It’s a fine line to walk, carving out your niche in indie folk. Get it wrong and you could risk sounding boring and predictable. Get it right and you could distil emotional complexity into intricate and soulful ballads. Fortunately for homegrown indie singer Vanessa Faith, she’s got it right.

After competing in the Singapore Noise Apprenticeship and bagging the “Best Singer-Songwriter” award at the Originals Only Open Mic, an initiative of Singapore Art Café in November 2010, Vanessa’s talent was just beginning to get recognised.


Her debut Extended Play (EP), Inner Voices, released last July, boasts of dreamy soundscapes accompanied by a mix of unfamiliar — but not unpleasant — sounds.

What separates this 24-year-old crooner from the rest of her musical counterparts is exactly this: her penchant for introducing new instruments and sounds in her songs.

“I like experimenting with new instruments. If I find something I like, and it fits the song that I’m writing, I’ll add it in to make it my own,” Vanessa explains. “From the harmonica to the xylophone, pretty much everything was recorded live.”

To Vanessa, making music doesn’t mean remaining within her comfort zone. One of the songs in her EP, “Green-Eyed Monster”, is a testament to Vanessa’s open-mindedness and spontaneity as a musician.

“My friend, who’s also the sound engineer, needed to label the mixer with a roll of masking tape. He tore the tape, and it made a sound. We were like, ‘Hey! This fits the song!’ And so we decided to incorporate it into the track. It was a total accident!”


For any indie folk fan, it’s easy to hear that Inner Voices is an impeccable combination of both reflection and inspiration. Vanessa doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve. Instead, she expresses her emotions through the heartfelt songs she pens.

“As I grew older, I became more reflective,” she shares. “My songs are a compilation of things that I actually want to tell people — unspoken messages, or things that I find hard to express through just words alone. There have been certain life experiences that have caused me to reflect and come up with some kind of conclusion about it.”

Just from the conceptualising of the EP to the recording alone, it took this chanteuse almost a year to see her labour come to fruition. Behind all the glitz, Vanessa admits she did not exactly have a smooth-sailing time. Funding, especially, proved to be a stumbling block.


“I just graduated from school then, so money was the main problem. I didn’t have much, but it helped that I had friends who were willing to fork out money to help me. It was kind of a loan, so I spent the first year of working just repaying debts.”

Her tenacity in wanting to share her music has earned her wonderful opportunities that other musicians only wished they had. In a joint collaboration with Starbucks last September, Vanessa wowed crowds at seven different Starbucks outlets with her clarion voice and moving lyrics.


Photos courtesy of Vanessa Faith, Original Intent Creatives, and OMS Media.c

According to her, the best thing about being a musician is meeting new people and new faces every time. When the going gets tough, being active in a community with existing musicians also gives her strength.

Being a musician entails so many perks, but what is the icing on the cake for her?

Vanessa says, “I guess it’s to see people enjoy what I do. When I perform, we’re actually celebrating me for being me, and them for being them. I am such a huge believer in how unique we all are as individuals, and that we have to come to a point where we discover our true selves and not try to be someone else.”

Vanessa is not resting on her laurels just yet. Occupied with a full-time job, she can only write songs at night.

“Hopefully by the end of this year, I’ll get to put out another EP or album again!” quips an optimistic Vanessa.