Be What You Are

Fay Gauthier – Interview

Saturday 2nd December 2017

Known for films such as Independents’ Day and Against The Grain, Fay Gauthier is also a talented musician who has just released her full length studio album “Firehead.” Being continually influenced by other musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles, the album is categorised as having a Pop vibe with flavours of Jazz, Blues and Spoken Word. Returning from hiatus, the new album reflects upon growing up and self acceptance. Speaking about her latest single from the release “Be What You Are,” Fay says that “You’ve got to learn to be able to shake off rejection without letting it kill your spirit… not everybody is going to “get” you. But I’ve reached the point where I’m okay with that because I’m happy doing my thing for no other reason than it’s my thing. And it’s taken a while to get there.” With much admiration I chat with Fay who tells me more about her journey.

Photo Credit: Mikel Healey

You have quite a background as a well-known actress, and have also been a musician for a number of years now, but what is it about music that made you decide to pursue it as a career? 

It’s the same impetus that drives me to want to act and write, the exploration of the creative process. The thing that’s so wonderful about music though, is that it’s a universal language, so it allows me to make a connection where the written or spoken word may not.

Your upcoming single “Be What You Are” was inspired by a conversation you had with a casting director. Could you tell me more about that?

Sure. I was in an acting class several years ago, and the teacher, who is a Casting Director, was expressing the importance of bringing our authentic selves to the characters we’re inhabiting, as opposed to drawing from some outside source. She literally said, “Be what you are people,” and it stuck, so I made it a song around it.  I think it’s sound advice for life in general.

What was the decision behind going on hiatus, and why did now feel like the right time to come back and put your next album out?

As acting became more of my priority, I set music aside. But I continued to write songs. Then, a couple years ago, I found myself really missing making music and wanting to put more out there. It was a feel thing, and I try to follow my instincts.

How do you feel you’ve developed as a musician over the years?

I feel like I’ve developed as a musician in concert with how I’ve developed as a person. I’m older and I’m more comfortable being myself as opposed to trying to be what someone else is looking for, so the music I’m making now reflects that.

Your album “Firehead” has been released for a few weeks now.  How have you found the response to the release so far?

It’s been great. We’ve had a good response on the college radio circuit. So we’ll try to expand on that now and get some live shows in and around LA to keep building on the momentum. 

How would you say the album compares to your previous material?

The subject material is a bit broader than that of my first CD, which was more about the drama and emotions that I experienced as a single person in my twenties. And the production on Firehead is more in line with my own musical sensibilities, since the Producers I worked with were really keen on collaboration.

The album takes us through your own journey of self-acceptance. How does it feel listening back knowing the songs represent certain periods in your life?

That’s an interesting question. I hadn’t really thought about it. It feels good. You know, I was driving between auditions today, reflecting on my life, almost in disbelief that I moved here fourteen years ago and how much has changed in that time. I live in a beautiful part of the world, met and married a wonderful man, and I’m doing what I love. Life is pretty darn good. And that’s kind of the same perspective I have about looking back at certain periods of my life.  There were rough patches, but all of it led to me being where I am and who I am right now. And I’m grateful for that. 

You mention about reaching a point in your life that realizing being different is fun and embracing that. Would you say you’ve faced struggles along the way, and at what moment did your perceptions change?

My struggles have been really benign in comparison to those of many people, and I’m very aware of how lucky I’ve been. But there have certainly been challenging phases in my life. Embracing and having fun with what makes me different happened gradually. It was a process no doubt assisted by these challenging phases and the introspection that got me through them, but also just from getting older and having more life experience. And I hope my perceptions continue to get challenged and change because that’s an essential part of being human.

Could you tell me about your writing process? Being a solo artist do you have anyone to bounce ideas from, and how do you know when a song is ready?

Well I usually just get inspired by something I read or a conversation. Sometimes in my car I’ll get a musical phrase in my head that sticks, and then I’ll build off of that when I get home. Otherwise I’ll sit at the keyboard and just play around a bit until an idea comes that I can run with. I usually bounce my ideas off my husband, but I like to have them pretty fully developed before I share them. As for when I know a song is ready, it’s just a sense.  But even if I think it’s ready, I’ll put it aside for a bit and then revisit it later just to make sure I still feel the same.

What do you get up to outside of music and acting; are there any hobbies in particular that you enjoy?

I love to get outdoors in nature where I can breathe some fresh air, so I’m a big fan of hiking. I also play some tennis. And right now I’m using an app to learn Spanish.

Connect with Fay Gauthier via her Website, Twitter and Instagram.