Who is Elle Varner? On the surface she’s a stylish girl who rocks a sickeningly gorgeous head of curls, 100 watt smile and a pair of over-sized spectacles—in the cool blipster way of course. But go beyond the surface, and you’ll find a multi-talented 22 year old, who’s embraced—and now celebrating—her imperfections and made them the underlying influence of her music—hence the title of her upcoming album, Perfectly Imperfect.
A 2008 graduate of the Clive Davis Program of Recorded Music at New York University, Varner has been cultivating her musical talents since childhood. The daughter of songwriters Mikelyn Roderick and Jimmy Varner, the Los Angeles native spent a majority of her childhood on the couches of studios, learning how to play the flute at the age of 6, and the piano at 9.
Fast-forward to the present, and her quirky yet sassy musicality has been getting a lot of viral buzz, thanks in part to being named one of BET’s Music Matters featured artists in 2010 and her current smash single, “Only Wanna Give it to You” featuring rapper J. Cole, that has been gaining heat on the Billboard R&B charts. Interested yet? of course you are.
What would you consider your first big break?
My first big break had to be walking into MBK’s office. I really had no idea what the outcome of that would have been at the time. It was just incredible. After that day–a week later, I was at J Records, playing for the label. I was signed immediately. That was a huge break.
New artist typically have to conform to their label’s vision of who they are, have you been allowed to stay true to who you are artistically and personally?
I’ve been very blessed to have a team around me that allows me to be myself. They help me take what’s already there to a higher level. No one’s ever tried to change me, impose this image or this sound. They’ve just let me blossom and be me.
What artist would you compare you sound to?
The closest thing is Lauryn Hill–only because she was the first one to really soulfully take hip hop, storytelling and R&B and mashed it together so well.
**read the rest of the interview here**