Soulful, talented and genuine - just a few of the words that spring to mind after interviewing Irish singer-songwriter Fia Moon. The Dublin-born, London-based artist’s blend of R&B tinged alt-pop has drawn comparisons to the likes of Halsey, Jhene Aiko, Banks and Snoh Aalegra.
Fia has a long-standing affinity for music, having performed in bars, restaurants and venues since the age of five and surrounded by music thanks to her parents, who are of Irish and Italian heritage, her father a classically trained musician and her mother a music teacher. Gigging while studying in Dublin and developing her sound before she made the jump to move to London. It was a move that most certainly paid off, seeing Fia take her music far beyond her homeland.
Last year she completed the festival season in Ireland having played at a string of well-revered festivals as well as support slots with popular Irish bands Wild Youth, The Coronas and LAOISE, alongside performances on Sofar Sounds London and viral YouTube channel Mahogany have also highlighted her undoubted potential.
Despite plans being put on hold due to lockdown, Fia defiantly surpassed the set-backs of the pandemic to make 2020 another standout year, adding to her already burgeoning reputation as one of the most promising artists around.
She exhibits her impressively positive approach to the pandemic when asked about it, replying: “In a strange way it’s given me much more confidence in my ability. Before I would rely quite heavily on other people, but now I actually have things like my own mic. I have a means of recording into it, I’m able to do what I’ve always wanted, I’ve realised I really love recording in the comfort of my own space. I much prefer recording vocals in that kind of set up, it’s genuinely your space.”
She has marked her return with a six-track mixtape of heartfelt anthems exploring the emotional struggles of a break-up, that is profoundly relatable for listeners. The first single ‘better days’ catapulted her into the music scene both in Ireland and abroad. Since its release in April, the song has amassed a truly national audience. Fia was also placed on the cover of Spotify’s editorial playlist 'A Breath of Fresh Eire' and added to six editorial playlists including ‘New Music Friday UK’- total of which boasts a whopping two million followers.
Fia was proudly part of ‘The Irish Women Harmony’, who in June 2020 released a collaborative charity cover single of The Cranberries’ classic 'Dreams' to huge success. The 39 female Irish artists and musicians involved used their voices in aid of Safe Ireland. When talking about how it felt to be involved Fia admitted: “I honestly was just so honoured to be any part of it. Ruth Anne is just so incredibly talented. It was never a question to get involved, I’d never been involved in something like this before.”
On its release, the single went to No.1 on the Irish Homegrown Official Charts (first female act to ever get top spot on this chart), the most downloaded track outselling the entire Top 20 and hit over six million radio impacts on Irish radio in its first week of release. Despite the success it was a bittersweet moment for Fia who admitted: “I couldn’t quite believe we were actually the first ever female number 1 on the Irish Homegrown charts which was incredible, but also kind of shocking. How was it that we were the first female group to make No. 1 in the homegrown charts? There is something wrong there in itself. It was a bitter sweet moment, I couldn’t quite believe it was only happening now.”
This is symbolic of a much wider issue within the music industry, with a recent Gender Disparity Data report for example finding that only 19 percent of the top 100 songs by British acts on the UK airplay chart between January 1st and August 15th were by female artists, compared to 51 percent by males and 30 percent by mixed-gender collaborations.
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Almost straight after the success of her feature with Irish Women In Harmony and the release of ‘Better Days’, Fia set out to build on the incredible momentum she had by releasing ‘XX’. The single is - in our eyes and ears - her best release to date, having gained an incredible amount of praise online after an acoustic rendition was released on Instagram. Blown away by the reaction, Fia comments: “It’s been amazing, especially with the acoustic version. I’ve had so many lovely messages”.
The original track sees Fia take an entirely different approach embracing an electronic style of production. “It was so different, it was the opposite, normally you write a song and you do it acoustically. For this track it was the complete opposite, the day I got the demo I’d already started the production. It’s been fun to try out something new, it’s definitely opened up my mind to try different things.”
The success of releases like ‘XX’ have accompanied a TV debut, countless radio plays and an amass of media attention. Fia’s incredible work ethic, humble demeanour and natural talent make her a front runner in Ireland’s thriving music scene, paving the way for what it means to be an artist in 2020.
Words: Josh Crowe
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