Q&A: singer-songwriter Fader Lima
360°Sound caught up with singer-songwriter Fader Lima. Born in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in Haiti, the 37-year-old has lived in Miami since 2005. An Army veteran, Fader has been writing and recording dance music professionally for over for a decade. In 2012, her cover of The Cranberries’ “Zombie” was featured in VIBE magazine’s 5 Indie Artists That Need to Be on Your iPod. “There’s something magical about this brooding song,” read the article.
Fader’s biggest song to date was “Frozen Fireworks,” produced by DJ No Mana, who is signed to EDM star Deadmau5’s Mau5trap label. Her latest single “SEa-THEr” was released last month.
360°: Please start by telling us a little about your music.
Fader: I like music that is very light and always makes you feel good. I think there are enough people who can focus on specific subjects, but I generally try to be a little more abstract and have more of a universal feel as far as my writing. I’m very into dimensions and all that stuff. I love that aspect of life. I’ve been singing since I was a young child. I’m very independent, and I release music when I feel good about it. I’ve written over 100 songs, but I’ve released probably 20-25 over the last 10 years or so.
Do you have plans to release an album or EP?
I’m very singles-oriented. I haven’t felt the need to complete an album. I think every song expresses itself on its own. There’s a lot to be said for albums. They’re very clear expressions. But I just haven’t decided to focus on them.
Your new single “SEa-THEr” has a chill, alternative R&B kind of vibe, whereas a lot of your past music was more upbeat and dance-oriented. Is this a new musical direction for you?
It’s ethereal pop, I guess. I love electronic music. But I think if you were to take dance music and soften it, then you would get stuff like that. I shot the [music video] in Hollywood Beach [Florida], in between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. It was nice. It was actually like the first weekend after the beaches opened after coronavirus, so I had to get in there and get out [laughs].
Were you doing much performing prior to the pandemic?
I’m actually more of a songwriter. It’s really my main focus. I like to sing and do my own little thing. Performing just comes across every once in a while, if I have something interesting like an event. I’m really working on music licensing and publishing. That’s where I really enjoy my space.
Licensing has been a way for recording artists to earn a living, especially now that they can’t perform. Are you looking for opportunities to place your songs? Like in TV shows?
That is what I’m exploring now. I think that’s most important. I like to keep things calm and relatively chill. I like to be really free about whatever it is I want to do when I want to do it. Music licensing and publishing allows for that more than if you had to perform all the time everywhere. I’m working on it actively.
Eurodance got really big in the ‘90s with artists like Haddaway, La Bouche and Ace of Base. Were you into that music growing up?
I was. I totally loved all of that. Real McCoy, Crystal Waters, all that stuff. Those songs were beautiful. There was so much, and it was actually really pure. I had finished 5th grade in Haiti and then I moved to St. Louis for five years and back to Haiti to do my last two years of high school. In those five years, it was definitely a shock to my system when I heard all those songs. I was so excited.
Does songwriting come pretty easy to you?
Honestly, I try not to write things that I don’t like because I think it’s a waste of time to force yourself to write. Every once in a while, it happens. But, generally, if I don’t get anything from it, I’ll move on and find something that fits my fancy. Songwriting comes fairly easy for me. It’s more innate than a learned thing. I’m grateful for that.
If I know I want to do write something sometimes it can be done in a day. Most of the time I take a couple of days because I like to really focus on the melody and transitions. While I’m working on the transitions, that’s usually where the words come. As I start to pick out the words, I’ll stop listening to the song and just fill everything out as I see fit. I’ll go over it and over it, probably close to a thousand times, and then have an end product.
I usually prefer to have a track or a beat before writing the song because it’s all about caressing the beat. If you write the song lyric first and try to place it around the music, it can be a little difficult as far as how much your music seeps into the actual track. I like to have a complete track, and then I’ll have the mood, idea, and everything for the song. I’m what you call a completist. I like everything to be done. Give it to me and I will give it back to you done. Unless we’re at the very end and there are little tweaks that need to be done.
Anything you’d like to add for your fans?
I’m going to be releasing more videos. I always tell people, ‘May the flow be with you.’ Relax. It’s not as serious as we think that it is. If you can just calm down and move with the current, you’ll find that you have less resistance and that everything actually falls into place. And what you think you want is not what you actually want, so try to just focus on alignment. If you just focus on alignment everything is what it’s supposed to be.
Editor’s Note: The following “Uncle Thomas (Remix)” video is based on the ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ sequence from the 1956 film ‘The King and I,’ which Fader said is her all-time favorite musical.