Ones to Watch: Sonder's Brent Faiyaz
Brent Faiyaz, Sonder frontman, is gifted with the ability to see past convention; he promotes the perfect balance of imperfection and forces us to feel. Today he gifts us his latest single, Fuck the World (Summer in London), a sonic protest to a highly polarized world.
“It’s me talking about my woes versus talking about those wow’s,” Faiyaz further develops, “[I’m] balancing the shit that you’re not happy about, but also speaking about the lust and the shit that you enjoy.”
An enigmatic persona and extremely charismatic singer and songwriter, Faiyaz’s lyrics have the innate and unique ability to be simultaneously sultry, invasive, and nourishing all at once. Taking his first steps alongside a group of multifaceted creatives, Brent self-started his own independent record label. Lost Kids, as he sees it, is more than just a name: “it’s a way of life.” With the release of 2016 debut EP, A.M Paradox, the Baltimore-native was propelled to relocate to the West Coast, where he’s been actively collaborating with others that defy the norm.
In 2017, the raw, and rugged R&B trio, Sonder, comprised of Faiyaz’s sugary vocals and the future-forward atmospheric production of Soulection producer’s, Dpat and Atu, took the world by storm with Into. Around the same time, Faiyaz’s contribution to DMV-native, Goldlink’s, single ‘Crew’ landed him his first Grammy nomination.
Making himself known at a global scale while maturing alongside his craft, Fayaiz’s follow-up solo projects, Sonder’s Son and Lost, highlight the furthering and expansion of his perspective of the world and increased self-awareness. “I gotta keep learning,” Brent shares. He’s not about to let his accomplishments get in the way of setting the bar even higher than before. “People be like ‘drop new music, drop new music, drop new music’…It’s not like that.”
In a world that’s continually racing against the clock, Faiyaz understands that taking a step back and ‘feeling’ are often the best tools you can arm yourself with. “I feel like there is a lot of frustration going on in the States right now and that it is important for people to have some music that allows them just to feel.”
In accordance, the all-around creative has taken the time to discover other facets of himself through different mediums. “Fashion is my new baby,” he shares enthusiastically, “I want to create clothes from scratch.” Having recently starred in Paco Rabanne’s latest perfume campaign, the singer-songwriter shares that he has been learning alongside his global network of artists and creatives on how to set this plan to motion.
Over the past couple of weeks, there were hints here and there suggesting that new music could be in the works; during our conversation and with today’s release, Faiyaz has confirmed. Last month, he threw us back to the 2018 release, Trust, as we took a daydream trip across New York with his new video. He opened up about his personal connection with the city, and how his path crossed with Harlem’s very own, A$AP Ferg. (Spoiler alert, before the end of this month we should expect a collab between the two.) Veteran producer, No I.D., and Faiyaz will also be dropping a new track by the end of the year.
For now, we’re just happy that we were blessed with today’s release. Faiyaz’s penmanship takes a headier approach, adequately punctuated by the tracks shapeshifting, multi-layered muddled vocals, sparse sonics, and minimal production. The single’s murky slowed-out tempo and hazy sound bites are evocative of a post-midnight session. Fuck the World (Summer in London) is the perfect soundtrack for when you wanna sit down and chill out — allowing for thoughts to come and go, to bring you back to focus, relax, and embrace the perfect imperfection that one is.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Jamie A. Waters
PHOTO ASSISTANT: Karen Ftouni
LIGHTING: Luca Monteregge
STYLIST: Sean Baker Hunter
Stay tuned to Milk for more Ones to Watch.