Last updated: 08/05/2007 11:00:00 AM
6/1/2004 2:00:00 PM - by Geffen
The consummate Valley Girl has returned. This incarnation is in the form of fan_3, a bona fide native of Sherman Oaks. Blessed with the gift of rhyme and a teenager's instinct for honesty, fan_3 paves the way for a new generation of pop artists with her debut Geffen album.
16-year-old fan_3 writes skillfully about the world she lives in, drawing out the irony, parody and poetry around her. She calls herself fan _3 because that's exactly what she is: a 100% all-out fan of great musical artists, especially female trios like TLC, Destiny's Child and the Dixie Chicks ("the most thug group there is," she calls the latter). But when it comes to her own music, fan_3 stands alone, and her career so far is a singular story of persistence and passion.
fan_3 grew up as a child of divorced parents in the family oriented suburban San Fernando Valley. fan_3 turned this experience into a positive, writing personal lyrics inspired by the hip-hop music that enthralled her, in particular artists like Eve and Westside Connection. "I'm part of the generation from suburbia influenced by hip-hop," she says. "How do you not get influenced by hip-hop?"
Around age 13, fan_3 recorded several original tracks on her lo-fi home studio set-up. Her song, "What They Gonna Think," proved so catchy, it wound up on Disney's platinum-certified "Lizzie Maguire" soundtrack album. How was it for fan_3 to have a cd in the bins? "It was awesome," she says. "I walked a mile to buy it from a used record store on Ventura Blvd."
Even with that initial success, fan_3's parents weren't so sure their daughter was ready for the big time. fan_3, on the other hand, had no doubts, taking matters into her own hands ("They were going too slow for me," she says). Impatient for success, fan_3 picked up a copy of HITS Magazine, flipped to the section of industry contacts, and let her fingers do the walking. "I called up every manager and agent in the book," she recalls, "and sent out packages of my songs. I got one guy to call me back."
That would be manager Ron Baldwin, who saw in fan_3 a budding star. He took her to Geffen Records, and soon fan_3 was signed, sealed, and delivered up to the studio to craft her debut cd.
Written entirely by fan_3 and produced by Bit Crusher, the new album showcases an emerging artist of unlimited potential. Above all else, her music is about having fun, though she is equally capable of searing depth and feeling.
One of the album's highlights is the mid-tempo "Geek Love," a hilarious love song about a pure-bred nerd as the object of fan_3's affection ("The first boy I've known to get straight A's/ And appear in everyone of my high school plays/Mozart blastin' from his Volvo/And there's tape on his glasses; in charge of hall passes"). Says fan_3, "To write the song, I just took a note pad and walked around school at lunch, putting ideas down on paper."
fan_3 actually grew up enjoying all kinds of music, and her appreciation shows in songs like the salsa/raga-flavored "This Goes Out To" and upbeat "Deal With It," which features flamenco guitar in the chorus. Another stand-out is "Digits," a brassy track featuring a classic Blood Sweat and Tears sample. "It's a party song," says fan_3. "I fell in love with the beat right away: kind of an 'old school hip-hop House of Pain' vibe."
The most touching song on the album is "Broken Home," a sad tale of divorce from a kid's eye view set to the theme of "Love Story," the sappy film from 1970 ("One young girl, and she's caught outside in the cold/Scared to the bone, but trying to be bold/But when she wakes up she's all alone"). Says fan_3, "It's kind of dark, and I don't have that many dark sides. But so many kids have gone through divorce like I have. I want them to know there are other people going through the same thing, and that in time it won't be so bad."
With the cd ready to drop, fan_3 understands that life as she's known is about to change drastically, but she's ready. "I know what I am," she says, "and I have no problem laughing at myself. At this point of my life I'm in no position to take myself seriously. My game plan is to take it as it comes."
What does she think about the prospects ahead? Not surprisingly, fan_3 has a mature and reflective answer. "I'm a writer first and foremost," she says, "and whenever you're just being real, people see that and respect that. I'm not trying to be hardcore from the street. I know exactly who I am and I am very proud of who that is."