Faye Webster Hates Attention. But Her Songs Keep Getting Bigger.

Faye Webster was trying to get out. She had just performed the second of two shows at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, swaying in a dark blue gown in front of a 20-piece string orchestra, her hands knitted over her diaphragm. All she wanted next was to go home.

Those hometown concerts in 2022 felt like the crystallization of her career — a more significant milestone than when Barack Obama put her on his annual playlist, or when she was asked to play Coachella this year. The lobby was clogged with fans, and Webster was focused on escape. Her mother had a hat, a cobalt blue ball cap with “haha” stamped across it, merch from Webster’s last album. She threw it on, tilted her head down and made it out the door.

Webster, 26, hates attention. This, she realizes, is inconvenient for any artist, much less an up-and-coming indie star with a new and fervid TikTok following. Over two meandering video calls from Australia, where Webster was touring, she remained off camera for one of them. She mentioned a dog but only discussed its breed off the record. When she did slip into frame — perched in bed in a stark white hotel room, glancing at the ceiling or off to the side as she talked — she broke her sentences with long pauses, sometimes laughing at herself as she found the words.

“I have a lot of friends that do what I do,” she said. “And I’m just like — I just don’t think I’m built for it. The attention really freaks me out.”

The title of Webster’s new LP comes from a ritual she started in the months after her split. She would decide to see the Atlanta Symphony, a 15-minute drive from her house, moments before a performance was set to begin.Credit…Irina Rozovsky for The New York Times

That attention has grown steadily since 2013, when Webster, then 16, self-released her debut album, “Run and Tell,” a folksy whirl of slide guitar and twang. She grew up in Atlanta, where she still lives, listening to her mother play Allison Krauss records and bluegrass fiddle songs, an aesthetic she has incorporated into her own music. But she has also moved, solidly and smoothly, into a middle ground between indie-rock and country — pedal steel mashed with bass, simmering drums beneath tropical synths — as she homes in on the banal brutalities of relationships.

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