Q&A Scene: Fiona Lee Maynard

Fiona Lee Maynard by Tameika Brumby

Tell us about your latest single/album/ tour. 

My new single (the second single from my new solo album Junction) is called ‘Beggars For Love’.

The album Junction was a watershed, it was written and recorded while my husband and main musical collaborator for 30 years, James Lomas was chronically ill from a rare auto immune condition which destroyed his kidneys and meant he was suddenly on dialysis, for two and a half years. During that time both my mother and my father died. When I’m faced with extreme challenges and grief in life, it’s like a pandora’s box is opened and all sorts of monsters and demons from the past escape. My own mental wellness therapy was writing songs, some saying things I’d always wanted to say, but never permitted myself to. Beggars For Love is one of those songs, written regarding the childhood trauma my brother and I endured as children of separated and divorced parents, who couldn’t get along and provided us a mandated narrative that didn’t actually match our reality. I suspect there are plenty of people who have lived experience of this situation who may relate to this.

I wasn’t going to select this song as the second single, but my friend and videographer really resonated with the song and wanted to make a video for it with his FTV students at JMC academy. The clip they made is really perfect for the song and has amazing production quality.

My album Junction is a digital only release on bandcamp and is my favourite album I’ve ever made.

      Fiona Lee Maynard by Tameika Brumby

I just launched the album at Brunswick Ballroom in April and have started to do some shows, having recovered more from the kidney donation operation.

Next show is at St Kilda Bowlo (St Kilda Sports Club) with my 4-piece band The Red Cars, on Friday 7 June for a Big bill gig called ‘See Ya Friday!’ which also features Penny Ikinger’s Marbles, Los Dominados and Affordable Repayments https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/1221577…

I also have an acoustic duo gig (with husband James) at Merri Creek Tavern on Sunday July 21st at 3pm – Les Thomas is also playing.

https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/1219529

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

I absolutely love my new album Junction. I have always wanted to make an all acoustic album, with group style backing vocal arrangements, spine tingling instrumentation and honest story telling singing. Working with Warrick Thomas in his studio gave me the intimate space I needed and the loving attention to detail such a venture requires. I had the absolute joy of James Lomas being just well enough to record one lead guitar line at a time. Cal McAlpine came in for a session with congas and cajon, Tracey McAlpine came in to provide an integral answer vocal line in Ego Juice. Kim Volkman came in for a session with his dobro and bought in a hurdy gurdy which winded up being on 2 tracks. Jack Howard recorded in his home studio and provided trumpet parts and flugelhorn. And Warwick provided so many gorgeous harmonies and inspired group singing arrangements I just I just love every time I listen. Warwick and I probably forgot all the little production touches we added, but once it was mixed and then mastered by Joe Carra at Crystal Mastering…it was much more than I even hoped it could be. The record was made with loving kindness and I think you can hear it.

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

Jack Howard had heard my raw tracks for the album Junction. and said; ‘leave it with me’ and started to feed me via email, the parts he’d create and recorded., I was overjoyed every time I received a new email from him, but then I received his flugelhorn for my song Meaning Of Flowers, which is all about my decision to become a living organ donor and give one of my kidneys to my husband James – and I just burst into tears it was so achingly beautiful and perfect!

What, or who, inspires you? 

Human beings and Life inspires me. I think although we have become increasingly aware of the problems we face in our world, we have such wonderful technology and incredibly creative, inventive and caring people in our world – I witnessed the care factor all through James’ chronic illness and the work of the Nurses, Doctors, surgeons and administrators at Monash Health.

I guess I take it for granted that obviously James (my husband) inspires me…which is why I became an organ donor, to keep him around. He plays gorgeous guitar around our home as a daily occurrence and he’s so stoic, worked his day job all the way through his illness – took his laptop in to type out work emails with one hand while getting his blood cleaned through the other arm. He’s quick witted. and funny and keeps me well engaged to living the best life we can together.

I’m inspired by all my friends and in particular Paulie Stewart who has had a liver transplant and really reached out to offer support to James and me during our darkest hours.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Anthem by Leonard Cohen

Photo by Ross Green

What’s next for you?

Releasing more singles from Junction, making more video clips, playing more gigs to connect the songs with their rightful live audience. Promoting the music and organ donation as well as endorsing choices and activities for balanced wellness. I’m writing a book about the kidney donation journey. Recording more music playing live as much as possible. And hopefully going overseas once James and I get the medical all clear to travel.

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

Wholefood. Fresh organically grown, nurturing health and well being with natural flavours, spices and chilli.

What’s your scene?

My scene is walking in Nature, inhaling the feel good scent of the trees then playing songs around a campfire with my friends, or if raining, indoors in a bespoke pub/venue with excellent stage and production.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON FIONA LEE MAYNARD’s music, gigs, news, visit: bandcamp  Facebook

BEGGARS FOR LOVE will be premiered here, at What’s My Scene, on Wednesday 22 May at 12 noon:

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.