magazine #25 ‘US Special’

 

 

For this special edition issue, we’ve teamed up some of the USA’s most talented migrant photographers with popular stars in entertainment who have managed to excel despite growing racist, homophobic and sexist sentiment in the land they call home.
 Check back with FAULT Magazine next week for our second reveal!

 

Casting my mind back to 2005 and the re-emergence of outlandishly dressed musicians and over-the-top performances that had to be done for a fleeting spot in the top 20; it’s humbling that one shy man and his piano have stood the test of time. Fast-forward to 2017 and John Legend is now a household name with six albums under his belt, a family and most recently starred in and executively produced the Oscar-tipped blockbuster movie ‘La La Land’. I caught up with John to discuss music, family life and fears to discover if “Legend” is more than just a name.

Words by Miles Holder

Photography Lionel Deluy @loveartistsagency | Styling by Cat Wennekamp at Celestine Agency| Grooming by Juanita Lyon using Baxter of California at Celestine Agency | Retouching by Julia Idiar | Special Thank You to US Alteration for use of their location

How do you think you’ve changed as a person since your debut all those years ago?

I’ve grown up a lot in the last twelve years and had a lot more life experiences. Getting married and having a baby have added new perspectives and depth to the subjects I sing about too. Just from living in the world and seeing more contemporary issues have added new layers to my music which weren’t there before.

 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

My life has turned out pretty well so I wouldn’t change much but I would want myself to be bolder growing up. I was shy in college and I would tell myself to be more willing to come out of my shell and dare to be confident.

 

You’re married with a baby daughter; do you think the positivity they bring to your life spreads throughout the album?

I think I’ve always been an optimistic person and I think that streak of optimism runs through each of my albums. I think there is just more depth to what I’m feeling because everything means more to me now I have a wife and daughter. Everything is more significant and I’m thinking more philosophically about things and thinking about life and death a lot more. Before what I sang about were my ambitions of making money, getting girls and having fun which was a lot more selfish but now I have better perspective and depth on what’s really important in life.

 

Raising a bi-racial daughter in Trump’s America, does that scare you?

Hopefully “Trump’s America” won’t last very long and we get him out of here within the next four years. By the time Luna is old enough to be aware of what is happening, America would have elected a far better president. Trump promised to do things which are really bad for the country and some which are good and the hope is he’ll just do the good parts but I don’t have a lot of faith in him.  I’m just hoping for the best and when we need to resist and speak out, we need to hit the streets and do it. For now, I’m more worried for the people less fortunate than my daughter, people who might lose their healthcare or get excluded because of the colour of their skin, their religion and country of origin.

 

Fans have differing ideas of what a John Legend album should sound like. Is that added pressure when it comes to releasing new music?

Not everyone is going to be happy with every album and with every song but when I put music out, I do it with the confidence that my fans will love it or at least give it a chance. The feedback from Darkness and Light has been amazing and it has been my best-reviewed album to date. When I was finishing it, a lot of my friends felt like it was my best work and I felt the same so I was more excited that nervous for people to hear it. I don’t go too much into numbers and charts, what’s important is that people love it and I’ve heard they do.

From the album title, I presumed the songs would be either extremely high octane songs or heart-wrenching ballads but listening to the lyrics, for the most part, it’s an uplifting album and I wondered if that was always your intention?

I think what the title means to me is that darkness and lightness always coexist and theirs a push and pull and it’s not really about one song being dark and one being light as you said you expected, it’s about mixing it all into one song. In Surefire I talk about a nightmare but regardless “I’m surefire” and that’s me inviting darkness and light into one song.

 

What scares John Legend?

Rats! I’m really scared of rodents.

 

La La Land has received rave reviews, how was that whole experience?

I loved it and it was really fun to be a part of it. I loved working with Ryan and I didn’t work much with Emma but she’s a wonderful actress and did great in the movie. It was a really cool experience and to be part of something so special and meaningful to so many people.

 

What is your FAULT?

I don’t like confrontation. Sometimes that’s good because I’m good at keeping the peace but when in times when you have to confront things head on I’ve never been good at that.

