THE superb Fiona Harte has been telling me…
about her debut single, White Picket Fence, and the story behind it. The Northern Irish artist resides in New York and I ask what compelled that move; whether she is looking ahead to future material and what sort of music she grew up around.
Harte reveals some rising artists worth a look; if there are any gigs booked; whether we might see her back in the U.K. soon, playing; the advice she would give to artists coming through – she ends the interview by selecting a great song.
Hi, Fiona. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey, Sam. It’s been great! My first-ever single just came out today so it’s been busy but exciting.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure. I am from Ireland but currently based in New York. I moved over here to pursue music and have been trying to play as many shows as possible. I play guitar and my music is quite stripped back – ‘Acoustic singer-songwriter-style’ I would say.
White Picket Fence is your debut single. What can you reveal about the song’s story and how it came together?
I wrote the song after listening to a friend talk about a really crappy relationship she was in. I could sympathize with her from my own experience and the song was written within about an hour after she left my apartment. I wrote it on the balcony of the apartment I lived in in Dublin at the time. The song focuses on how your desired person can control your emotions by doing so little. Even though the song portrays as sad, it refers to having hope; perhaps for that love or another.
How does it feel knowing the song is out? Are you already looking ahead to new material?
It feels great – I can finally say I am an artist! I’ve taken my time recording a lot of stuff and waiting for the right time. This feels really right now. I am absolutely looking into my next release. I have started planning it already – it should be out before Christmas (smiles).
In terms of musicians; what sort of stuff are you into? Who were you raised on?
I love poetic lyrics, so a lot of Joni Mitchell and Carole King. I currently listen to a range of stuff. More recently, I have been listening to Jorja Smith, Daniel Ceaser; August Greene, stuff like that. An artist I love at the moment is Bruno Major.
You are from Northern Ireland but based in New York. How inspiring is New York regarding your songwriting and creativity?
New York is incredibly inspiring to me and always has been. I love it here. The only thing I find, sometimes, is it gives me so much to write about but so little time to write! I feel like I am always running somewhere in this city.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I would love to have another single released and play as many shows as possible.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Yea. I think it was playing The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. I have never been so nervous. The guys (in) In the Round were insanely talented and the audience really does not make a sound! It was a really magical night for me.
Which three albums mean the most to each of you would you say (and why)?
Joni Mitchell – Blue
It reminds me of when I first fell in love with music and writing. It’s an album I compare everything I do to, in order to get the best out of my own work. It will never be near that level (laughs) but I do always think of it after I complete something. I don’t know why.
David Gray – White Ladder
I just think it’s one of the most beautiful albums ever written. The production is incredible and I have always been a fan.
Dolly Parton – Here You Come Again
My mum always played it and it always reminds me of her. Great songs, too!
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I would love love, love to support Frank Ocean. He’s one of my favourite writers! Rider. Haha. Maybe Milanos and Cab Sav (laughs).
Can we see you tour soon? Where are you playing?
I just played The Bitter End last night and have a Sofar Sounds on 27th September. After that, I will be doing a few shows in Ireland. Tour is on the cards; possibly 2019.
Do you think you’ll be back in the U.K. to perform at some point?
Yes. Sooner rather than later. I have a trip planned there for November.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I am still learning a lot but what I really became aware of recently is how I should always stick to my gut feeling. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. And, always be in control of the creative/release process as much as you can. It’s so important to be happy with what you put out.
IN THIS PHOTO: Newcomers Club
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I do. I kind of go through phases of writing a lot and then not very much. I was trying to write a song every day for the past while. Right now, I am going through recordings of all my songs and re-writing which is fun. I just meet up with my Irish friends and go to the pub to unwind!
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Thank you for doing this!
Joey Landreth - Still Feel Gone
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