IT is good to catch up with FiFi Rong as the video...
for her single, Sin City, is out and she tells me about it. I wanted to know which musicians/sounds were important to her growing up and if there is more music coming along soon – she reveals a rising artist that we need to investigate.
I ask how she feels she has progressed as an artist and whether she has any standout music memories; if there are any tour dates in the diary and whether she gets much time to unwind away from things – Rong selects a great track to end the interview with.
Hi, FiFi. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m very good, thanks. It’s been very, very busy as always. Non-stop challenges.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a vocalist-songwriter and I produce all my solo work and mix them sometimes too. My music is a fluid blend of many genres and elements. The main vibes consist of U.K. Bass and Underground and my Chinese flair in vocal delivery.
The video for Sin City is out. What inspired you to write the song and what was it like putting the video together?
It was a real story from my past in Hong Kong and I merged a lot fictional stuff such as murder in the story and song as I was watching serial killer documentaries while I was writing the song. It was not smooth-sailing making this video but I knew exactly what I wanted so I wasn’t discouraged at any point. Delay was not denial. It was just a matter of time. I knew I had the creativity and resources to finish it and put it out into the world.
I needed to make it just right, so it took a while.
Might we see more material coming soon? What are you working on right now?
Next up will be a collaboration song called Nahi with a Berlin label, Save the Black Beauty, on their L.P. Also, I’m working on several projects, including a solo full length and more (smiles).
Which artists were important to you growing up? Who do you rank as idols?
There are whole bunch of Chinese Rock artists that truly integrated authentic Chinese music into Western Rock. I think that influenced me a lot in regards what I’m doing now. It was once possible but a bit of a lost art as those artists were really going through a lot of poverty and pain. It wasn’t a chosen thing: it was the society.
Musicians who insisted on doing Rock had no money, unlike today’s Indie artists. Good art can come from any place but great art sometimes come from deep suffering. Idols: true legends like Michael Jackson, Eminem and some more...but not a lot.
How do you think you have progressed as a musician since you started out?
I have more patience and tolerance of the down-cycle when creativity doesn’t flow. I’m more productive on average and I like me more in general.
Your music has a very visual edge to it. Do you think in a visual sense when you are writing songs?
Not really. My music comes from words; words come from feelings and I make music for my words/feelings and I create visual to suit the music. It’s all in one package. But, if I was a filmmaker first and foremost, I would actually write music just for visuals, yes.
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
Hmm. There are lots of memories but what is burnt deep in my psyche has to be the U.K. tour with Tricky. It was my first time on a proper stage in O2 Academy Bristol. I almost died from fear on stage; didn’t know where to put my hands and I cried the whole night till second day as it was too scary and I was too disappointed in myself. And, on the second day, I was totally in the zone at O2. I had the time of my life. I was flying high! Then, Manchester Academy was even more amazing. I felt so connected and ‘one’ with everyone. Still, to this date, I can’t figure out how I got from day-one as a complete mess to day-two as a complete natural!?
My little mind went for the biggest rollercoaster ride of my life. I had many amazing writing experiences and good stage experiences but nothing was as thrilling as those three days. It’s like any drug: the first time gets you the highest as it’s unexpected.
Which albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
There are too many in Chinese! But, on top of my mind, here are the English ones:
Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon and Tricky – Maxinquaye.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I’m not picky. I just need good monitor system, good lighting and a room that’s not cold so I can relax before I go on (smiles).
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I’m still new in many ways and I haven’t come through - so I can’t tell them anything I haven’t nailed. Everyone has their own path and strengths and they are the best judges for themselves.
Do you think there are going to any tour dates coming up?
I’m independent, which mean I do absolutely everything and I have the freedom to take as long as need. I’m in the middle of my album creation so, until that is in shape, I wouldn’t want to distract myself.
How important is performing? Do you prefer it to life in the studio?
Different challenges. Both are important because they make me grow. And growth is fundamental as, if I don’t grow, life loses its purpose.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I just found out a musician called Zoolon I’m digging.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I love learning in many fields. For me, it’s relaxing and fun in order to absorb new knowledge.
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).
Lower Dens - Truss Me
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