 

Read John Legends full interview and see more exclusive photographs only in FAULT’s Special #25

AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

 

FAULT Magazine reviews Momoko Permanent Hair Straightening at Trevor Sorbie Covent Garden

If you’re anything like me, your morning routine probably involves waking up 5 hours earlier than you should just so you can get yourself prepped and ready for the day to come. Leaving breakfast, my workout, make-up and getting dressed routine aside, I usually have to allocate at least half an hour to taming my hair into a half decent look.

 

Mind you, over the past few years, I’ve put my locks through hell. Bleaching, constant hair straightening, some more bleaching and then obviously the end result was something that I was less than happy with.I’ve also got curly hair so you can only image what came out of the whole thing. So I’ve decided to take my hair’s faith into my own hands and started looking for a treatment that would save me time and also strengthen my locks.

 

After doing some research, sometimes the keratin treatments that have been on the market for years just don’t get the job done, especially if you’re looking for a sleek look to last you months.That’s how I stumbled upon the Momoko permanent hair straightening treatment and thought I’d give it a try. It’s a revolutionary method that lasts for months and has been in the UK for only five years now.

You can find Momoko in selected salons across London. Trevor Sorbie is the official salon in which Momoko is used and also the salon that performs all the necessary training for hairdressers.

 

It’s a two-stage process – there’s the consult and the actual treatment. Going into Trevor Sorbie, one of their Momoko specialists takes a good look at your hair and decides which products are best to use in order to get that particular look that you’re going for. It’s especially useful if you’re looking for a natural bouncy result.

 

Second stage is the treatment itself that takes about 3 to 4 hours to finish. I had the pleasure to be in Nathan Jay Walker’s skillful hands from start to finish. He’s Trevor Sorbie’s International Technical Director and as far as good hair care goes, it doesn’t get much better than that.

 

Aside from the pampering that comes as a package with Trevor Sorbie, I was more than pleased with the end result as well. After the treatment, my hair was not only sleek and straight, but also stronger and lifted.

 

In terms of aftercare, don’t make too many plans afterwards. You’re not allowed to wash your hair for 48 hours or even put it in a ponytail, just so you don’t end up with creases. It’s all worth it though. After my first wash, the frizz was absolutely gone and I only needed about 5 minutes to get the same result I got in the salon in the first place.

 

If you’re looking for long-term solutions for your hair troubles, the Momoko Permanent Hair Straightening treatment is the way to go.

Ryan Tedder returns to FAULT Magazine Cover ahead of new OneRepublic Album

 

 

Ryan Tedder is a very busy man these days. Having worked alongside the biggest talents in the industry, he’s now taken time to focus on OneRepublic’s 4th album due to be released in early October. Some have accused Tedder of handing out his greatest hits to other musicians, but the band’s upcoming album is bound to prove everyone wrong. Appropriately entitled Oh My My, the album unmasks Tedder’s incredible versatility and vocal range, as you’ve never heard it before. In short, it’s safe to say that Oh My My is a revelation and the beginning of a new era for OneRepublic. An era where Tedder fully showcases a modern day genius whose talent falls beyond comprehension. After writing for the likes of Beyonce, Adele, Ed Sheeran and many more, he’s comprised all of it in the form of Oh My My. From first listen onwards, you shortly realize that you can find Ryan Tedder in Ellie Goulding’s Burn, Beyoncé’s Halo and Adele’s Turning Tables – as opposed to the other way around. Tedder is undoubtedly the music industry’s secret weapon and the mind that makes it all go round. We spoke to Ryan ahead of the album release and here’s his take on it all.

 

You’ve worked with some of the biggest names in the industry– Beyoncé, Adele, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, Taylor Swift – just to name a few. Aside from that, you’ve also got OneRepublic. That’s a lot to put on anyone’s plate. Do you have a particular routine that you stick to in order to be more efficient?

You just get really good at multitasking. There are a lot of hours in the day, there’s a lot of time that people waste and you basically figure out how not to waste that much time. So there’s no routine basically – every day is different. I’ve got a different routine when I’m on tour as opposed to when I’m not. But it all comes down to not wasting time and being as efficient as you can.

