Last year, after her anthem “No Small Talk” caught the ear of Childish Gambino, Kari Faux’s life changed overnight. Originally hailing from Little Rock (Arkansas), all Kari knew was the molasses-slow South but when Gambino and his manager flew out to visit her, she realized it was time to uproot and move to Los Angeles. She is not the first creative to do something like this and like many before her, she quickly grew lonely. Yes, the city is beautiful and holds incredible opportunities, but what do you do when nothing is familiar and your family and friends are all the way on the other side of the country? Well, she turned the situation into a positive and created a project about it, sharing her vulnerabilities with other transplants through a series of intimate interviews. We talked with her about that [Lela] project, her upcoming album Lost En LA, SXSW, and what’s most important to her at this point her life.
How many times have you been to SXSW?
This will be my third year.
What were your past experiences like?
South By SouthWest is like spring break for rappers.
Do you have any tips for people who are going for their first time?
Don’t try and look cute, you are wasting your time. I learned that the hard way last year, it rained the entire time.
Are you looking forward to see anybody play?
I haven’t looked at any of the showcases, but I would like to see Lil Yachty, I think he is tight. I think that Eryka Badu is playing. I would love to see her.
What to expect from Lost En Los Angeles?
There are a lot of love songs and love-hate songs. It’s a lot more vulnerable than my past work. I never show people that side of me and I think it is good to do.
Where did the Lela Project come from?
That started out with me being super depressed and lonely while living in LA. I would talk to other people who weren’t from Los Angeles but were living there and we all had the same feelings. I wanted to make it for other people who felt this way to let them know that we all feel the same whether it is talked about or not. Being alone isn’t necessarily bad. Just because you are lonely it doesn’t mean you are sad, it means you are alone. I found out from being alone that I fuck with myself so much more! I am growing and I think that it is important to find out who you are before and what you outside of any relationships. I can be by myself and not need to find comfort in other people.
Why record the interviews?
Honestly, I’m lazy as fuck. I started typing them out and realized I had other things to be doing in that time. Lowkey, I also hate reading interviews. You can’t hear the tone of the speaker when you read it. When an interviewer writes in a laugh it’s like oh that was so warm. No, I want to actually hear them laugh. Too many things get misconstrued and misinterpreted when you read it and try to imagine what that person means. So, I just felt that it would be cooler to hear these people and the information in their voices.
How many people have you interviewed?
I have interviewed 15-20 people. I want to do more in different cities. I want to connect with people, even random people and do random interviews.
Do you plan on doing any interviews while at SXSW?
Yeah, I am. I have a lot of free time on the weekend.
Do you think you have become a better interviewee after conducting these interviews?
Yeah, I’m not going to lie I did suck at interviews at first. I am kind of weird and it takes me sometime to warm up to somebody who just comes up to me like, hey, I want to ask you some questions. I think I am getting better at both interviewing and being the interviewee because I’ve convinced myself to relax and not take it too seriously.
How have you seen yourself grow since you started this project?
I have always been really self-aware but now it has become to the point where I am critical of myself and people close to me. To the point that it hurts me but, I like me - a lot! Especially after being super depressed in LA and not having people to connect with. All that had me questioning if I even liked myself. Now, I feel like I am going the right direction of finding myself.
Do you think that you are balanced and focused?
For one, I am definitely not balanced and I have the strangest focus. I am a very determined person but also very impulsive too. When it comes to my focus I don’t have one goal, that I am trying to complete. Everyday I am like I want to do this or I should try that. I am kind of all over the place but I know I can do it. When it comes to me being balanced, I like freak out everyday. I am one of the most neurotic people I know and it’s bad [laughs].
What is the most important thing to you right now?
Honestly man, to be real, it’s my family. Like, I know I should be focused on becoming a bigger artist, making better music and making more art but, my family is so important to me. I didn’t even know that until I moved back home. They are there for me no matter what and I just want to make sure that they are okay emotionally and mentally
See Kari Faux live today at our showcase w/ We Are Cliche, the first all-female showcase in SXSW history!