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Elle Varner Talks To Bossip

R&B newcomer Elle Varner has a lot to celebrate these days. The Cali-born banger has been heating up the charts with her latest single “Refill” and was the talk of the night on the recently aired 2012 BET Awards red carpet.

We got a chance to sit down with Elle to discuss what fans can expect from her upcoming new album to be released in August, who she’s currently dating, how she maintains her fabulous hair, her celebrity crush and so much more!

Check out the interview below.

Describe your mood right now with everything going on.  Are you still pinching yourself or is everything starting to set in?
It’s really been a journey. It’s definitely surreal… and hard for me to grasp that it’s really happening and it’s really me, you know? Especially when I meet fans. I just met some fans last week and they were like balling in tears! It was crazy. You know I just relate to myself as the same person [that I’ve always been] but, to other people, it’s different so, that part is kinda crazy still.

Speaking of your fans, everybody is looking forward to what’s next from you. What can fans expect from this album?
This album is such an honest piece of work, a vulnerable piece of work. I expressed a lot of emotion and all of the stories are true life-stories of mine which is why I think it’s so relatable. I was thinking the other day, listening to the album, no matter what your gender, race, age or [sexual]orientation is, it’s just such an appealing album to everyone’s story because it’s all about just the human experience.

Any collabos or features on this album?
Uh, no, actually. Other than J.Cole, who I worked with on my first single, I don’t have any features or collabos. You know, I really just wanted everybody to get a chance to know me and my sound. I’m still coming into my own and discovering myself so I wanted people to be able to really hear that on the album.

Who would you like to work with in the future?
Well, Andre 3000. I’d love to work with him. I think that’s like everyone’s dream person to work with at some point; and then also Frank Ocean. I would love to work with Frank Ocean….

Yes, a Frank Ocean/Elle Varner record would be dope…
That would be sick, right? Hopefully we can, you know, make that happen soon.

People have recently gotten a chance to see a little bit of your personal style through some of your videos and appearances and seem to have responded pretty well. What inspires your original, eclectic, personal style?
Let’s see….well, I like colors so, I always incorporate color into whatever I’m wearing somehow. And I like to be different in what I wear but it also needs to make sense. So, I like to keep it simple but still stand out without going overboard with too many patterns or colors at once.

Hit the flip to read about Elle’s BET Awards moment that left her star struck, and her reaction to all that attention on her camera-friendly cakes.

You talked a little about meeting fans and how surreal things have been for you. What was the moment when you felt like you’d “made it?”
Definitely the BET Awards. But not just the pre-show performance, though, because there was another very unexpected, um, moment that almost overshadowed the performance (laughs). So, yeah,that was pretty funny to me…

Oh you mean all the buzz about your lady lumps? (laughs)
Yes! I mean, I didn’t even realize… was almost like I was the person that they shot from that angle the most (laughs). Thanks you guys (Bossip) for posting that, by the way.

Yes, our Bossip readers are definitely team Elle.
Aw, I appreciate that. Thank you so much.

So reading your bio and how you got started, you pretty much come from music. Who would you say is your biggest musical influence in addition to your parents?
Definitely Whitney Houston. She just had a voice like no other. And Mariah. Mariah Carey. I mean those two….they’re both such powerhouse singers so, they’re big influences for me.

Did you get the chance to meet Whitney?
No, unfortunately, I didn’t.

What about Mariah?
Mariah! You know what? I was sitting at the BET Awards..I was in the 3rd row, and all of a sudden all I hear is this click-clacking coming down the aisle and I looked over and she was right there! She was so beautiful and so glamorous in person….I was really in awe.

What about a celebrity crush? Do you have one?
(laughs) Oh man….ummm…..I don’t want to say! Ummm….yeah…..I’m not gonna say (lauhgs.)

Did you always want to sing?
You know, I always wanted to sing but, I had a lot of people telling me that I should break into the industry as a songwriter first and just write for people just to get some exposure but, I decided to go with singing. I definitely worked hard though because I didn’t have anyone co-signing me as a new artist so a lot of people were just like “who is this chick?” you know, so I kind of had to make my own way when I started out and let people know who I was through my music and my singing.

Finish reading to hear Elle round out our chat with her thoughts on dating in the industry, hair secrets, keeping her personal life private, and what she looks for in a guy.

Now that you’re in the industry and you see how things are being a celebrity, if you found yourself in like a Chris Brown and Rihanna situation or even the situation that’s going on with the Jackson family right now, would you speak out and clear things up or just keep quiet and let it die down?

Well, first, I can definitely say that I like to keep my personal life private as much as I can. I mean, if it was a really serious situation like maybe where something that I said got completely twisted around and hurt somebody, then I’d probably address it . But other than that, I’m really going to try to just stay grounded and stay focused and not get sidetracked by putting all of my business out there.

Do you have any mentors in the industry or anyone that has reached out to you to offer advice?
Wow yeah, there’s actually been a lot of people who have reached out and given me some really good advice. Erykah Badu, Trey Songz, Alicia Keys gave some good pointers, Jill Scott, Tyrese…..there’s been a lot of artists that have been really positive and uplifting.

New artists often have a hard time staying true to who they are when they first get into the industry, but you seem to have managed to overcome that. What advice would you have for aspiring artists who are now where you were not too long ago?
I would just say stay focused, not just on the short term, but focus and think about the long term. And just listen to the good advice but still stay true to who you are and stay grounded; keep good, genuine people around you.

Switching gears a little bit, you know the natural hair craze is taking over right now and a lot of our readers are really feeling your hair. Any tips on how you maintain it?
Well one tip that works really good for me is: after you wash your hair, while it’s wet, comb out your curls, and then the secret is that you can’t touch it until it’s completely dry. If you start messing with it and trying to shape it while it’s still wet, it’ll start to frizz out. So I just let it dry and then pull out the curls after about an hour and a half of it drying. It does take some time to let it dry naturally but, it’ll look the best. And one other tip is shea butter. That works great for natural hair.

Some of the readers are also curious as to when we can expect to see you on tour.
Septemeber! It’s all being worked out right now but definitely September.

Lastly, now, you really worked it at the BET Awards from the hair to the make-up to the dress. So naturally, the guys are checkin for you. Are you single or dating?
I’m single.

And what do you look for in a guy? Do you prefer to date within the industry or keep it outside of the industry?
Well, I haven’t actually dated in the industry…………..yet (laughs).

See, so there is a celebrity crush in there somewhere!
(laughs) You’ll find out soon, probably. There’s a few cuties out there. Because of the nature of the industry, we’re all “celebrities,” but a lot of that is your persona and all that. The real person that goes to sleep every night and has feelings and all of that, it takes so much time to really get to know THAT person. So, for me, developing a genuine friendship is key. I would have to know who you are for real before I even consider dating or getting in to a relationship.

As far as qualities, I like a guy that has his……stuff….together (laughs). Doesn’t live at home, a little bit of sophistication but still street smart. I like bad boys but, not like going-to-jail-tomorrow bad but like a little rough around the edges. And someone who is fun with a good personality and a good sense of humor. Nothing too extravagant but, one thing, you definitely can NOT spend more time in the mirror than me; that’s an instant turn off. I mean, I like a cute guy but too pretty is just….no.

-Rachaell Davis (@cosmogurl09)

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