Oh My My – your next album – is coming out in October. After Native, how far did you go with this one?

With this album, I pushed the envelope as far as it could go and on some songs we probably pushed it too far. But then again, that’s how you figure out how far you can go within your own world.

 

What qualifies as ‘too far’ for OneRepublic?

There will be some songs that people hear and go ‘Oh, they shouldn’t be doing that’. Because people have their own perception of whom you are. Like ‘Oh, you look amazing! You shouldn’t be wearing that jacket though.” Or if you dye your hair black – there’s always going to be that one person who’s going to say that you look better blonde. I’m sure that there are going to be some people that feel that some songs are too far, but it’s a very honest record. The songs are crazy; they’re all over the place. It’s like a playlist. And that’s how people listen to music nowadays anyway. You listen to five artists; you don’t listen to just one artist. I work with 100 artists, so our music is reflective of that. You’ll hear little moments of Adele, little moments of EDM. You won’t hear a song that sounds like it, you’ll hear like a second. You can hear the influences, but the album feels very honest. Our last album did better than we thought, so we have a lot of pressure of doing something that’s better than that.

 

Do you ever get overwhelmed?

Yes, but that’s normal.

What’s your process of differentiating the material that you’re going to use for yourself as opposed to what you’re going to give away?

It’s pretty easy. If you’re a chef and you own a Japanese restaurant, you can go cook with your friends at different restaurants anytime you want. But one friend of yours might have an Italian restaurant or a hamburger shop and your other friend might have a dessert pastry shop. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to go back to your Japanese restaurant and make pizza.

 

In short – it’s a question of being aware of your own identity.

Yeah and I know myself very well. Even the hit records that I give away to other people – I give them away because they’re inauthentic. If I put out a record that’s a hit and it’s inauthentic to me – guess what happens – it’s not a hit. It doesn’t connect because people won’t believe it.

 

So the core of OneRepublic’s sound lies very much in the humanity that you put in it. Is that what you feel that draws people to your music?

That’s exactly what I feel. If I did Katy Perry’s record, people would be like “What the hell is he doing?” Or if I released Taylor Swift’s 1989. Can you imagine that? It would’ve been pretty inauthentic, to say the least. Even Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud. People go like ‘Oh, I can see you doing that’ – but no. If we actually did it, people wouldn’t believe it coming from me. It wouldn’t be real coming from me.

Speaking of Taylor and Ed, how do you usually go about picking the artists that you’re going to work with?

You’ve got limited time in a day and you have to choose the ones that move you the most. You can’t just chase the ones that you think you’re going to have a hit with. You go for the ones that you know you’ll bring out the best in and that they’ll bring out the best in you. There are a handful of really big pop stars that I haven’t worked with and that’s not an accident. It’s no offence to them – it’s just that what they do isn’t a brand of clothing that I wear. I can look at Fendi all day long and admire the hell out of it, but I’m not going to wear it. There are some brands that you just don’t wear.

 

Having worked with Taylor and winning a Grammy for her 1989 album– is there something that you’d like to put out there – especially now in times of turmoil – about her that you feel the public needs to know?

She is pound for pound the most talented writer of any artist I’ve ever worked with. Taylor is the only artist that I’ve worked with that has the complete skillset. If she weren’t an artist, she’d be the number one songwriter in the world. If she weren’t a songwriter, she’d be the number one artist in the world. She can write songs with the technical understanding of a master of songwriting, but she still taps into the emotional and personal side of the artist that she is and writes from that place. To do both at the same time is incredibly rare and I haven’t met many other people that do it. And Taylor has known what she wanted to do ever since she was 12, so there’s that. She’s a bit of a prodigy. And as long as I’ve known her, she’s been nothing but kind to me and thoughtful and generous. I’ve read a lot of stuff and heard a lot of stuff and obviously, she’s caught up in some drama right now and it’s a sticky situation – but personally I’ve had nothing but awesome experiences with her from day one.

Having shared the studio with so many talents, is there a specific moment in your songwriting career that has stuck with you to this day?

