“!Now Ya Know” is a weekly series from Mixologi profiling artists you may not have heard of. Every week we will be selecting a new artist for you to keep on your radar.
Introducing Elle Varner…
For some, living a dream is a privilege…a blessing, if you will. For others, it’s more of a calling. There’s no doubt that Elle Varner’s creative journey should be filed in the latter category, but even as her destiny unfolds before her, she can barely believe her eyes.
Hers was a childhood steeped in hooks and verses, melodies and choruses. Whether flipping through her mother’s Motown collection, singing along to Burt Bacharach classics or accompanying her songwriter parents to their recording sessions, music was an ever-present force. It’s the only life she knew. “Growing up in the studio was absolutely normal for me, but looking back, I realize that it’s not a very common environment for a kid,” Elle says. “At an early age, I absorbed so much about music and learned how to create a song, from beginning to end. My dad always asked for my opinion about what he was working on and I remember my mom would ask, ‘What word should I add here?’ They really empowered me.”
With the release of her debut album, Perfectly Imperfect (MBK Entertainment/RCA Records), which she wrote and co-produced, it’s evident that her early experiences have served her well. Crafting the album also proved to be a full-circle moment for the 22-year-old singer/songwriter as she enlisted the help of her parents – Jimmy Varner and Mikelyn Roderick – both of whom contributed their production and vocal arrangement talents and pushed Elle toward, and beyond, the bounds of her creativity.
Leading the 12-song set is the flirty, funky single, “Only Wanna Give It To You,” produced by Pop & Oak and featuring J. Cole. If you have her tell it, the song has taken many shapes and forms since she began writing it as a teenager. At first listen, it seems as though she’s singing about someone special, but then she switches it up real quick. Is she talking about a pair of pumps? Maybe. Maybe not.
Thought that you were just another Romeo,
The shoe you pass by in the store window.
But soon as I got home I wish I’d bought you instead,
I got it bad, I’ll take the black, take the navy and red…
“I get stuck whenever I try to explain where that song came from because it wasn’t really about anyone in particular,” she notes. “People think different things about it, but I was more focused on playing with the words and nailing the lyrical flips.”
Born in Los Angeles proper and raised throughout southern California’s city limits, Elle, now a resident of Brooklyn. As she prepares to take her place on center stage, Elle Varner sees no limit to her possibilities. “I think every girl dreams of being famous and enjoying all of the hoopla that comes with it, but at this point in my life, I know like I know my name that this is what I’m supposed to be doing,” she says. “I’ve been blessed with the tremendous gift of music and it’s my responsibility to share it with the world. I see big things in the future.”