Q&A Scene: Fiona Joy

Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?  

Signature Synchronicity was recorded on a hand-made Aussie piano in my home town of Kendall with Sydney based producer James Englund.  Then we took the piano part over to the US and did the overdubs with people like Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel), Jeff Haynes (Pat Metheny) and produced by Will Ackerman (Founder Windham Hill Records) and Tom Eaton.
.  I’m calling it Contemporary Instrumental with vocals!  :)  We have a neo-classical piece followed by a New Age Beat-box song that I recorded with my Son in Newcastle.  There is a touch of jazz and some singer/songwriter in there as well.  Its eclectic.   I just found out 2 weeks ago that ‘Ceremony’ is a finalist in the International Acoustic Music Awards so I’m excited already for the pre-release on the 20th Feb.

What’s your favourite work at this point in time?

I always choose the songs that I like to play live and Invisible Train is the pick. It has the right amount of energy in it and I can tell a story that the audience can hear.  On the album it features Tony Levin and a few other really great musos.  I’m lucky to have amazing people to work with.  I had a child-hood fascination with the story of the Little Red Caboose and wanted to re-create my own train piece.  

The other choice is  a singer songwriter piece  (piano and voice only) and I dedicate it to my ex-husband – it’s called Once Upon Impossible.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.  

I had a meeting with Jeff Haynes (Pat Metheny’s percussionist) to talk about  ideas for rhythm.  He suggested we have a quick rehearsal right there.  We were in a New York style diner and he asked me to play the piano part on the table so he could hear the rhythm.  We got stuck right into it and it seemed really normal at the time.  About 15 minutes later we had about 20 onlookers gathered around.  We realised how ridiculous we must have looked and then we got a full on applause for air piano and air percussion.  That song was in 13/8 (a percussionist’s nightmare) – we NEEDED that rehearsal!   It’s track one on the album called ‘Ceremony’.

What, or who, inspires you?  

People who achieve in the face of adversity.  Musically speaking, I’m inspired by music that moves me and it can be any genre at all.  I love finding great music in unexpected places.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

The theme song from Titanic. That’s my gig – someone else got it!  LOL

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

An old buttery chardonnay – OK, no analogy to the old (yet) – so maybe drop that, but there are notes and hints of flavours that are found and vary from the moment it touches your lips, makes an impression on your palette and then slowly chills you out.  I guess my music is a little intellectual because its conceptually derived.  I think of myself as a story teller – you gotta think through the layers. And relax a little.

What’s next for you?

I’m off to the ZMR Radio Awards in New Orleans, recording with Blue Coast Records (content partners with Sony) in May and the touring China in July.  After that I’m doing an album with a newly formed group called FLOW – we are recording in Vermont USA.  2016 is pretty much  booked up except for the motorbike weekend I just organised today for early December.  Then it’s Christmas.

What’s your scene?

My scene comes to life after a glass of wine and a good CD in the stereo.


[pullquote]“One of the brightest lights in contemporary instrumental music, Fiona Joy is poised to move into stardom.” – Will Ackerman, Founder of Windham Hill Records [/pullquote] As 2016 unfolds, Australian Pianist, Producer & Singer Fiona Joy is readying her new album — Signature Synchronicity — for worldwide release on March 18, 2016, simultaneously preparing for another grand tour of China, a new recording session in the U.S., and a feature concert with her Blue Dream Ensemble at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre (Sydney) — an extension of the Sydney Women’s International Jazz Festival – scheduled for August 2016. She releases Signature Synchronicity for pre-sale on February 20, 2016, a fully-instrumental album that complements Signature Solo, a solo piano version of ten pieces originally recorded and released by Blue Coast Records as CD, SACD and DSD for her audiophile fans.

[pullquote]Fiona looks forward to reconnecting with her fans in China, who’ve have nicknamed her The Piano Angel, not just for her romantic, melodic songs and lush arrangements, but also for her gracious and mesmerizingly ballet-like performance style in concert.[/pullquote] It’s a style that will serve her new album well, considering it is inspired by modern-day fairytales. A prolific composer, she has always been interested in creating music that evokes images, emotions and stories.

When not recording or touring, Fiona is busy directing the entrepreneurial side of her music business, an effort which is crucial to the success of every independent artist. She manages her growing record label, Little Hartley Music, and promotes Fiona Joy Jewellery, her new line offering the upscale Swarovsky crystal-adorned bracelets and foot jewellery that she wears while performing barefooted in concert.

It follows that her upbringing was filled with music. She recalls that her father embraced Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music, playing Jesus in the Tamworth Musical Society production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Her classical piano training is evident in her thematic and melodic compositions. Ravel’s “Bolero” emerged as an early influence, she says, adding, “I loved it; I played it over and over and deconstructed every part. George Winston, Prokofiev and Mendelssohn also intrigued me.”

Fiona Joy & Little Hartley Music Team

About Mary Boukouvalas 1612 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.