Stevie Wonder. I did a song for a movie with him a couple of weeks ago. He and I were sitting in a room, going back and forth over lyrics and I had a moment where I was sat there and I wished there was a camera filming – because I was writing a song with Stevie Wonder. And it was just like – this is the coolest day I’ve ever had. I’ve been to a lot of places, I’ve seen a lot of things – but the evening with Stevie – I remember literally every hour of it. Up until 3am. I remember everything that happened. Which you can’t really control, your brain just prioritizes memories without you thinking about it. That was probably my favourite moment. I have so many though, it’s hard to choose.

 

For the sake of amusement, you must have quite an interesting bundle of stories under your belt. Care to share one of them?

I accidentally stood up Peter Gabriel. Twice. I’ve obviously got random tour stories and stuff like that, but I think my most embarrassing story is my Peter Gabriel story. He’s one of my favourite recording artists and this happened last summer. It was during Ed Sheeran’s Wembley Stadium shows and I connected with Peter through a mutual friend. One day, I got an email from my manager who had talked to his manager and said that Peter wanted to have coffee and get to know me. I went to Peter Gabriel’s place in Notting Hill and I worship him so I was like ‘This is incredible’. I hung out with him all night, we had dinner, listened to music and then it ended. And at the end of the night, I was like ‘Okay, that was amazing, let’s get together again soon.’ What I didn’t know was that there was a miscommunication between his manager and my manager – so his people thought that I had booked to write with him Saturday and Sunday. The way it was explained to me was that we were only meeting up for coffee. So I hung out with him on Friday, had a great night, and Saturday – without knowing – I stood him up. He came into the studio at 10am and waited for me until 2pm and I never showed up. I didn’t know that I was supposed to be there. And the next day – I was also booked. The message that I stood him up on Saturday never got to me, so I didn’t know. And then Sunday – AGAIN. As I was driving to the airport to leave, I get a phone call from Peter. He had been in the studio again for the second day for 2 hours. And he was less than happy with me. So I was on the phone with him for 20 minutes just apologizing while emailing my manager telling him that I stood up Peter 2 days in a row. I was completely mortified and upset. That was my favourite recording artist and I just completely blew him off 2 days in a row. And we made up – after I continuously sent him emails and phone calls cause I was horrified that he was going to hate me – and well, it took two months to make up, but he eventually agreed to work together and now he’s featured on our album. And it’s one of the best songs on the album. It all worked well, but that’s my worst story. My idol is Peter Gabriel and I blew him off two days in a row. It’s the single worst thing that’s happened to my career so far.

Do you currently have your eyes set on any newcomers that you’d like to work with?

James Bay would be great to work with. Someone connected us and we plan on writing together at the beginning of 2017, around January. But yeah, James is my favourite newcomer. I’m sure there are more, but I’ve been so busy with the album that I literally didn’t have time to pay attention. I normally know everything that’s coming out.

 

What’s your FAULT?

Over commitment. I’m overly ambitious and I over commit, which inevitably leads to letting someone down.

 

OneRepublic’s new album Oh My My is available for pre-order now via iTunes and is due to be released on October 7th on Interscope Records.

 

Words  Adina Ilie

Photography Joseph Sinclair

Styling Krishan Parmar

Grooming Shamirah Sairally

 

Dougie Poynter’s Exclusive Photoshoot and Interview for FAULT Magazine Online

 

Dougie Poynter first burst onto the scene back in 2004 as part of the band Mcfly  who in their career spanning over thirteen years have amassed 19 top 10 singles, 5 albums and will be heading off on their 14th tour in September! Dougie’s personal writing skills are just as impressive, credited for his songwriting on tracks by 5SOS and One Direction respectively, he has also cut his teeth as FAULT Magazine’s own guest reporter at London Collection Man. 

We caught up with Dougie to discuss next month’s tour, favourite band moments and where his creative steps will take him.

 

When the news broke that bandmate Harry Judd had suffered a neck injury forcing you to postpone your Mcfly Anthology tour, were you relieved for the extra rehearsal time?

