- 26 Sep 22
‘Like Loving Jesus’ is the name of FYA FOX’s new single but it isn't actually about Jesus. During our conversation, the emerging pop artist discussed her inspirations behind the moody track, love for London Grammar, headline gig at Workman's in November, and the dark side of the music business...
“Sit for hours counting daisies, like picking petals gonna save me now,” FYA FOX sings on her powerful new single ‘Like Loving Jesus’. It is a raw and emotional track, brought to perfection by her crystal-clear vocals. It is also her third song of the year.
With the release of ‘Hit Me Where It Hurts’ and ‘BUSY’, as well as playing some of her first festivals, the summer has been rather busy (no pun intended) for the Armagh native. However, FYA revealed that events behind the scenes pre-Covid actually forced her recent productivity.
“I had been working with these producers for three years and they kept putting me off and kept pushing it out and I was a little bit naive working with them because I had never done it before,” she explained, dressed in a striped knitted top and wearing golden and pearl necklaces. “Long story short, one of them wanted to manage me and control everything I was doing, everything I was saying. He would comment on what I was wearing in the studio... So then for three years, I never put out any music when I should have been releasing.”
The collaboration came to an “ugly end” just before the onset of the pandemic and indirectly influenced her most recent work. Describing her sound as alternative pop or electropop, FYA drew attention to the moody pre-chorus and verses of ‘Like Loving Jesus’, which was written with Bill Maybury and Matthew Weir over Zoom during lockdown. The chorus, however, “comes in with a bang”, she smiled.
“I wrote it at a time when the music industry had shut down, and I was in a frame of mind going, 'What am I doing with my life?' I'd put so much into the music industry, and I just felt like I wasn't getting anything back,” FYA explained the inspiration behind her track, adding that the religious angle is more of a metaphor. “It was something we drew on for this song. We were trying to think of a concept that would be relatable to other people and so many people of different faiths give so much to their faith, or believe so much in something.”
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Suffice it to say, the music industry, and in particular the live music scene, took a big hit during the pandemic. However, the time also helped FYA FOX get back on track and release her debut single, the altpop anthem 'White Lies' in November 2020. “It grounded me a little and re-centred my focus, because before Covid my brain was like a spider diagram and I didn't know what I was focusing on, or what I was meant to be focusing on,” the singer explained. This summer, she played the BBC Introducing Stage at Output Belfast as well as Sult and Stendhal festivals.
Despite her rural upbringing on the border between Armagh and Monaghan, where country music is all the rage, FYA was obsessed with the pop music scene from a young age. “Everyone on my Instagram or Snapchat was like, ‘Garth Brooks, Garth Brooks, Garth Brooks’,” she laughed, recalling the country superstar’s five-show run at Dublin’s Croke Park in September. “I hope that there’s this many of you who show up to my show in November” – that is, FYA FOX’s headline gig at The Workman's Cellar on 5th November 2022.
In terms of her own music, the classically trained vocalist finds it hard to pinpoint where she fits in genre-wise. With musical inspirations like London Grammar, Lana Del Rey, SZA (“I just love her tone and her voice”), Florence + the Machine, and FKA twigs (“I think she’s insane live”), she’s always felt a bit out of place because she didn’t have a typical pop voice.
“I always had a love-hate relationship with my vocal, because I would have been obsessed with other pop singers and then I was always like, ‘I don't sound like that’,” FYA explained. “That's why vocalists like Hannah Reid [of London Grammar] or even Florence + the Machine made me feel more like, 'Oh, yeah, I can fit in here. I can find my little space in this little world.'
“Classical training definitely helps with breathing and your diaphragm, and all of the technique bits and bobs. The longer I do this, or the more that I release music, the more I am at peace with my own vocal,” she added, admitting that she is in fact her own worst critic.
Who are the Irish artists that FYA listens to? “The talent here at the minute is just insane. It always is,” the singer smiled, naming CMAT, Moncrieff, Hozier and Kildare R&B singer April as some of her favourite Irish musicians at the moment. FYA also attended the Hot Press X [email protected] event with Dublin rapper Malaki earlier this month, which left her in awe of Malaki’s spectacular performance.
“That was the first time I’d ever seen him live. I was just standing there going, ‘Wow, he's insane. He's just so powerful.’ I came away from the gig and the whole way home I listened to all his music on Spotify,” she said. Hot Press is set to present another highly anticipated live music event in One Windmill Lane on October 6th, where The Coronas will take to the stage on the eve of the release of their new album Time Stopped.
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Speaking of gigs, FYA FOX has plenty in store for her headline show at The Workman's Cellar on 5th November 2022. “I can't wait. It's gonna be insane,” she enthused. “My first headline show upstairs at Whelan's last November was unreal, like the room was absolutely packed. It was sold out. I'm hoping for a big turnout but it's a bigger room this time, so it's a bit scary.”
What can fans expect? “It will be my full band, so there'll be me and the two guys... Just everybody coming together, having a good time! I would love to make this show in November really, really special,” the artist said, having supported British singer-songwriter Lola Young and Brooklyn electro-pop duo Water From Your Eyes earlier this year. FYA FOX is gearing up to play Live at Leeds on 15th October and will start rehearsals for her headline show shortly after.
With so much going on, it is key to unwind from time to time. According to FYA, mountain biking is the way to go. “You're just totally focused on what you're doing. I would go running as well, but I find that you still have time to be overthinking about everything. But when you’re mountain biking, you're so focused, it’s like, 'Don't fall, don't kill yourself’,” she laughed, adding that she had the best time on a recent trip to the Austrian mountains.
As we're approaching the final months of the year, FYA FOX announced big plans for 2023. “I’m thinking about releasing an EP but I’m not sure. Potentially an EP, definitely new music. There's always new music,” she smiled. Plenty to look forward to!
Get tickets for FYA FOX at The Workman's Cellar at 8pm on 5th November 2022 here.
Tickets €14.90 incl. booking fee.
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