Erika Fatale is a sultry, talented and sensuous pop performer, originally from Chicago but currently living and working in Los Angeles. Despite Erika’s increasingly busy schedule we were delighted when she agreed to complete an in-depth feature interview for Essential Pop. Read on to find out about Erika Fatale’s move to the West coast in 2010, her current pop inspirations and her creative process for creating a track.
Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or a number of genres what would it be?
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
Sultry, dark, glamorous, powerful soulful pop diva with an aggressive modern edge
Q: What is your musical background?
I’ve been singing and performing for a really, really long time now. I knew since the age of 11-12 years old that I wanted to be a pop recording artist and I’ve never wanted to do anything else. It’s so rare to have that strong of a passion for something from such a young age and to never outgrow it. I got my start singing in church doing solos and ensemble things. I sang in choir and performed in show choir and then that quickly escalated to becoming the “National Anthem girl” singing for all the major Chicago sports teams.
I made all the callbacks for the reboot of “Star Search” and was going to perform on the upcoming season before it was cancelled. I performed in tons of Chicago Idol competitions and was lucky enough to be judged by Jennifer Hudson (one of my favorite vocalists) and open for Richard Street from The Temptations. The first major label attention I received was based off of Whitney Houston covers I’d recorded at sixteen years old. That ended up falling through after the A&R who was interested in me left the label before a deal was signed. I really wanted to move to LA right out of high school but my parents were firm on me going to college first, so I actually was a soprano opera major at Northwestern University (I’d never sung opera before!).
Then I had the amazing opportunity of being handpicked by David Foster to perform in concert with him in Chicago. That was really the turning point for me in finally making the move to Los Angeles. It’s definitely been a difficult process filled with lots of disappointments, shady music industry people, the list goes on and on but I have learned SO much over the years and I’m actually so glad that I’m a little older and wiser at this point and know exactly who I am and what I want to do. If it were easy to “make it” then everybody would be doing it!
Q: How was 2010 for you?
2010 was an incredible year for me. I moved from Chicago to Los Angeles and it was my first time writing and recording my own material and discovering exactly who I want to be as an artist. It was amazing to see my vision come alive in the studio and then translating that visually with the look and with the live performances we put together. I’ve met so many wonderful people and have had the opportunity to perform all over Los Angeles, so 2010 has been a year of self discovery and growth. I’ve grown obviously first and foremost as an artist but also as a businesswoman, which is so important in the music business. You have to be extremely confident and have a strong sense of self and vision so people don’t try to take advantage of you. You learn as you go and each experience prepares me a bit more for what’s to come.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
There are so many! Whitney Houston was my biggest inspiration growing up. I remember growing up listening to her tapes over and over again mimicking every vocal run and aspiring to be as great a vocalist as her one day. I was very inspired by all of the pop diva vocalists like Whitney, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Yolanda Adams. A lot of soul music as well like Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway. Michael Jackson was obviously a huge influence for me as well. I’ve always been inspired by vocal power, soul, emotion and translating that to the pop music market.
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
As far as female pop artists go, I really look up to Beyonce. I think she’s incredibly talented and most especially hard working and passionate about what she does. I see a lot of myself in her (Maybe the fact that we’re both Virgos? ) with her work ethic and devotion to her art. She’s an amazing performer, always sings live, and is very creative. I also think Adele is amazing and I love her new album. Katy Perry is dominating the pop world right now too so I definitely look to her in terms of being very creative, always stepping up her game and putting out all of these back-to-back hit records!
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
I would love to collaborate with Beyonce. She’s the queen of pop in my opinion right now and I would love to do a fun, sassy pop diva collaboration with her!
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
I’ve been listening to Adele’s new album a lot, going back to a lot of my old favorites like Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson. Most especially just listening to the newest stuff on the radio. Katy Perry’s E.T. is a guilty pleasure.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
Well, it’s always different. Sometimes I will come up with a title first or a subject matter I want to talk about and start jotting down ideas and lines that turn into lyrics. Sometimes it will be a hook or melody idea first, and then sometimes it’s melody and lyrics together at once. For several of the songs on this demo that I recorded with Peter Stengaard, I would actually sing the first verse and chorus idea I had for a song into Garage Band and send it to Peter and then he would put together a rough production idea that we would build off of from there. It was a cool way of working. The process is always different which keeps things exciting!
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
That’s hard to say because I feel both are so important. The melody is usually what pulls the listener in, but as an artist, the lyrics are the most important to me. It has to be a story that I emotionally connect with so that comes out in my voice when I’m recording. My songs are bits and pieces of my personality that I’m slowly revealing to my audience. I’m always trying to make bold statements and send powerful messages through my music based upon my own experiences. My music is the one place I can be completely honest and raw and that all begins with the lyrics.
Q: Where are you based?
I have been based out of Los Angeles for about a year now
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Chicago is an amazing and beautiful city with so much art, culture, and personality to offer. The people are real and down-to-earth but also the horrible Chicago winters make us Chicagoans strong and able to endure the most difficult of circumstances. (The horrible Chicago winters are the one thing I do NOT miss!) It’s also one of the blues, soul and gospel capitals, which has definitely shaped my sound. Love my hometown!
Q: What are you currently working on?
I’ve put the live performances on hold for now to focus on recording new material to come back bigger and better than ever. I’m about to head into the studio this week to start and I cannot wait!
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Having the amazing opportunity of being handpicked by David Foster to perform in concert with him in Chicago was the biggest opportunity of my career. He is such a legend and has worked with so many of my favorite artists. It has always been a dream of mine to one day work with him so it was an incredible opportunity to sing for him and to be featured during his David Foster & Friends Tour.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
I cannot wait to get back in the studio and record new songs that are uniquely Erika Fatale. Getting into the studio, experimenting with different sounds and creating my own unique niche is something I can’t wait to do and share it with the world and hopefully inspire people along the way.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
The live shows are on hold for now, but several of my songs have received song placements on Showtime’s hit show “The Real L Word” and Oxygen’s “Real Bachelorette Party.” So now you can download “Femme Fatale,” “That Naïve,” and “Whipped” on iTunes, Amazon, all major music retailers, so make sure you get your copy and watch out for the songs on tv this summer!
Q: What do you do to relax?
I live and breathe what I do so it’s very hard for me to relax sometimes and not think about work, but I love hiking in LA, yoga, exploring new parts of the city, visiting art museums, and what girl doesn’t love shopping?
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
I want to thank everyone for all of their support and I can’t wait to share new music with you all soon! Please make sure to join the official Facebook page for all of the latest: facebook.com/erikafatale
Editor’s Note: We’re awaiting Erika Fatale’s new album with intense anticipation. Her glamorous yet aggressive image compliments her music perfectly and we’re waiting for her unique and commercial sound to hit a radio near you soon.
If you’d like to learn more about or contact Erika Fatale. just follow the links below:
twitter link: twitter.com/erikafatale
facebook link: facebook.com/erikafatale
myspace link: myspace.com/erikafatale
soundcloud link: soundcloud.com/enrmusicinc
reverbnation link: reverbnation.com/erikafatale
youtube embeds: youtube.com/erikafatale