In early January, some friends and I attended the Sūpu Sugoi Ramen pop-up event at the Avenue Café. It was a fabulous evening that convened an energetic crowd of about 200 people — all in the name of Ramen. Afterward, as we walked to our car, we came upon Faithy, a sprite young woman playing the street piano in front of Triple Goddess Book Store.
I asked if I could take her picture — she agreed and sang us a few bars of the song she was working on. We inquired if she came there often. She said she lived “just up the street,” and because she doesn’t have the space for her own piano, she regularly plays on the avenue.
BECOMING A MUSICIAN
Faithy was bursting with creative energy; I wanted to know more about her, so a week later we met at Creole Coffee Co., sipped on French pressed brew and talked about her music and her Lansing life.
Turns out that Faithy (Faithy-Sue Halick) has been making music since she was 4 years old.
“That’s when I started piano lessons,” she said. Faithy also plays guitar, ukulele and the dulcimer — all self-taught. Born in Lansing, she grew up in Laingsburg and after graduation she eventually ended up in Lansing’s Eastside Neighborhood.
“It’s a short walk to the Avenue Café, Mac’s, The Loft — all my favorite music venues,” said Faithy. It’s also right down the street from the piano where Faithy says she’s written and recorded several songs.
I asked her how many songs she has in her repertoire. “I would not be able to tell you that!” she said, taken aback. “There are so many!” Enough that she made an album, “Half Dazed Reality,” which has 11 songs and an EP called To You containing four tracks. In the spring she’s planning to do a show at Mac’s Bar. Faithy said the part she likes best about music is the writing process.
“I just love to make stuff up — the act of writing a song,” she says. “I love words — I love what words can do. And I love music, so putting words to music is so much fun to me.”
PEOPLE AND MUSIC
What’s her favorite thing about music in Lansing? Friendships.
“I love my friends,” she said unabashedly. “I have amazing, talented friends, and I would not have met them if it weren’t for the Lansing music scene. That’s why I go to the Avenue, that’s why I go to open mics. I met all my closest friends going to shows. Music brings people together. All I really care about are people and music.”
Anytime Faithy needs to practice or work on a piano piece, she heads to Michigan Avenue. “I bring my recording equipment, my microphone, my computer. If I need to record a piano part, I do it right on the street,” she said. “On some of my songs, you can hear cars driving by.”
Like Faithy, the piano has its own unique story. Originally, the piano was a piece of artwork created by REACH Studio youth artists. The Michigan Avenue piano was adopted by the Lansing/East Lansing Keys in the Cities Project in 2015. To my knowledge, it is the only Keys piano currently spending winter outdoors. Faithy concedes that the cold air gives the piano a distinctive sound. A fact she addresses in her new video “Street Music.” She sings: “I’m pretty sure this cold air, is making these keys flat, but it wouldn’t be the same, if it weren’t like that.”
Find Your Musical Self:
- Visit Elderly Instruments – try out instruments, take classes and workshops, attend free music events – Elderly.com
- Go play the piano on Michigan Avenue
- Acoustic Lunch at MSU Broad Museum – free, acoustic lunchtime concerts – broadmuseum.msu.edu
- Ten Pound Fiddle, “Women at the AMP,” March 11 – tenpoundfiddle.org
- The Ragbirds at the Loft, April 2, $10 – theloftlansing.com
- Faithy at Mac’s Bar, March 13 – macsbar.com