LA’s Vicky Farewell dives into her intoxicatingly soulful debut album ‘Sweet Company,’ a smoldering and sweetly hypnotizing affair that holds true to its name as a lush, dazzling, and immersive soundtrack to inner connection.
Stream: “Kakashi (All of the Time)” – Vicky Farewell
I didn’t have a sound for the longest time, and finally in the midst of a global pandemic, I had found it.
A smoldering and sweetly hypnotizing affair, Vicky Farewell’s debut album is a lesson in the magic we can make when we stop worrying, doubting ourselves, and overthinking things; when we trust in our guts and let instinct and impulse take part in the creative process. Radiantly free-flowing and intoxicatingly soulful, Sweet Company holds true to its name as a lush, dazzling, and immersive soundtrack to inner connection. It’s record that pulls back the covers on isolation and solitude; rather than dwell in lonely depths, Farewell instead basks in the beauty, joy, and tranquility of being alone, in the company of one.
My dear Kakashi, nobody gets me like you, oh no
my tomodachi you care about me, I know you wanna see me again
I can go anywhere and you’ll always be there right beside me
I just want you to know that the world’s all aglow when you’re near me
my pretty baby
All of the time, got me thinkin bout you thinkin bout you
all of the time, can’t stop wondering what you wanna do
all of the time, can’t stop thinkin bout you thinkin bout you
all of the time, don’t know what I would do without you
My dear Kakashi, my one and only
don’t you forget me, my tomodachi
– “Kakashi (All of the Time),” Vicky Farewell
Released April 8, 2022 via Mac’s Record Label (owned by Mac DeMarco), Sweet Company is so much more than a happy face sticker on a sad situation: It’s a record about loving yourself, coping with life’s lows, and finding comfort in silence.
It’s also a massive step into the spotlight for Vicky Farewell, a Los Angeles-based music industry veteran with an impressive resume that spans artists from Mac DeMarco and Mild High Club to Anderson .Paak; Farewell has writing credits on both .Paak’s GRAMMY-nominated album Malibu (Best Urban Contemporary Album) and his GRAMMY-winning album Ventura (Best R&B Album).
Despite her wealth of experience, this past January’s melancholy, funk-fueled “Are We OK?” marks the first time anyone had heard Vicky Farewell on her own.
I’m losing my mind one day at a time
nothing’s the same and love is to blame
I don’t even know about you, so tell me
Are we OK? Ooh baby is it OK?
I just don’t know what to say
if you’re ready to go let me know
cause I just don’t know what to say
if you wanna let go let me know
“I always knew deep down I’d become a solo artist, but honestly, I hated everything I made, so I shut that door for a decade and worked on other people’s projects, helping anywhere I was needed,” the classically-trained pianist, songwriter, and producer tells Atwood Magazine. “When the pandemic hit, I reluctantly reopened that door, but this time with years of songwriting and production experience under my belt. I thought, well, this is the time to write my own music for a change. One song after the next, it just came pouring out. I didn’t have a sound for the longest time, and finally in the midst of a global pandemic, I had found it.”
“I didn’t think much of making a record at the time,” she adds. “I was just stoked that I was able to write songs by myself. It wasn’t until I started sharing them to my artist homies, who all insisted that I “stop fucking around and make a record.” Eventually, things got more serious and I just went with it. I suppose I’ll have more of a “vision” on the next album.”
Farewell is no stranger to alone time (aren’t we all?), but it took the forced isolation of 2020’s COVID-19 lockdowns for her to unlock her own songwriting potential. The album’s title, Sweet Company, is a nod to that rite of passage: “I had spent so much time alone in isolation, even before lockdown I was alone,” she recalls. “But this time, I had no anxiety, no stress, no FOMO, just enjoying the company of myself, which is the underlying theme of this record: To enjoy the company of oneself.”
It was a process that involved learning to be okay with being alone, as well as learning to trust herself and her voice.
“I was feeling so good about doing this project by myself, and that my friends, who I respect, loved what I was making,” she reflects, looking back on it now. “I was on cloud nine with the project because I had finally figured out my artistry and locked in musically with myself, which was what I had been struggling with for my entire musical career. This is the most comfortable I’ve felt as an artist.”
“I think this is a full embrace of my identity in that way,” she continues. “I’ve always been not quite where I belong. In every stage of my artistry. I know now that that was because I needed to create my own thing. I want my debut to be representative of my ownership of the comprehensive approach to artistry that defines me. I’m not just the vocalist, but the writer, producer and engineer. I want to be clear about who I am and what I’m capable of. Part of finding your voice as a woman in entertainment — and the world — is to say immediately that you want to speak for yourself and you want to work for yourself. That’s a kind of freedom and personal liberation that is tough for a lot of women to get to in their lives. Self-empowerment. That’s my mark for sure. I’m aggressively planting my flag, but without barking at people. Instead, I’m showing up with the goods and owning the fact that the product is completely my own creation.”
