With the advice of Mr. Donald Glover, Kari found herself packing up everything she had in Little Rock, Arkansas and moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. While the story of packing up your life and moving to the big city to pursue your dreams isn’t atypical, Kari said she made the move to learn about the business, not out of desperation.
“Donald [Childish Gambino] taught me to not be desperate. Don’t be desperate for anything,” she said. “Because once you make one desperate move, then you’ll make 10 desperate moves.”
After releasing her debut album Lost En Los Angeles, Kari has her sights set on collaborating with the industry’s most underrated duo – Rae Sremmurd.
“I want to make a song with Rae Sremmurd,” she said. “I love them. They make dope songs.”
During our time with Kari, she revealed what it was like growing up in the “mid-south,” being adopted, and hating high school.
Read our conversation with Kari below.
GlobalGrind: Most people came to know you when Childish Gambino remixed your song “No Small Talk.” How did you develop a relationship with him?
Kari Faux: Basically, my manager Fam. He found “No Small Talk” through my co-producer Malik’s Soundcloud. He heard the song and reached out to Malik like, “Hey, we’re going to send this to Donald. We may do a remix.” We hung out a few times before anything happened and then he remixed the song. He put it on his mixtape and then invited us to move out to L.A. He cuffed us. I appreciate it a lot. I get to learn about the music industry and the business at the same time.
What was it like growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas?
It’s a small city, but it‘s cool. There’s not too much going on there, but they’re definitely trying to build up the economy. For a long time, Arkansas and Mississippi were the poorest states in the country.
I actually watched an HBO documentary about Little Rock Central High School.
Yeah, that’s the high school I went to. It was a cool school, pretty prestigious, because it’s actually a national landmark. It was pretty diverse when I was there, because most White kids go there or private school.
What kind of student were you?
Um, a terrible one [laughs]. My mom used to be so mad because my principal used to always call her. I went to church with one of my principals and he used to always call my mom.
School is not for everybody.
The structure is stupid. It’s not that I don’t like learning; I just don’t like the prison-like structure of school. I didn’t get it. I was hella in the mix, but I learned a lot of stuff. I just never did my homework.
Did you know you wanted to pursue music when you were in high school?
Yeah, I started making music in high school. When I was 16, my friend at the time had a set up at his house and he stayed right up the street from my grandma. After school we used to walk up to his house and just make music and put it on Facebook. It was a local thing. That’s how I met my co-producer Malik – on Facebook.
Who did kids in Arkansas identify with musically?
We used to think we were the Hot Boys [laughs]. We listened to a lot of Texas music, Outkast, Memphis’ Three 6 Mafia, MJG, 8-Ball. Oh, and then there was a whole St. Louis wave with Nelly. We were influenced by everybody around us. People still wear tall tees, Dickies pants, and Air Forces.
Was it hard being different in Little Rock?
It used to be. It used to be like, “You like White people stuff.” I’m like, “No, this isn’t White people stuff. Cut it out.” Now, you see the average hood dude trying to be different, because that’s what the girls like. Girls like dudes who are different. People are opening up to more stuff because living in a small box, you miss out on a lot.
Kari’s your real name. How did you come up with Faux?
I had incidents with girls who I used to be cool with who always wanted me to do things that I didn’t want to do. I eventually got to a point where I was like, “No, I don’t want to,” and their reaction would be “Ugh, you’re so fake.” So then I just started calling myself Kari Faux.
Are you still friends with those girls?
No. They’re still friends with me, though [laughs]. They still support. Shout-out to them.
How was your family life?
I was adopted when I was two years old. I actually look like my adopted mom and my real mom. It’s kind of weird.
What’s your relationship like with your real mom?
I talk to her from time to time. She called me the other day like, “How you been? Are you pregnant?” I was like, “No.” She was like, “Oh ok, just making sure.” My biological brother just had a kid and she wanted to make sure that all of her kids weren’t out here having kids and making me a grandma. When I talk to her it’s….it’s eh, I don’t know. She feels like it’s her fault that she didn’t get to keep me. She had my brother when she was 16 and me when she was 18. She feels like it’s her fault because she didn’t get to keep me and that she did me a disservice, but I had a great life. She hasn’t forgiven herself, but I already forgave her. She has to do that healing on her own.
Did she give up your older biological brother?
No, so that’s where the guilt comes in like, “I kept one of my kids and not the other.” She thinks I’m mad at her and I have to tell her, “No, I’m OK.” It makes me mad. I just want her to let it go.
The guilt is overwhelming.
Yeah, it is. And I’m a girl, so it’s too much for her sometimes. I’m grateful for everything.
Check out Kari’s Soundcloud here.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ibra Ake