EVERY time a new FiFi Rong song comes along…
I cannot wait to investigate it. The Same Road has already scooped positive feedback and praise from fans and journalists. Future Never Comes was her previous song and, sat alongside The Same Road, signals new ground and sounds for the London-based artist. Rong fills her songs with mesmeric vocals, a mix of Chinese heritage and British sounds; genres like Electronica, Jazz and Dub-Step. That unearthly and ethereal quality has been employed by a few songwriters but few have the authenticity and naturalness of FiFi Rong. She has established herself as an incredible live proposition and is one of the most consistent, daring and exciting artists in the U.K. right now. Following successful E.P.s like (2015’s) Violently Silently and Forbidden Desires; I was eager to see how her music has progressed and whether a new single means another E.P./album will be forthcoming. She talks about the inspiration behind The Same Road; working with the likes of Skepta; the importance of PledgeMusic and her loyal fanbase.
Hi, FiFi, how are you? How has your week been?
I’m good! Thanks. I’ve been working on a few things and the week has gone by very quickly.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m an independent singer, songwriter and producer and I’ve been making music from start to finish of the production of my records – in my own home studio. My music is a blend of many unrelated elements from many different genres and various traditions. I experiment with anything that sounds good to me.
The Same Road is your new track. What can you tell me about is themes and inspiration?
The song is about my internal world of complications and fighting positive and negative thoughts; the determination to break free when I fall into negative patterns. It’s about my life, my creative life and the intricate connection between the two. I guess the opposite end of the same road I mentioned in the song is something to do with the art of happiness. Big topic.
It follows Future Never Comes. How do you think the tracks contrast, if at all, and have you noticed any changes in your songwriting between the two songs?
I had written many songs in between and lots of potential ones for my album.
Every song is different but they invariably come down to the same spirit and recurring theme.
Since you are asking, although these two songs are talking about two completely different times of my life: they both talk about internal paradox and resistance I carry while having the courage to keep moving forward.
The Same Road was mixed by Max Dingel – who has worked with The Killers and Muse (among others). What was it like working with him on that track?
He is lovely; wonderful to work with. Very professional and I learned a few tricks on mixing in the process. Would love to work with him more.
You have said this is a departure: a move from the leftfield experimentation of previous singles; embracing ‘80s Pop and Synth. whilst preserving that futuristic and individual values. Was it a conscious decision to change directions slightly or a need to try something new?
Mainly expand my horizon and challenge myself. I know I can make moody dark downtempo all day and all night long. But, as a creator and innovator, I can’t stay in one place: I have to keep growing to keep my excitement up for my potential.
In the past, you have worked with the likes of Skepta, Tricky and Yello. Any plans to collaborate with any other artists this year?
I am collaborating with my pledgers through my PledgeMusic campaign and that is a lot of fun. I’m open to new collaboration if it’s exciting and fun.
Now The Same Road is out; does this mean we can expect a new E.P. or album?
Yes. The work on my album has been ongoing and evolving and I have many songs to choose from – so it’s a good problem to have.
I’m trying to make my album as holistic, coherent yet versatile and multidimensional as possible.
I have the next single planned and flexible plans for an E.P.
You have recently returned from your showcase at SXSW and have The Great Escape to look forward to. What was SXSW like and are you excited by that Great Escape date?
SXSW was very intense, demanded a lot of energy. It was a great experience! It was a week of music on overdrive – not only was I there to perform four shows at very strange times but I was there to experience the whole thing; watching other bands and absorbing new experiences at the same time. Yes, I’m very excited and looking forward to Great Escape for the first time – and I get to look at the sea for a bit.
Journalists and fans have celebrated your work and taken you to heart. How important and motivating is that sort of patronage to you?
It is reassurance for the path I have chosen. I’m very pleased with those who really do understand me on a deep level as an artist and a person, through my music. They know me better, in fact.
I won’t be able to keep walking without people who keep listening to me.
What does the rest of the year hold for you – after touring and the single promotion?
I’m producing my album; running a pledge campaign for this and next single and I’ll be releasing the next single after releasing this one. Then I have a lot of fun PledgeMusic campaign stuff to do, as usual.
Who were the artists you grew up listening to and inspired your decision to go into music?
Teresa Tang; a lot of Chinese Rock; Cocteau Twins, Tricky; Mazzy Star, Pink Floyd; quite a bit of Sinéad O’Connor when I was little, would you believe.
If you each had to select the three albums that have meant most to you; which would they be and why?
This is not fair as they are so many… but here is what’s on top of my head…
Zhang Chu – 張楚–孤獨的人是可恥的
(Translation: it’s shameful to be a loner)
Tricky – Maxinquaye
Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas.
Are there any new/upcoming artists you advise we keep an eye out for this year at all?
Not exactly upcoming but I’m listening to 6LACK. He’s so good my heart aches listening to his music and his poetry.
What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?
Follow your truths, your inner-voice for your sound; your creation and your direction.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
6LACK – Prblms.
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