Krystle Warren & the Faculty
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Krystle Warren & the Faculty

Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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The best kept secret in music


By Timothy Finn
Thursday, June 1, 2006

When she left Kansas City for New York three years ago, Krystle Warren had definite plans: play in nightclubs, busk in the streets and subway stations, arouse some interest in her music and then record an album. When she visits her hometown this week to sing some of her favorite Leonard Cohen songs (see box), she can honestly say she has accomplished all that. Sort of.

Warren's first full-length studio record isn't done yet, but she's close to finishing. Last year, however, she got two cuts onto "New York Subway: Songs From the Underground," a compilation of performances from some of the best buskers in New York.

"When I first moved here," she said last week from her home in New York, "I was busking the hell out of the subways. I met this fellow, a friend of a friend I was playing with, and he asked if I wanted to be on this compilation he was putting together. I said sure. It's been awhile since I've set foot in a subway station, though, unless I'm on my way to a gig."

Sometime this summer Warren, a 2000 graduate of the Paseo Academy of the Performing Arts, will finish "Circle," the album she has been working on since last summer with fellow Kansas Citians Solomon Dorsey and David Matthew Moore. Her producer is Russell Elevado, who engineered, among other albums, D'Angelo's "VooDoo."

Warren describes the album thus: "It's like (Simon & Garfunkel's) 'Bookends' in the way they really pushed that album. It's very ambitious. The melodies are Lennon and McCartney, and the song structures are kind of all over the place. It's an homage to all my indulgences."

Those indulgences have been apparent since she started performing in Kansas City more than five years ago. Back then, her voice and her songs generated comparisons to a variety of performers: Tracy Chapman, Jill Scott, Joni Mitchell, Joan Armatrading, Dylan, Stevie Wonder. She also sat in with a wide variety of colleagues, including Tango Lorca, led by guitarist Beau Bledsoe. She continues to bring diverse flavors of music into her compositions, thanks to colleagues like Dorsey.

"Solomon is really into Brazilian folk music, and there are elements of that in it, too. On one song there's a string quartet that was part of the original Philly sound. They played with the O'Jays. The strings were arranged by Brad Cox, another Kansas Citian. The song's called 'Canyon Lady.' It has a Bollywood/'70s funk thing going."

Some big labels have showed interest in the project already, she said, like Columbia and Epic. She's reluctant to share too many details about the project, though, after learning a hard lesson a couple of years ago when she started working with industry giant Richard Chertoff, who produced Cyndi Lauper and Joan Osborne, among others. Warren ended up severing the deal and suffering for it.

"He ended up wanting more control than I wanted to give," she said. "Maybe I'm just stubborn. It left me pretty jaded for a while." Once her new album is ready, she said, she will "toss it out to the majors and indies who have shown interest."

Her one resolute stipulation?

"I don't want anyone to (mess) with it. The best-case scenario? I end up with a label that gets it, and then I tour the hell out of it."

That's the definition of a clear, firm goal from a woman who's accustomed to making them and meeting them.

(C) Kansas City Star 2006 - The Kansas City Star


2007 - Circles (LP) *coming soon
2005 - Diary (EP)
2004 - II (LP)
2002 - I (EP)


Feeling a bit camera shy


"Music fans looking for something genuinely fresh found it in Krystle Warren, a 23-year-old singer-songwriter from Kansas City whose earthy, intricate songs and dusky singing herald the arrival of an exciting voice in the folk scene..." -Boston Globe

Krystle Warren is a singer/songwriter/poet who stems from the song stylings of the greats who have come before. A glimmer of light as to what's ahead. In short: a vintage clothed prophet with a guitar strapped against her back spreading the word of an age passed tradition that is simply Real. Music.

After buying her first guitar at fifteen, she immersed herself into the song book of Lennon/McCartney, first casting her interest into Rubber Soul, then Revolver, until finding that the sound she made in covers was shaping her own.

Her beginings trail back to Kansas City, Missouri; a city that once upon a time boomed within the freight industry, smoke stacks and the emergence of sixties counter culture. Well hidden but not unknown, the avant-garde artists of the cross roads planted their own time seed, which came into fruition some thirty years later and armed the new reserve with promise.

"I knew a lot of amazing people there," she recounts. "'Quite a few musicians and composers who were really into something new. I performed in a lot of jazz spots when I was about twenty, and met some folks outside of the singer/songwriter sect, which was really helpful in my education in theory. Having split high school and abandoning all the other dreams that were left out for me to take, performing with my peers really gave me a keen sense of what I could do outside of the norm."

In the short two and a half years that Krystle has lived in New York, one can easily say that the "keen sense" she acquired must also be divine intuition. Having fulfilled a dream by performing at the legendary Newport Folk Festival and touring the states with the likes of Martha Wainwright, Zap Mama and Erykah Badu, Krystle’s live shows have been garnishing praise from fans and critics alike. The first recording with her band of like minded folk, The Faculty (the "Diary" ep), will be available in stores by the end of the summer while the band completes it’s first full length album with two time Grammy award winning producer Russell Elevado. Recorded at the fabled Electric Lady Studios in New York over the past twelve months, "Circles" should show the world what this immensely talented songwriter has to offer.

"There are so many recordings, so many people that will never be heard, and it's really overwhelming to accept that. Who knows what's to happen? I don't. I'm extremely lucky that I wasn't completely disillusioned my first three months in the city [New York] and I'm very happy that people can appreciate what we're [Krystle Warren & the Faculty] doing. I don't believe it's really anything new. I mean, we're just reflecting our musical taste. I personally, love classic rock and learned a lot from Brit pop, as well as jazz, R&B - so many styles all stemming from the same thing."