INsiders Guide: Exclusive Interview with L.A. Pop Phenomenon, Fiona Grey

LA pop phenom Fiona Grey is back with a new single, “Kerosene,”  Listen HERE. Kerosene is an edgy and introspective tune that seems perfectly made for the dark times we’re currently moving through as a society. It’s the first song following up her critically loved Cult Classic EP, a cinematic musical portrait of the ways we escape from our lives into an almost religious fascination with pop culture. Named the 2019 Best LA Pop Artist by LA Weekly, Grey’s new single turns inward as she examines the wreckage of a failing relationship, while at the same time crafting a song that perfectly resonates with our current pandemic world. “The edgy, explosive new single,” as Atwood Magazine calls it,  reflects how Grey “captures this sense of a world on fire, and the struggle to remain true to one’s desires in all the chaos.”

“Shut up and tell me what I want to hear,” the song’s opening line, expresses the sense of desperation and denial we all feel as we see the world around us sliding out of control. As the band kicks in to take us on an exuberant rock n roll journey, the chorus of, “It’s a fucked up world, I’m your fucked up girl!” is the perfect anthem of vulnerability for all of us surveying the messed up world we are living in today. Seldom has self-reflection sounded so universal. 

Perhaps it’s her Chicago roots, but Grey’s musical journey has been an active contrast to the stereotypical LA lunge for stardom. Her talent and ambition have earned her accomplishments many artists her age still yearn for, including performing at well-known venues like the Troubadour and the Echo in LA, and extended tours in the US and Europe, but she has earned them on her own terms, without succumbing to the arbitrary standards of the music industry. After graduating from the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, she released her debut EP “Striped Heart,” and follow up “Belladonna” on her own terms. Singles like “Beauty Queen” and “What You Want” received airplay on KCRW, KX935, KUCI and college radio stations around the country. Critically acclaimed videos and countless road miles followed, touring with acts like Charli XCX with Kitten, as she earned one fan at a time with her engaging performances. Her last EP, “Cult Classic,” was produced by Grammy award-winning Mike Schuppan (Paramore, M83, Ziggy Marley) and mastered by Dave Cooley (Fitz & The Tantrums, Stone Temple Pilots), and was a cinematic yet soulful tour de force. “With powerful vocals, live string instrumentation and a rock ‘n’ roll heartbeat, Grey invite listeners to tap into their own human emotions, taking them on a journey wrought with tenderness whilst also providing us with an anthem for contemporary lives.” -Wonky Sensitive

Her latest single, “Kerosene,” opens the next chapter of her journey with a roar, and “sees her blaze continuing to burn, a sultry sway of Motown-influenced rock that explodes into her trademark vulnerability“ that “celebrates the way we can break from destructive cycles both universal and personal.” (Atwood Magazine). While her sound has been described as “a mash-up of Charli XCX, Gwen Stefani and early Madonna,”  her career path might be better compared to artists like David Bowie because her awareness of who she is as an artist is so strong and unique. Her sound and vision are continuing to resonate with fans and critics alike. “Kerosene” seems fated to ignite the next phase of her promising young career, precisely because she’s not waiting around for the industry to make a name for her — she’s already got a name, and many more people are going to hear it.

I got the chance to chat to LA’s best pop artist, and here’s how it went down;

Hi Fiona welcome to OLC! How are you and how have you been coping during this crazy time?

F: Thank you! I’ve been holding up, it’s definitely a day by day thing. Happy to release music during this weird time – makes me feel less crazy.

So tell me how did you get started in music and has it always been a huge part of your life?

F: I got started earlier than most. I have a very musical family and started songwriting at a very young age. I released my first song at 6 years old – it was called Happy Lemons! I wrote it cause I thought my Lemonade stand needed a theme song.

You’ve lived in both L.A. and Chicago, love the Bulls by the way lol, how did living in those cities influence your music do you think?

F: Yes! I love that. I’m definitely a huge cubs fan! I feel very influenced by both those cities. I soak up so much of the insanity that is LA and then I run away to Chicago to write about it all.

LA Weekly named you the best pop artist in LA, how does something like that make you feel? Does it drive you to be even greater as a musician?

F: There’s so much about being an indie musician that is constantly discouraging, press like that reaffirms that the hard work is paying off. It definitely makes me wanna continue to strive to be better and better.

Let’s talk about your new single “Kerosene”, tell me about it and tell me what inspired it?

F: A relationship falling apart. It was me holding on to the last chance of hope I had while simultaneously examining the wreckage of a failing relationship. I wrote it right before going on tour, nothing like getting over someone while on the road for 5 weeks. I played the song almost every night, it was my therapy. Also falling in love with my tour manager helped.

Can we expect an EP to follow? And if so is there anything you can tell us about it?

F: Yes, you can! I’m very excited about this release. It’s the most honest piece of work I have to date. I had such a year of extreme life events from breakups, to falling in love, major tragedies and tons of happy moments in between. It’s about all the feeling that make life dynamic.

Your sound has been compared to the likes of Charli XCX, Gwen Stefani and early Madonna, are these artists that have influenced you at all?

F: They are three legends. So yes – but I think there always has to be a healthy balance between being inspired and emulating. When I’m writing it’s always about being the most genuinely myself.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

F: Touring and having people sing my songs is constantly my favorite. But having a billboard on Sunset Blvd was definitely the most memorable.

If you could record or tour with any artist currently who would you choose and why?

F: Ohh so many! I’d say Gaga would be my first choice to do anything with. It’s a childhood dream to record with Paul McCartney.

What are some albums or songs are you currently loving at the moment?

F: I’m in a huge Of Montreal kick. It’s Different For Girls has been on repeat. My roommate and I have been playing a lot of old Best Coast, there’s something about the weather getting hotter that makes me wanna listen to indie surf rock.

What does the rest of 2020 hold for Fiona Grey?

F: So many releases! Kerosene is out now + there will be a new music video for it out 5/7. After that expect another single, more video content & finally a new EP!

I’ve been setting up a live stream room in my house and am doing my best to adapt to the times.

Thanks for chatting with us, but before we go is there anything you’d love to say to all your fans out there?

F: Stay safe, wash your hands and stream Kerosene <3

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Written By: Neill Frazer

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