Adorable Los Angeles-bred singer Elle Varner is leading the pack of a new generation of young women making their mark on the genre of R&B. She brings her own style to the game, and sets herself apart through her unique tunes. With her single, “Refill,” burning up the singles charts, and her Perfectly Imperfect debut set for August 7th, we catch up with Elle to discuss music, fashion, and what’s in stores for fans on release day.
The latest mixtape, Conversational Lush, was such a diverse project with many different sounds. What were you thinking when putting it together?
Honestly, it came out of nowhere. Everybody was like, “You need to come out with a mixtape.” They gave me like two weeks to get it out. I was like, “What!” I spent over a year making my album [and] you want me to come up with music in like two weeks? I didn’t know what I was going to do, I wasn’t prepared for creation, so I hit up people I knew like Bei Maejor and Justice League — everybody was dope and wanted to get involved. From there, everything started to flow. For “32 Flavors,” it’s always been one of my favorite songs. I sat in with this producer and we came up with this beat and it’s one of my favorites on there.
A personal favorite is “EV,” which seems to be a very personal song. How did you feel your fans could relate?
I think fans relate the most when it’s real. And, in order to be real, you have to be able to put yourself out there and be vulnerable to have that kind of view into your life. That is actually my favorite part about what I do, strangely, using myself as something for people to look at and take something from it. I’m not always going to be doing everything perfect, perfectly imperfect (laughs). I like being a role model and a leader. I think I have a movement going in music and in fashion, I’m really excited about it.
How did you think fans would relate when you first started with mainstream music?
When I first started doing more mainstream music, it was kind of hard to tell. I definitely wanted to have a signature look; I was just out of college, so I was used to wearing sweat pants. Fashion came recently. I wanted to have a look that expresses who I am.
What more can we expect musically, specifically from the upcoming album?
You can anticipate all of my stories, I have some hilarious stories they may not be as funny as WTF (laughs). I’m capturing a moment on these songs, no matter if it’s an emotion of love, or a party I went to, or even my experiences, or one of my thoughts. These are all of my thoughts and secrets captured in one place.
What is the story behind the new single “Refill?”
I wrote it when I was out in Miami pre-gaming, and I was just playing around singing the hook: “Can I get a refill?” I heard the track later and the melody popped back in my head and the word “Refill”. It’s crazy how my mind works, like building a house in my head, maybe 20 or 30 minutes, depending on how long it takes me to write the song. It’s like when you’re walking with somebody and you say, “Bye,” but you’ll are still walking the same way. It’s awkward like that. The song is as simple as that, not knowing when to stop talking to someone. It’s also a form of me using wordplay — I love wordplay, it’s my challenge to myself.
You have a unique style of fashion coming forward, do you plan to make brand out of it?
Absolutely, I want to have my own ready to wear clothing line. I don’t know if I will do high fashion, because I don’t really think that’s my fanbase. I love high fashion, but I want to always keep my brand accessible to the core people, which are a lot of kids, a lot of young women, and adults to. I want girls to go on their first day of school wearing something from Elle Varner line that would be cute.
How do you feel about kids and teens relating to your music?
I think it’s a beautiful thing and every time I see one of them or hear one of them, I just picture myself in my bed listening to TLC, Lauryn Hill, or Alicia Keys and all the artists that just made such an impact on my life at that time.