New Music: An Interview with Fiona Harte

Fiona Harte is a singer-songwriter from Tyrone whose new single ‘Auburn’ is out today. I had a chat with Fiona about the song, the video, Joni Mitchell and (of course) the lock down.

So, Auburn is released today. The video is fantastic, how was it organising so many dancers worldwide? 

Organising the video was really quite spur of the moment. I wrote and recorded the song to be released as part of the EP, and while scrolling on Instagram I started seeing all of these dancing videos. I love dance, and decided I would love to put together some visuals with dance to match the song. One of the videos I saw was a dancer under a sunset and it clicked that that was perfect for the lyrics. I started searching hashtags like #sunsetdancers and contacting people and ended up with several amazing dancers worldwide interested in the project. They choreographed the dances themselves. I guess with the lock down it gave us all a more collaborative piece to work on. 

Auburn is part of the ‘Home Recordings’ EP, a fitting title given the current situation. How are you finding lock down?

The EP is due to come out at the end of June. I’ll be releasing it single by single with Auburn being the second. I was originally hoping it would be out before then, but with everyone recording from home things have slowed down a little. 

This may be controversial but I sort of love the lock down, okay, maybe love is a strong word. I’m missing my friends and I’m missing gigging but I’m back in Tyrone after living in America last year and the peace and quiet of the countryside is so refreshing. I’m taking it in. I’ve had the chance to record music with other people virtually, which is obviously complicated but really fun. I think it’s all about having a good mindset about it, it’s the situation that we’re in and we kind of just have to get on with it. 

I love ‘Let me Know’ from your self titled album. It’s got such a catchy hook and the lyrics are so raw. How would you describe your song writing approach?

I always try to write and play at the same time. I sort of just play my piano or guitar and write as I go. I think it’s kind of a problem that I want to get over but I often write my songs before I know what they are about. Which I know is a weird way of doing things. I sort of look back on them when I’m done and go “Okay, that’s what this is about then” when it clicks. I’m starting to write more with other people, and I think right now when there isn’t a whole lot of the world to be experiencing it’s really important to get other people and perspectives involved so that I’m not just writing about one thing. I haven’t done many co-writes via zoom, so I’ll have to see how it goes.

I’ve read that two of your biggest inspirations were Amy Winehouse and Joni Mitchell. Where should fans of those artists start with your music? 

‘Auburn’ is more Joni Mitchell than Amy Whinehouse. It’s got the poetic feel in the lyrics and it’s softer. I think fans of Joni’s ‘Blue’ will like it in particular.  When I was first starting out I was more on the Amy Whinehouse/R&B side of things, but this is a bit more mellow. This song is all about storytelling. It’s got a strong sense of far away loves and leaving things behind. 

Have you got any big plans after the lockdown?

I was in the process of moving to London when the lock down was announced. I was there for about two weeks and then had to come back. I was planning on a UK tour and I had a few shows in Nashville booked, and I hope to return back to that plan as soon as it’s safe to do so.

You can listen to more of Fiona’s music on Spotify

Interview by Sam Dineen

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