Lena Fayre Is A New Sensation

Richly dark, endlessly compelling

Photographed by Kara Smarsh.

We share music because we want to connect with others on a deeper level. We want to relay and relate to a message that can’t be said with just words. This April, NYLON is dedicating six days a week to introducing you to new artists and budding favorites. With interviews and GIF portraits done down at SXSW, NYLON’s Month of Music is an exercise in finding aural pleasures outside of the Top 40. It’s an exercise in challenging you and ourselves to not stick to one genre. But above all, it’s a celebration of bold voices and sheer talent. Enjoy.

The brooding musician has gone from the shadows of the music world to one of the scene's most forward-facing influencers. Singers like BANKS and FKA twigs, foray into their dark sides with lush electronic takes on R&B and piercing, forthright lyrics. The 19-year-old Lena Fayre can count herself among them. Her debut album, OKO, and recent EP, Is There Only One, are dense, dark introspective works that shine in their honesty. For the latter, Fayre put the face of the woman whose boyfriend she was seeing on the cover. Talk about audacity. It's that boldness, though, that makes Fayre so compelling. She's mysterious, but not aloof; enigmatic, but far from undefinable. She's arresting, and one go-around with her music is enough to leave you floored, but thirsting for more.

What song of yours fits the following situations:
Getting ready in the morning?
I would say "Serenity." It's a chill song with a very nice, warm melody that would be a good start to your day. Good posi’ vibes in the morning.

Me time?
There’s a song off of my full-length, OKO, called "I Remember." It’s the only acoustic guitar and vocal song I’ve ever done, but it’s a good song for an introspective moment.

Hooking up?
"I Am A Soul," which is also off my full-length, that I think is weird, and a good song for freaky times.

Can you recall a moment in your life—whether it’s a song, a show, a video—that convinced you, you wanted to be doing music?
I performed at the Troubadour in L.A. about two years ago, and that was a very, very good moment for me—just performing at a really iconic L.A. venue was really cool.

If any artist, dead or alive, could cover your music, who would you want it to be?
Elvis, because that would be incorrect.

Have you ever been starstruck?
Not really, I don’t know. I‘ve been in L.A. my whole life, but I haven’t really seen any celebrities. Actually, when we were getting our passes this year at Southwest, in the convention center, I saw Nardwuar and I like lost my shit. I thought that was so cool because one of my career goals is to get interviewed by Nardwuar. I saw him and I was like, "woah, that’s sick."

At the end of the day, how do you wind down and ground yourself?
I take a bath. That’s, like, the best way to wind down. I like essential oils and Epsom salts, and to watch The X-files or read. I need to take a shower before I go to sleep or else I’ll feel weird.


Photographed by Kara Smarsh.