Krystle Warren and The Faculty

Krystle Warren and The Faculty

BandPopAdult Contemporary

Hearing her fill a crowded club without using a microphone: now that’s a VOICE, every bit as classic and rich as that of Wonder or Hathaway. But it's her songs that set her apart -- unpretentious, folky, earthy, poignant and real. That's Krystle Warren.

Biography

Seeing Krystle Warren perform for the first time is a striking experience. First, there is the utter improbability of it all: she shuffles onstage with little more than a low-key hello, and proceeds to sing with an effortless power that completely belies her tiny frame. Hearing her fill a crowded club without using a microphone … that’s a Voice. And then there are her vocal stylings, which feature a melisma as rich as that of Wonder or Hathaway, but put all of that technique at the service of music that has never heard such a thing – folk and country, songs influenced by everyone from Nick Drake to Joni Mitchell to Willie Nelson. But when you’ve gotten past the incongruities, you quickly begin enjoy her for what she is – a wholly original singer-songwriter-poet in an age of few.

One would expect, judging from Krystle’s honeyed voice and sophisticated lyrics, that she’d come from a long line of professional musicians, but that isn’t the case. Born and raised in Kansas City, music was casual in the Warren home, from her grandmom’s eight track tapes to the lullabies her family sung around the house, to a brief and much-hated stint in the church choir. She herself remembers starting to sing at the age of four, but it wasn’t until she saw an ABC special on The Beatles at age 13 that she really became passionate about learning and performing music. Krystle learned her first chords by ear from Rubber Soul and Revolver, and her musical horizons quickly expanded to include grunge (Smashing Pumpkins and Soundgarden), classic Brit Pop (The Kinks, The Who, The Faces) and even jazz, in particular Betty Carter, Nina Simone, Kurt Elling and even Mel Torme. With these diverse influences, it wasn’t surprising that she quickly developed a sound of her own.

At 17, Krystle took her fledgling songwriting skills out into KC’s thriving counterculture, befriending numerous avant-garde artists, from painters to street poets to singers, who gave her the support to move forward with her music. "I knew a lot of amazing people in Kansas City," Krystle recalls, “quite a few musicians and composers who were really into something new. Though I started in the singer/songwriter scene, I began performing in a lot of jazz spots when I was about twenty, and those folks were really helpful in my education."

While Krystle never perceived a glass ceiling on what she could accomplish musically in the Midwest, she did feel a growing wanderlust. “I could have gone anyplace, Austin, San Francisco; it didn’t matter much to me. I just wanted to see something new, and somehow that place was NYC. I did choke up a bit leaving KC -- I’d never lived anywhere else. My very first night in NYC was thrilling, but after crashing on numerous couches in the West Village, I began to feel like I was in over my head.” Krystle eventually fell in with some jazz musicians, moving into their apartment in Harlem. This was one of many collaborations, and within a year Krystle had met the musicians who were to form the core of her steady band, The Faculty.

With The Faculty on board, Krystle’s live shows have been garnishing praise from both fans and critics alike, and she’s toured the US with artists ranging from Martha Wainwright to Zap Mama, from Rodrigo & Gabriela to Erykah Badu. Warren also recently had the opportunity to fulfill a dream by performing at the legendary Newport Folk Festival. “The best part of Newport, other than playing, was the backstage community – at one point I was standing next to Elvis Costello and Diana Krall, watching Bright Eyes perform! Another high point was when I was missing a guitar strap, and Emmylou Harris’ manager came over and offered me her guitar strap.”

The debut EP by Krystle Warren & The Faculty, Diary, is available now. The band is also finishing their first full-length album, recorded with two-time Grammy-winning producer Russell Elevado. Recorded at the fabled Electric Lady Studios, the upcoming LP will be out in 2008 on Because Records. “The main difference between Diary and the new LP is the amount of time spent. Diary was recorded quickly, but with Circles I was able to make a much more polished record. It’s seductive to produce, especially someone like me who’s such a big Rufus Wainwright head! I love fleshing out arrangements and molding a concept. Plus we recorded everything analog, so the texture of the music is thick, almost a Steely Dan sound.”

In the meantime, Krystle can be found on a mic somewhere in NYC a few times a week, doing what she does best. “Who knows what's going to happen?” she says of her forthcoming record releases. “I sure don't. I'm extremely lucky that I wasn't completely disillusioned by my first three months in New York and now, watching my audiences grow, I'm even more happy that people seem to appreciate what I’m doing. I mean, I’m just playing what I love. Brit pop, classic rock, as well as jazz and R&B -- so many styles that all stem from the same thing."

Discography

Diary (2007 / Velour)
New LP due in 2008 (signed by Because, home of Manu Chao and Amadou & Miriam)

Set List

Varies depending on needs, typically 50 - 75 mins of original material. Advance with management.