Fiona Joy

  • MuzicNotez: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us.
    What motivated you to start creating music? What age did you begin?

    • Fiona Joy: Thanks, it’s awesome to talk with MuzicNotez. My Mother was 17 when I was born in a small coal mining town in NSW Australia – and so My Grandmother moved in to look after me. The motivation was falling in love with the beautiful old German iron frame piano that she arrived with. I was eight years old and knew straight away that was my calling. There weren’t a lot of opportunities, but one day I got an email from Will Ackerman (Founder of Windham Hill Records) who had heard one of my earlier keyboard albums. He said I should come and record on this Steinway. Doors kept opening and here I am!
  • MuzicNotez: Who were your musical influences, idols, or bands growing up that have helped mold you into the musician you are today? Or helped mold the music that you create?
    • Fiona Joy: As a child I would lie in front of the turntable and listen to Ravel’s Bolero. I was fascinated with the build, I deconstructed all the layers to enable me to understand how the composer achieved the emotional build with the instrumentation.

      I love Michael Nymann and have always dreamed one day they would take The Piano (film) to the stage and I would play the lead! LOL I love Prokofiev and would dance ballet around the house to his music. I think of myself as a story-teller and so it was always that idea of being able to convey a message via music that interested me. A kind of synchronicity where you take an image, an emotion or a story and turn it into a piece of music.

      I adored Queen, Paul McCartney & Wings (I wore out side A of Band on the Run) and anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I also loved America, The Eagles and Janis Ian. An odd mix I know, but each of those artists had something that spoke to me.

  • MuzicNotez: What’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve, or for you to achieve in your career as a musician? Any particular message you wish to send?
    • Fiona Joy: There is a song called ‘Grace’ on my new album and it came about because a fan emailed me with a story about how she had a still born baby girl ten years ago and had called her Grace, and she listened to my music to help her recover. It’s now ten years later and she has six year old Sophie Grace and together they listen to my music to remember her baby sister.

      That said everything to me. The most I can hope for is to touch people’s lives enough to help them in some way. The second thing I got from this was that my music had longevity and that means more than instant success, music of value needs to stay around long enough to leave some sort of print.

  • MuzicNotez: What’s the greatest concert you’ve ever been to or performed?
    • Fiona Joy: I saw Leonard Cohen in the Hunter Valley in NSW (wine country). It was under a starry sky with my new boyfriend (now husband) and I’ll never forget it, it was a magical evening. My own favourite concerts have all been in China, the audiences are big, the venues are stunning and the children are adorable.
  • MuzicNotez: You recently released the new album ‘Signature Synchronicity’, what was the inspiration behind this release?
    • Fiona Joy: I wanted to write about modern day fairy-tales from an adult perspective. Putting stories of life and love into fairy-tale settings gives a totally different and surreal way of looking at things. There are princesses, dragons, rainbows, magic, and an invisible train from a childhood obsession with the story of the little red caboose. The album is part of a series, the first album was the same 10 songs recorded as solo piano on an 85 key 1879 Steinway in single takes. Signature Synchronicity was recorded on a 97 key Australian Stuart and Sons piano in the studio environment with editing, overdubs, lyrics and full orchestration. The idea of changing worlds interests me – its synchronicity.

  • MuzicNotez: You won the ZMR music award for ‘Best Piano Album’, how does it feel to be validated like that?
    • Fiona Joy: Thats exactly the word – ‘validation’, and it says to me that its ok to keep going, there is an audience and also a kind of permission to pursue this crazy career. I wasn’t expecting it because the competition was big so I didn’t prepare a speech. I can play and talk to 1,200 people cool as a cucumber, but giving an award speech I was shaking like a leaf. Whats with that?
  • MuzicNotez: You have a problem in your left hand that could have prevented you from creating your music, could you please tell us more about that and how it’s going?
    • Fiona Joy: I have osteonecrosis in my left hand (bone death). There is some confusion as to whether its degenerative or not and so I live with a time bomb. So far so good. There is an operation that would coat it with a form of metal to protect it from breaking down and going into the joints (which would prevent me from using it), but the Surgeon suggested that while ever I can still play – I do nothing! Its stiff at times and can also be painful, but I’m determined to keep going. He takes my hand X-ray and a copy of one of my albums and holds them up at the same time when he teaches at universities around the world. They shake their heads in disbelief. He says I’m defying medicine! Others may say ‘no pain no brain’ LOL. This is the magic that inspired me to do an album based on fairy-tales.
  • MuzicNotez: What else are you working on? What can we expect to see and hear from you in the future?
    • Fiona Joy: I’m part of a new group that includes Will Ackerman (Founder of Windham Hill Records). There are four of us and its called FLOW. Its Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster and Will Ackerman. We record this year and hope to release in 2017 along with a tour. I also have another hi def solo piano album coming out in various formats with Blue Coast Records (content partners with Sony).

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