Who is Elle?
In this moment right now, Elle is a young lady becoming a young woman stepping into a more responsible role—knowing what I want and speaking out for what I want and getting it.
How did you blossom into that confident space?
By trying things all the time. Someone said to me recently, ‘Don’t walk scared. Even if you’re scared of doing something, do it. Don’t shut down.’ Through using that and just learning about myself, I’ve learned that things aren’t that deep usually. Things that are in your mind, don’t let them build up.
Moving onto a new horizon, what still scares you?
You don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. You don’t know if you’re gonna wake up one day and find out your record is blazing up the charts or your record’s not really playing or maybe someone’s saying something about you and you have to deal with that. It’s so much and it’s all new to me. Even the way people treat me is different and that’s new.
Are you getting more comfortable with the uncertainty of fame?
I’m more comfortable with my choices. The more I step into Elle Varner as an artist, I’m more comfortable with what I want or what I feel like I want because that’s really what being an artist is. Playing into what you think people want you to be, that’s not an artist. It is scary, but that’s why the greatest ones are the one that take the risk and just be whatever they want.
Fans cry at your presence these days. How does that feel?
It’s nuts [laughs]. I feel, honestly, that you have to constantly remind yourself that you are just like everyone else because everyone is treating you like you’re not. People are making you their savior, their role model, their idol. People actually love you, and it’s crazy. They’re like, ‘Don’t change’ [laughs] but you have to in a way. There’s no way not to. But you still want to keep the part of you that is pure.
How do you see yourself changing?
Being a little bit more serious. That’s something I’m starting to embrace a little bit more. When I am serious, I get so much accomplished. There’s so much room for me to grow as an artist. Maybe some of my sounds are R&B, maybe some of my songs are folk, maybe they’re just songs and there is no name for what it is. I embrace it because I think there is a new wave of R&B that, in a way, is not even R&B; there’s just nothing else to really call it. But you have artists like Frank Ocean, Miguel, myself—it’s not mainstream R&B.