[Photo courtesy of Falon Sierra’s Facebook]
Falon Sierra, a local, alternative R&B singer, is riding the wave through the Seattle music scene after coming in second place at MoPOP’s Sound Off! competition. After moving around the country, she finally found her roots in Seattle. Since she can remember, Falon Sierra was singing. Growing up, she dabbled in musical theatre and then sports, as one does, and thankfully ended up singing in high school, eventually leading to the creation of her music that’s graced our ears. Sierra has released an EP, Beauty in Danger, and two singles, “Mr. Prez” and “EXPECTATIONS.” Now, she’s ready to sing at KXSU’s QSTOCK28 Stage this Saturday, May 20, 2017. In a coffee shop with music that was way too loud, I sat down with Falon Sierra to discuss her rising career, not knowing that her words would speak volumes to me.
EP: How did you get started creating a presence in the Seattle music scene?
FS: My friend CALL, he’s a rapper, he got me into this other guy named Lucy Christo, who’s a really amazing producer and engineer. Once me and CALL did a song, me and Lucy started working together a lot. I had kind of done open mics when I was sixteen or seventeen, so I knew a little bit of people, but never did my own music. I only did covers. So, when I met Lucy, like two years ago, I actually started writing my own music and CALL would take me to shows with him. I don’t know I just met people. Then, Sound Off! helped me a lot to get bigger shows; people kind of noticed that I was in Sound Off! and asked me to do stuff.
EP: Where or what do you draw inspiration for your music from?
FS: Definitely whatever I’m feeling. It doesn’t even matter if it’s a crazy feeling or if I’m like “f you” to somebody or I love somebody! I don’t know I just write what I feel. If I like a beat, I’ll write to a beat. I don’t even know where it comes from!
EP: I was listening to your song “Mr. Prez.” Is it often that you draw inspiration from what’s going on in the political atmosphere?
FS: That was the first political thing I’ve ever done. It was weird because I was sleeping one night and I literally heard like a bomb outside and it woke me up. I don’t know if it was gunshots, but it sounded much more than gunshots. So, that was in my head and the next day, he was doing his inauguration or something and I don’t know I just wrote. I got a cool beat and I was like I should speed this up and I just wrote.
EP: Do you have any musicians that you draw upon?
FS: Definitely Sizza, Jhene Aiko, Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse times a thousand, I love her so much. Even a little bit of Beyoncé. She’s cool, she does a lot of stuff. Rihanna, too. They’ve both done a lot of styles throughout their career. I think a lot of people like their music because they do so many different things. I want to try and be like that; that’s so cool.
EP: Speaking of which, a lot of artists lately, like Frank Ocean for example, are pushing the boundaries and definitions of genre. What genre would you consider yourself, or do you feel you have one at all?
FS: I usually say alternative R&B, just to kind of put that alternative in front to make it unlimited. I feel like my sound is R&B when I sing, I don’t know if my songs are, but my sound is, so I usually just say alternative R&B.
EP: You released your EP, Beauty in Danger, in August of 2016. How has your career changed or feel different, now that you’ve released a complete project?
FS: It feels weird now. Sometimes I feel like people don’t even listen to Beauty in Danger; they just listen to my other two songs. I’m so over that EP; it’s so in the past now. I feel so different now. I feel so little there.
EP: How has winning second place at Sound Off! affected your career so far?
FS: People reach out to me more. People want to give me beats; they want me to do shows. They ask me to come to random events and sing, even people want interviews and nobody was asking me that stuff before. I think people are really interested in Sound Off!, so that’s really cool. I had a friend in high school who won it, and he won two years before me. Then I saw him at Bumbershoot and I was wondering how he got a slot! Then, my mom was doing research and I signed up and I made it. I think it’s the only Seattle thing for young people to get you boosted up.
EP: How was doing a live session with KEXP?
FS: That was so awesome! I was really scared! I wish I could redo it; I was so nervous, but it was crazy. Now they play my songs sometimes, so it’s super weird. I feel like things are moving fast, but kind of slow at the same time. I’m kind of riding the wave. KEXP was awesome, I hope I can go back again!
EP: How do you deal with criticism of your music?
FS: If it’s constructive criticism I’ll definitely take it and think about whatever that person said. I’ll try it out and see if it works for me. But if someone just tries to be blatantly mean, then I can’t pay attention to that. I don’t have time for that.
EP: I feel like young artists like yourself can be more adapt to stop doing what they’re doing because of criticism.
FS: Yeah, I mean so many people have different opinions, but if you want to do something you just have to do it.
EP: How do you feel about being a part of the KXSU Stage at QSTOCK28 this year?
FS: I’m hella excited. I’m so happy you guys asked me! It’s another one of those weird, unbelievable things. I’m so nervous for it, but I’m happy. I’m going to do my best.
EP: What goals do you have for yourself moving forward as a musician, and as a person?
FS: For every show I do, I want to have a next step. I want to have a plan. Right now I feel like I’m just riding the wave. I need to get my stuff together and get things in order. My biggest goal is maybe in a year to headline a show. Hopefully to sell out, nothing huge just maybe a small, local venue. It would be cool to get everyone I know out there and do a lot of promo and just make it amazing, spectacular. That’s what I’m hoping to do.
EP: I know for younger artists there’s a sense of urgency to accomplish a lot, and at a young age, especially with social media and being able to see young people instantly become successful. Do you ever feel that urgency for success?
FS: Yes, I feel that way a lot, but I’ve also done a lot, too. I don’t want to push myself too much. Some people started early or met the right person or made the right move. Hopefully things will fall into place. Everything’s been so good, how could I not be happy?
Check out Falon Sierra on the KXSU Stage at the Seattle University Union Green at QSTOCK28 this upcoming Saturday, May 20, 2017.
ERIN PHELPS | Riding Falon’s wave | KXSU DJ Guest Repor