It’s weird, it felt like someone had moved Christmas. I’m still very excited though and now Danny will actually have learned all the songs again. The only bit of production we were bringing on tour was an autocue for lyrics so it’ll be nice to just let loose without it!

 

You’re going from 6 members in McBusted back to 4 in Mcfly, will the stage feel more daunting with less members?

There will be more space, that’s for sure because with 6 of us we were constantly running into each other. When we would play arenas it was fine because the stage was massive but our guitars came away full of dents! I have some gnarly jumps up my sleeve now we have the extra space.

 

In a few words, what can fans expect to see on your tour?

It’s every album back to back. There will be songs that as a band we’ve only ever played one time during recording sessions but never played live. It will definitely be a one off for us.

 

Looking back to 2013 and to McFly’s first album, many people said you’d be a passing fancy but here you are in 2016 you’re about to embark on nationwide tour. How does it feel to prove so many naysayers wrong?

It doesn’t feel like good in a smug sense because for us it’s been a continuous thing. It really weirds us out when people are like “you were my first concert when I was in year 6” and now they’re all adults with jobs and kids! We’ve never really stopped working, even when we took 9 months off after McBusted to work on other projects, we were all still working.

We are just grateful that we have had the opportunity to stay making music because we always say to ourselves that “the band won’t be around forever” although we’re starting to think it will be! Our awesome fanbase keeps us going even though we haven’t released new music in so long. We’ve actually recorded 2 albums and just scrapped them because we can’t make up our minds at all!

 

Do you foresee there will be McFly tour when you’re old and grey?

If we survive that is! Everyone keeps hurting themselves, Harry has slipped a disc and Danny fractured his elbow so it’s pretty good we had more time to recoup and recover!

 

Can you pinpoint one favourite moment from your career?

We’ve done some really cool stuff and won awards and set world records but honestly, when we’re all together and reminiscing, our favourite moments are when we’re just pissing around and getting up to no good. It’s the little things…Although it is nice to win awards.

 

Future plans for the rest of the year?

Everyone has their own thing going on. As we’ve gotten older our solo careers keep us busy, Tom has his songwriting and Danny is a DJ and I’ve been out in the states doing my own thing. We’ll probably postpone the tour again after I hurt myself on this shoot!

What are you working on in the states?

I’ve been studying acting for the last 2 years. I just really enjoy studying and taking on new crafts. It’s a bit of everything and by the end of the tour I plan to relocate to LA and continue the acting.

Despite only ever putting your music out there, the press continuously write about your personal relationships, has that pressure every become too much for you?

I don’t like the personal stories about me. It always freaks me out, I know some celebrities can just brush it off and say any press is good press but there’s something about it that makes me feel very uneasy.

What is your FAULT?

I hate the feeling of powerlessness. I’ve been very involved with charities cleaning up the ocean and stopping plastics and micro plastics from being dumped but it Is bewildering to see just how much needs to be done and how little I can do alone.

 

Words: Miles Holder

 

 

FAULT Future: Sody making the most of her ‘youth’

 

Listening to Sody, it’s easy to forget how young she is in her career and life. At just 15, her vocal range and power is just as brilliant as performers many years her senior. Gaining great acclaim from her single entitled Sorry, last month we were treated to a new collaboration with Martin Luke Brown entitled ‘Wasted Youth’. FAULT sat down with Sody to find out more about her artistry, history and bright, bright future.

Has singing always been the dream? 

Yes, absolutely!

 

‘Wasted Youth’ has been on repeat in the office all day! How did the collaboration with Martin Luke Brown come about?

I was at the Reading festival last year and stumbled into a tent for his set. I thought he was amazing and asked my manager to reach out for a session. ‘Sorry’, my first single, was born from our first ever writing session and then ‘Wasted Youth’ followed! He’s my big bro AND bestie!

 

‘Sorry’ is such a powerful song with a huge vocal. Do you prefer punchy belters to the more stripped back tracks?

Everything starts stripped back for me. I write using piano so it’s always fun to build it. I love to get lost in a track I can really push myself on. Sometimes the challenge is more intense and exciting when you do a  track  stripped back for live as you feel more exposed. I think both elements should always make up any album or live show.