From end to end, Sweet Company is an engulfing and invigorating world unto itself. The record opens with a wistful and wondrous two minute instrumental “Prelude,” which sees Farewell put her extensive piano skills to use. The moody, vibrant keyboard performance ultimately coalesces with a stirring flute solo, which carries the song’s tranquilizing melody atop a warm, rich backdrop further enhanced by cello and light drums.
It’s a soothing start, and one that readies us for the exhilarating electric onslaught of the title track. Double-tracked lead guitars swoop low and swing high kaleidoscopic, creating a kaleidoscopic frame around Farewell’s tender, loving voice. “You and me, strong as can be, you walk by my side, so much joy to your stride. How lucky to be in sweet company, patiently waiting, you’re so amazing,” she sings, wearing her heart on her sleeve in an ode to her roommate’s dog, Peggy, “who was there for me at my worst during the pandemic and held me down with her unconditional love and devotion.” A mid-song guitar solo that would undoubtedly bring a smile to Brian May’s face fire and further color to an already charming musical unveiling.
“I think “Sweet Company” shocked everyone who thought they knew me,” Farewell says. “I had always been known as just a pianist/keyboardist, so me singing came as a surprise, even to myself. They really thought I was going to make a smooth jazz album, chill beats to study to or some shit. But I really want to be known as a record producer who writes songs.”
On the topic of favorites, Farewell notes the song “Kakashi (All of the Time)” as her personal highlight. “It was the funnest, easiest, silliest song, and I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time I made it!” she beams, going on to explain how it’s a tribute to the Naruto anime character of the same name and a manifestation of her desire to protect her own creative voice. “Yes, it’s about the Naruto character. He’s the goat, he’s fearless, cool, smart, kind, and he has a freaky side. What’s there not to love?!”
The song’s music video expands on this concept: “I didn’t want to portray ‘Kakashi’ as a tangible person in this video, because they’re not physically real to begin with,” Farewell explains. “Instead, I wanted them to be an even greater being, in this case a spirit scarecrow humanoid guardian, who I’d like to think represents a part of me and my sense for imagination.”
Meanwhile as a lyricist, Farewell cites the second verse from “Are We OK?”: “‘Stop girl you’re moving too fast.’ I called out this guy I had been seeing for standing me up and he replied by texting me a stop sign emoji. Shitty person, hilarious encounter.”
Further standouts from Sweet Company include the groovy, bustling “Believe Me” and the woozy, soaring, and utterly enchanting finale, “Get Me.” “It encapsulates how I feel about this whole record, so I thought it was fitting to end on that note,” Farewell says. Her revelrous lyrics reveal the wonder and comfort we experience when we feel seen, heard, and understood – three things Farewell was able to achieve on her own throughout Sweet Company.
I never knew how good I could feel
there was a magical wave to the air
never knew how good it could be
You really get me, you really get what I do
you really feel me, you really feel what I do
do you really get me baby
do you really feel me my baby, feel what I do
And when the sunlight enters my room
all of my joys and my dreams start to bloom
can’t believe how good it could be
This album proved a transformative journey for Vicky Farewell, and it aspires to be just as meaningful – a buoy and an anchor – for those who listen. Whether you’re in need of an indulgence or an escape, a little alone time or something more substantial, this record is here to be your Sweet Company through it all.
“Have fun with it,” Farewell says. “I hope it makes people happy. I hope it encourages people to listen to albums more instead of playlists and mixes. I feel like a real artist now; I feel confident, and it’s just nice to finally make it here.” Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Vicky Farewell’s Sweet Company with Atwood Magazine as the artist goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her debut album!
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Stream: ‘Sweet Company’ – Vicky Farewell
:: Inside Sweet Company ::
That inexplicable chemistry you have with someone who you don’t mind spending the entire evening together, and the next thing you know it’s daylight outside.
This song is about my roommate’s dog, Peggy, who was there for me at my worst during the pandemic and held me down with her unconditional love and devotion.
Kakashi (All of the Time)
Yes, it’s about the Naruto character. He’s the goat, he’s fearless, cool, smart, kind, and he has a freaky side. What’s there not to love.
It’s a sad truth to getting older, that you will lose friendships along the way. Sometimes it hurts, and sometimes it happens without you even realizing it.
Are We OK?
This was the first song I wrote on this record, first one I ever completed on my own. I am especially proud of this one, it’s my baby.
You can say it’s abbreviated for “hopelessly waiting,” but it’s really because I did my “homework” on this song: it has a clear verse, pre chorus, chorus, bridge, instrumental shred solo, a breakdown, and a tag at the end. I wanted to challenge myself to write a song in this way, and I hope I make Stevie Wonder proud.
Growing up I used to watch “Lamb Chop’s Play-Along” on PBS as a kid. There’s this song they’d sing at the end of every episode, “This is the song that never ends.” “Forever” is a nod to that.
The last song I wrote on this record. I had originally made the beat for a different project but decided to keep it once I started putting words to it. It encapsulates how I feel about this whole record so I thought it was fitting to end on that note.
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