Brent Faiyaz on Personal Style and His Upcoming Second Album, Wasteland

Brent Faiyaz is no stranger to the spotlight. Just a day away from releasing his second studio album, Wasteland, the 26-year-old R&B artist already has under his belt a Grammy nomination and collaborations with Drake and Kanye West, along with Tyler, the Creator, whose album Call Me If You Get Lost featuring Faiyaz received a Grammy Award this year. His style, however, is just as noteworthy as his music. Though the heartthrob is American, Faiyazhas an almost Parisian eye: je ne sais quoi, homme edition. It has even landed him spots on the runway. In 2019, the singer closed the Pyer Moss spring 2020 ready-to-wear show wearing an oversized coat, sleek white button-up, and Reebok x Pyer Moss sneakers, of course. Faiyaz was also featured in a Burberry campaign for the same season and remains a fan of the brand. Off the catwalk, his shoe of choice is an old pair of black high-top Chuck Taylors, as pictured on the album art of his third EP, Fuck the World.

For his latest project, the singer is continuing to bring forth his personal style. In photos below by Kenneth Cappello, Faiyaz styled himself in his signature relaxed yet grunge aesthetic. Here, the singer-songwriter tells Vogue about the making of his latest project and how his dad influenced his style.

What does Wasteland mean to you?

It was less of an album process and more of a life process. I just made a collection of songs and tied a story line together once I saw that they all kind of shared a similar theme. I didn’t really realize I was working on an album until I was maybe a little over halfway through. Then I realized, Wait a minute, this is a body of work.

What inspired you during the process?

I was watching a lot of Tarantino films. I was watching Jackie Brown over and over again. I was also watching Vanilla Sky on repeat. I pulled a lot from that. But mostly I was inspired by the different people that I locked in with, from The Dream to Alicia Keys. I was just soaking up game from artists like Raphael Saadiq and No I.D., who have been doing this longer than I have.

What is the most valuable part of your process?

The writing. For me, it’s something different when it comes to lyrics. I think that it touches on when a song moves past just music, in terms of the literature. That’s one thing that people tend to forget about. Music is music, but an actual song is a form of literature too, so it kind of switches mediums. When you actually break down a song and look at it for the writing and the words, it hits differently.

How do you describe your personal style?

I’m definitely big on Japanese fashion. I like pieces that are real relaxed. I don’t like things that are too overstated. I don’t like super-big [monogram looks] or anything too hectic. I like to play with mixing high and low fashion. I might pack some of the most beautiful pieces with only one pair of shoes and be gone for a month.

I can’t do too much performance-wise, just because I wanna be comfortable and move around. The more consistent and uniform it is, the better. I’ve been pulling a lot from my dad. Because he’s older, I’ll look at his personal style from back in his day. He’s a motorhead, so he’s always been very big on Dickies and Carhartt and workwear, and I like utility fashion. But he’s still, like, country club with it too. We always had polo sweaters and polo shirts and knits with bomber jackets and team jackets. So it’s interesting.

How do you define yourself as an artist?

I think honesty is key. As far as how I’m being perceived, I try not to focus on it. I can’t do too much for the simple fact that if I did, I’d drive myself crazy. I just live my own life, and if you fuck with it, you fuck with it. If you don’t, you don’t. I can’t really move any other way when it comes to that, which is a lot of what this project is. I just put together what I felt was a good body of work and what I wanted to create and the story I wanted to tell. These are the emotions that I’ve felt during this time, and I’m gonna just give it.

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