When discussing Elle Varner’s dimensions let’s keep the focus on what’s most important. That, of course, would be her many musical talents. A graduate of NYU’s elite Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Varner’s a noted singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. Grammy-nominated and winner of the Soul Train Award for Best New Artist in 2012, she’s been hailed as one of the most compelling artists of this current generation.
Varner took the music industry by storm with her critically and commercially acclaimed debut album, 2012’s ‘Perfectly Imperfect’. Five years later her fans are still highly anticipating her yet-to-be-released sophomore follow-up. With just the one LP on her resume, impressively Varner continues to book sold out concerts.
LiquidAE.com caught up with Elle Varner to discuss what to expect from her next LP and more. Enjoy!
LiquidAE.com: Elle, what’s your philosophy as a producer?
Elle Varner: Less is more. As a producer you want to let the song live. When I’m writing songs and when I’m producing something I always ask, “Can this song stand alone?” Is it good enough that if I just play it on a piano or just on a guitar, or even really a cappella, will it still be as impactful? When you go from there you’re really just adding ambiance. You’re adding colors and depth. Your meat and potatoes is the song.
LiquidAE.com: That makes sense. You don’t want to make a good dish too salty.
Elle Varner: Right! It’s like cooking! You don’t want to put in a whole thing of pepper and every spice in the cabinet. You want a little bit of this and a little bit of that. You don’t want to overwhelm its natural flavor.
LiquidAE.com: That was a good analogy.
Elle Varner: Thanks! That’s kind of my thing.
LiquidAE.com: All this talk of food and keeping it simple makes me want a steak.
Elle Varner: And what’s the best steak? As simple as can be with salt and pepper. That’s the best steak.
LiquidAE.com: Your next album is like a big steak on the grill. Everybody’s hungry for it, and they’re eagerly awaiting it to come off. As its chef will it showcase all your cooking skills and knowledge of flavor?
Elle Varner: Abso…freaking… Well, I want to say abso-f***ing-lutely. I’m so serious about my artistry. As an artist I have to show what I’m capable of. I think of an artist like Ed Sheeran. I can see myself as that type of artist on the radio with an acoustic song. I could totally do that.
LiquidAE.com: People often talk about how talented you are, and how great of a singer you are. They do the same with your appearance. People mention how nice you dress. You’ve been on prettiest women lists. They share your photos, which are often very artsy and colorful. Would you say you have a defined style?
Elle Varner: I think my style is… I’m just unique in an avant-garde kind of way. With my songs and the way I dress I like to stand out. Even when I don’t try to stand out I tend to. I learned that at a young age, and I embraced it. I just added a little flair to it.
LiquidAE.com: Was accessorizing something you learned, or is that something that you leave up to a stylist?
Elle Varner: Honestly, at this point, I let the stylists handle that. I’ve been blessed to work with creative people in the fashion world who make great choices for me.
LiquidAE.com: Do have a stylist you enjoy working with the most, one who you feel makes you look the best?
Elle Varner: Everybody I’ve worked with has been incredible. I’m working with a young team right now and they really get it. Having worked with veteran stylists, and young up-and-coming stylists, Vivienne Westwood is one of them I really like.
Elle Varner: Well… In the Black community my figure is quite appreciated. I’m aware that I’m thick. Every time someone sees… I don’t take pictures that focus on my butt, so when people see me they’re like, “Oh, s**t! I didn’t know she had that!” I don’t show it off. I guess I’m really, really old fashioned. My true fans know. They’ve followed my journey. I’ve posted pictures when I was 200lbs. I was teased, and bullied, and laughed at. I never thought I’d be called pretty one day. But it’s what God chose for my path. I think it’s allowed me to see the inner beauty in myself and others. I want my physical appearance to look nice, but it can’t all be contingent on beauty. Above all I focus much, much more on my music. | By Mr. Joe Walker, produced by The Liquidation Committee
Liquid Arts & Entertainment is committed to presenting engaging conversations with top artists. We hope you enjoyed this interview with Elle Varner.
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