March 13, in Berkeley, California, is Faye Carol Day. Carol, a jazz musician who was born in Mississippi and moved to Berkeley as an adult, has made an impact through her music, words, and teachings. Beyond Carol’s vocal talent, she excels in bringing people together through her captivating stage presence and enriching blues, R&B, folk, soul, and cabaret performances.
Carol scored her first gig, the chance to perform with a local band, by winning a talent show in Oakland. She continued her work tirelessly, touring with the Angelairs, a toots band, and working with blues musicians like Johnny Heartsman and soul singers like Eddie Foster. Working with these musicians helped her get into the industry, but for Carol, the feeling that music imbues in her audience is what has kept her performing for decades. “I like the fact that music is unifying. You can see all different kinds of people from all different kinds of walks of life, but they’ll all be in a musical setting for one reason alone that they all agree with,” Carol said.
The idea of growth is very important to Carol, and it is what drew her to Berkeley after growing up in Mississippi. “Berkeley seems to be open to culture and open to growth, and I like the feeling of that. I like the feeling of not being stagnant as a community, but forward thinking and open minded. I think that’s what Berkeley is,” she said.
This mindset of openness is what motivated her to stay in Berkeley, as well as to send her daughter to play jazz at and attend Berkeley High School.
To Carol, the underlying messages of music don’t change, even if the sounds, rhythms and beats do from generation to generation. Music is a way of valuing the people who came before us and the new ones that we meet. Carol says she wants her music to foreground this. She said, “I want my culture, that Black culture, to stay alive and vibrant and vibe with other people’s beautiful cultures as well.”
In addition to performing, Carol also teaches at the School of The Getdown, a school designed to share and promote Black music with the Bay Area community through performance. Although she was not keen on teaching at first, she said, “I found out how much you could help people in their musical quest and I always did like the idea of helping people.”
Carol continues to bring people together, create acceptance, and inspire new generations to make music and perform. She continues performing often, with her next shows, titled “Faye Sings the Blues” on February 10 and 11 at the Mr. Tipple’s Jazz Club in San Francisco.
Her work has helped the community, and she has developed in her artistry and style as the years go on.
“I’ll always have a new dress and a new song, and that to me, is growth,” she said.