 

You’re at such a young age but you’re singing about love and other quite mature themes, do you ever feel a disconnect between your personal life and the themes of your music?

I’ve grown up with 5 older siblings, so when I wrote my first song at 10 it was definitely inspired by the life of others. Growing up in that environment has influenced my maturity levels and how I see the world. Now I do write most of my songs from personal experiences but if you are writing with others, a little of their experience can wash over the song too.

 

What can people expect to hear from your EP?

A small piece of my soul cushioned by bass, beats and synths! Gritty, dark, unapologetic pop?

 

What other musicians are you listening to at the moment?

Oh Wonder and Aurora. 

 

Biggest inspiration?

Definitely Ed Sheeran because I love how instantly recognisable his song’s are and how unique his tone is. On a more alternative side, I think Jack Garratt is pushing musical boundaries and his live shows are just on point plus he has the best laugh.

 

What do you have planned for the rest of 2016?

Writing, Gigs, Festivals, Friends, Food and FUN!

 

What is your FAULT? 

Clothes all over the floor… and leaving lids off EVERYTHING!

 

Sody’s EP is out now 

 

FAULT Exclusive Online Interview: The Lapelles

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Scottish five-piece The Lapelles are bringing hope back to Britain’s music industry – or so we think. They’re young, they’re fresh and they’re killing it. Such early days for the band – they’ve only been around for about a year now – and they’ve already scored supporting slots with the likes of The View and The Last Shadow Puppets. Their fanbase is growing more and more each day – they can even call Chloe Grace Moretz a fan now – and it seems that there’s no stopping them anytime soon. FAULT caught up with the group ahead of their supporting slots for Blossoms and The Kooks this weekend and here’s what the boys make of it all.

 

Merely six months ago, you were barely known outside of your hometown. Now, you’ve toured with the likes of Alex Turner and even got Chloe Moretz hooked on your music. Did everything sink in?

Not really. The past few months have been very surreal. A lot of the time we were playing basements and smaller venues in and around Glasgow, it’s quite a jump to go from that to a 2000 capacity theatre.
Up until May we had never even been on a tour before so it’s something we’re slowly starting to get used to!

 

You’ve gone from playing songs by the likes of The View to supporting The Last Shadow Puppets on tour. What did you make of the whole experience?

The past few support slots have been great. It was quite a strange experience as I used to busk a lot of their songs when I was younger; to be playing with them was a whole different level.

 

What’s your story? How did it all come together for you guys so swiftly?

We’ve kind of hit the ground running since the start of this year. Beforehand it would just be a lot of our friends coming to our gigs at Broadcast or The Priory. I think after 2015 more and more people started to become more aware of us and since then word has broken out a lot more. News travels pretty fast in Glasgow!

 

What influences do you each individually bring to the table?

We all have our different influences (Chris is into hip-hop artists like Young Fathers, Jamie is a big Foo Fighters fan, Jack & I are really big Replacements fans, Leon listens to a lot of Two Door Cinema Club and Alt J and I like a lot of surf music) but we meet down the middle with bands like Phoenix, The Vaccines, The Cribs, LCD Soundsystem, Orange Juice and The Jesus & Mary Chain.

 

In an overly saturated industry, how do you plan on making The Lapelles stand out and keep a steady rise to the top?

I think simplicity is the key the majority of the time. If you can write something that is simple and effective at the same time, you end up with something that can really stand out. If you overthink things too much, the whole idea starts to become diluted and completely different from what you originally had in mind.

 

For people who have never heard your music, how would you describe your sound?

Alternative guitar music blended with synth. Like Postcard Records but with a bit more of a bite.

 

What are you currently listening to?

We’ve been listening to a lot of Black Honey in the van lately. I heard about them through Flying Vinyl and have been itching to see them live since!

 

What else is lined up for The Lapelles in 2016?

We’re playing with The Kooks and Blossoms this weekend then a few festivals over the next month (T in The Park, Belladrum, Electric Fields). We’re hoping to release a new song over the upcoming months too.

 

What’s your FAULT?

Procrastinating probably. I get very addicted to Donkey Kong when I’m bored.