- 16 Sep 21
Streaming sensation Fia Moon on her ambition to make the big leagues. Photo: Joachim Plançon
On the day her new single ‘Simple’ was released, Fia Moon suffered a bad case of release-day jitters. It was her first single since January, and she was concerned about how it might be received in a rapidly-changing music world. In under a week, it had earned nearly 10,000 streams on Spotify – and she could breathe a sigh of relief.
“You build up releasing stuff in your head,” says the singer now, “and when it’s out, it’s not really that different. But it’s nice to have other people listen to it – it feels good to put it out into the universe.”
‘Simple’ was premiered by Tracy Clifford on 2fm, and hearing it played on the radio was an emotional experience for Moon. “I was freaking out,” she laughs.
The song is about the unnecessary duplicity that too often poisons relationships. Its sober subject notwithstanding, for Moon, ‘Simple’ proved a happy recording experience.
“The reaction so far has been really lovely and really positive,” she says. “It’s a different side to my music. It’s upbeat.”
Written over Zoom in collaboration with Bill Maybury and Austin Ward, only the vocals were recorded in person, in Dublin’s Clinic studios.
“Logistically, this might have become the most difficult song to put together,” Moon reflects. “Bill was based in Cork at the time, Austin was in Mississippi, and I was in Dublin. We were writing over Zoom with dodgy wi-fi. But it turned out to be the most pain-free song I’ve ever put together. Everything just fit into place.”
The song benefited from the fact that three writers were involved, each bringing their own experience of love to the table.
“We were all coming to it from a different perspective,” Moon admits. “I was speaking about this relationship I was experiencing, and the dynamic of where I was at, but Austin was in a new relationship, so he had a different perspective again – he was really open about the topic of love. Bill is great at guiding me in what I want to say.”
Austin Ward also produced the track.
“I’m normally very involved with the production side of things,” Moon says, “but with Austin, we didn’t have to go back and forth too much. Everything he did I loved. You have to be more decisive making music virtually. When you’re all in the studio together, you can ask ‘Can you try this?’, ‘What does this sound like?’ and ‘What about that?’ Whereas going back and forth on an email thread, everyone takes time to digest it on their own. They give a well thought-out response instead of just bouncing off each other.”
The uplifting anthem ‘Better Days’ earned Moon a spot on the Songs From An Empty Room virtual gig line-up, which raised hundreds of thousands for those in the creative industries.
“I was really nervous about that,” she laughs. “I was living in Mayo for the first few months of lockdown, and so it was 0 to 100. I just put ‘Better Days’ out, and suddenly I was going to be in a room full of people.
Everyone was in masks – there was no real audience – but there was this huge camera crew. It was my first time performing on television, as well as my first time performing ‘Better Days’ live. When I did The Late Late Show, after that, I was far more comfortable in front of a camera. I knew how everything operated.
“My highlight of the year was being involved with that,” she adds. “To actually raise money for things that were very important to me helped me stay motivated.”
During her time in college, Fia had worked the Dublin gigging circuit, performing in bars and restaurants. However, after graduating, she moved to London.
“I’d gotten a job unrelated to music and it funded my move,” she says. “I had been hitting a bit of a wall gigging, because while I loved music, it didn’t feel right. I always knew I wanted to pursue a music career, but I didn’t know anyone in the music industry in Ireland. In London, I moved into a temporary room before I sorted myself out. I made friends with my roommate and told him about my music. It transpired that, of his two best friends, one was on tour with Ed Sheeran as support. Another was a producer – a guy called Dan Dyer. It was very serendipitous. I was lucky the first guys I met in London were in the music industry. As it turned out, the first four songs I wrote were with Dan, and he produced them too.
“It would have been very difficult for me to have known where to begin in London, had I not made those connections early on. It can be lonely. It’s so much bigger and so much more anonymous; you could sell out a
show here and sell five tickets in London. It’s a different world.”
Missing Ireland’s warmth and familiarity, Moon was able to return home – but London still holds an allure for some.
“I can understand why people are going to London or moving abroad, especially now,” she admits. “There hasn’t been an industry here for nearly two years. It’s brilliant to be part of the Irish scene now I’ve met other people, but with music, you don’t know what’s going to connect or what’s not. You have to make sure that you don’t have any expectations, because if you do, you’re bound to be disappointed. That’s what I’ve learnt. My biggest barrier in putting stuff out was my confidence. Learning to trust my intuition, and not to ask for too many people’s opinions, has changed the game.
“It’s your music, your craft. There isn’t any right or wrong – you don’t have to do a particular style or jump on a particular trend. Making music you’re passionate about is what’s important.”
Moon emphasises how tough it is pursuing music professionally.
“I released a song at the beginning of this year,” she says, “and it has such a deep meaning for me. It’s my heart and soul. It’s mad to think that piece of music could be considered old, and that people are looking for the next thing. But that piece of music is going to live forever: it’s always going to be important to me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised how personal my music is. I’m learning who I am as a person as well as who I am as an artist.”
Moon has two shows coming up in September, as part of the Autumn Air Festival.
“I’m just so happy to have a gig, whether it’s a livestream or in person,” she enthuses. “I did a livestream from Cyprus Avenue and that was such a fun day out. There was a mini audience of the staff and the lighting engineer and sound engineer. It’s good to ease back in. I am so excited about the Autumn Air festival. It will be my first time playing all my new music. It’s a little nerve-wracking after so long, but I can’t wait.”
•Fia Moon’s single, ‘Simple’ is out now.