Ro Lafaye – Interview

Singer-songwriter Ro Lafaye of soul and rock band LaFaye is interviewed about her most embarrassing moment, her biggest musical inspiration, friends who have helped her along the way, and much more.

What are some of your earliest musical memories?

The earliest and possibly most embarrassing musical memory is back to my 5th grade year in school. It was my first time being in a school choir. We had to do a performance which required wardrobe changes. We were instructed to wear pants and jacket tops that were easy to pull apart. Well, apparently, I misunderstood the instructions, and I wore my favorite white button up shirt and some regular jeans with my second uniform underneath. (Totally WRONG!)

The task was to wear pull-apart type clothing to change from season to season in the school musical. So, when the moment came to remove the first set of clothing, I was stunned! While everyone else were pulling their outfits off and apart, my shirt, of course, would not rip because of the buttons. So, I kept pulling until a few buttons popped off, but I could never pull the shirt off. My shorts underneath my jeans came down and showed my underwear!

OMG, it was the most terrible experience ever! My siblings joked about me all the way home until my parents realized how embarrassing it was for me and made them stop. Absolutely embarrassing and I will never forget it! LOL!

Who are some of your musical influences?

My musical influences are Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Al Green, Prince, Fantasia, James Brown, India Arie & Mali Music. Each of them are/were amazing vocalists but even better performers!

My biggest inspiration as a performer is Tina Turner. Her ability to beat the odds as the first black female Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and setting records around the world with her music is something that I aspire to do!

I pride myself on creating an experience with each performance. Before my shows and days leading up to shows, I spend a lot of time studying my inspirations & watching them in their element. So passionate. So energetic. So real and raw.

It was a simple time. A time when everyone wasn’t afraid of sharing their stage or even looking out for one another, regardless of anything else

How did you get your start in the Savannah music scene?

I have my best friend, Marleaux Jones, formal member & lead singer of Infallible Funk, the great Laiken Love, of Fellowship of Love & Jawan Mathis of JD Music Group to thank for my start in Savannah. These are all great local performers and bands in Savannah! (Check em out!)

Fresh out of the US Army with the Fort Stewart 3ID Band Rock’n’roll band, on the weekends when I did not have military obligations, I would make my rounds in the city to enjoy the local talent. I have always enjoyed live entertainment.

I would go to Wet Willies for karaoke & of course sing. When I met them there, they were all singing and rocking the house. So naturally when it was my turn, it was no question of what I was planning to do. I sang. Everyone loved it & invited me to their shows and events around the city. From there they would each call me up on the stage during their sets and introduce me to their already established crowds.

It was a simple time. A time when everyone wasn’t afraid of sharing their stage or even looking out for one another, regardless of anything else. I am forever grateful for each of them for what they contributed to my career and I always make a conscious effort to support them when I don’t have a show of my own or simply by sharing their endeavors and shows with folks everywhere.

Talk a bit about your relationship with your bandmates “the fellas,” as you call them …

Goodness! Where to start!? I am the auntie and they are all of my bad, hard-headed nephews! These guys listen to me fuss all day and night, but they know that I mean well. Each of them has a unique dedication to the music and I am so grateful for them all.

I’ve now grown to be able to create relationships with musicians & expand the LaFaye & The Fellas brand into cities including, my hometown Atlanta, Jacksonville, Charleston, Columbia, Charlotte & Houston. I strive to create a relationship and friendship with each of my guys, to build and to keep what we are known for as a band, going strong!

I love my fellas & so thankful for each of them!

Talk a bit about your songwriting process …

Honestly speaking, I am new to songwriting. What I have learned about myself so far is that it varies! Sometimes I can hear a tune and build a melody and other times, songs just come to me out of the blue. Then I immediately go to my record app or notes app and record that tune or lyric right away, because if not, I will surely forget! Its an interesting process that I have learned to embrace.

To perfect my craft, I surround myself with creatives that are better and more experienced than I, to learn all that I can! What better way to learn than from someone that has the accolades and awards to show for their work and that is not afraid to share their stories and struggles with you, all while helping you to succeed in your own career.

You also work for a Prodigious Design company, do you try to incorporate music into the design group, or vice versa?

Of course! Prodigious Designs is an Event Planning & Interior Design company that caters to specific events and businesses looking for one-of- a-kind designs. Our ultimate goal is to first build a relationship beyond them being our “client”, to create a friendship and a bond like no other.

Prodigious Designs was created by two musically inclined individuals. My business partner, Jimond, is not only also a vocalist but producer as well. He once owned a music studio and still regularly creates music when he’s not designing homes. When I released my first single, he played a huge role in my decision to release it and to this day I am not even sure if he knows that!

When were doing events we naturally sing, harmonize and hum tunes throughout the process. It is amazing to have such a great business partner!

Are there any Savannah artists you admire and would love to collaborate with?

OMG so many but I’ll keep it short. I would love to do a song with Danielle Hicks, Ginger, Lyn Avenue.

I do believe that if there were more support than competition that the city could surely take over the coastal region with the amount of talent in the area

What are some of your favorite local venues to perform in?

Some of my favorite places to perform in Savannah are Plant Riverside District, SeyHey on Bull, Barrelhouse, City Market, Alida, and any of the local parks.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the Savannah music scene?

I believe that Savannah has a great music scene. I do believe that if there were more support than competition that the city could surely take over the coastal region with the amount of talent in the area. The musicians are all unique in their own special ways.

Any upcoming projects?

YES! As far as music is concerned, I cannot say just yet, what is on the way, but some awesome things are on the way! I will keep you posted!!
As far as shows is concerned, I have an exciting show coming up in September, where I get the great pleasure of paying tribute to my biggest Idol, Tina Turner. Curated by Zandrina Dunning, producer from Charleston, SC. I have really great expectations for this show, and I am truly honored!

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