An interview with Dark Pop singer/songwriter, Fiona Grey
by Mike Huberty
Fiona Grey on the cover of Maximum Ink for September 2018
Fiona Grey is modern Top 40-ready Pop with a million dollar voice. Passionate and powerful, this Chicagoland native went west to LA to find her muse and has found success on a national tour with the band KITTEN (opening for huge artists like CHARLI XCX). Striking out on her own with her EP, Belladona, she’s following it up with a new EP Cult Classic coming out September 14th as well as a full North American tour. Her and her band are stopping by the Wisco on Sunday September 9th to play a show in Madison (this might be the only time that you get to see a mainstream-style Pop band at the Wisco, so it’s definitely gonna be something different for that place!) We talked to her about what everyone can expect for a Sunday night party on Willy Street.
MI: What was it that drove you to music and songwriting?
FG: I’ve been singing and writing music since I was a kid. It was always what I did as play. I used to walk around with a cassette player and sing ideas in it all day long. I was really big in the musical theatre world and for me making music now is almost like having my own musician theatre show but with all songs about things I’ve experienced.
MI: Any particular favorite artists or influences when you first got into music?
FG: I listened to a wide variety of music but my favorites would probably range from Squeeze to Sheryl Crow. And of course, I’m a 90s kid so Spice Girls, Britney, and No Doubt!
MI: What was KITTEN? What made you wanna go solo after being in a band?
FG: KITTEN is my close friend Chloe’s project. I jumped on a tour with them right out of high school. It was a really great experience and gave me great platform to start making more solo music when I go off the tour. She’s also an insane performer and having an opportunity to support another artist on stage versus always being the front women was a really fun experience!
MI: What song is the perfect intro for people to learn what Fiona Grey is all about?
FG: Depends on their mood! If you want a fun dance song “Dirty Dream.” If you’re in a sexier darker mood then definitely “Money.” Those two songs show the range of my music.
“Dirty Dream” was all about dancing through a break up. At the root its a song I wrote when I was really sad when we got in the studio I had this idea to make it more of a disco pop track versus a ballad. “Money” is about the vices we escape in. It’s was inspired by the Kardashian hierarchy and the ways we are influenced by pop culture.
MI: Belladonna is the name of your EP. It’s one of those words that has several meanings (with the “beautiful lady” part of it and the poisonous plant part of it…), is there any specific meaning you were going for? Is there any kind of through line or theme that goes through the EP?
FG: Yeah! Belladonna was my sophomore EP I released a couple years back. Belladonna is a flower that looks beautiful but when you touch it it’s lethal. The record is all about the beautiful things that hurt you the most. Cult Classic is my new EP. Cult Classic is all about our religious infatuation with pop culture.
MI: What’s a Fiona Grey live show like? It’s hard to reproduce Modern Pop live. Do you have a whole band, DJ, etc…?
FG: It’s very theatrical! I have a full band, tracks and sometimes dancers! The LA shows are the biggest this past week we had a release show with a 14 piece band : full string quartet, sax, dancers, two background singers! We sadly can’t tour with 14 people…yet! However, we’re still gonna have a great show in Madison on September 9th!
MI: Have you played in Madison before and have any favorite spots or memories?
FG: I love Madison. I’ve played the Frequency (RIP)! My family lives in Madison and I love coming out in the summer and laying out on their boat! It’s such a beautiful vibrant town! I love walking around the town center and thrift shopping! I always find such cute cloth
CD: Cult Classic Record Label: Waterdog Records
• Purchase Cult Classic on Amazon