“One of the brightest lights in the contemporary instrumental genre, Fiona Joy is poised to move into stardom.” - Will Ackerman, Founder of Windham Hill Records.
Winner of the ZMR internationally voted radio awards for Best Instrumental Piano Album, Fiona Joy was also the 2013 Runner up for Best Instrumental Song in the International Acoustic Music Awards and was also named Best New Age Artist for 2013 by All Stars Radio. After touring extensively in the US and Australia, Fiona earned a nomination along with Pete Seeger for Best LIVE Performance album in the Independent Music Awards.
Fiona Joy Hawkins 5 questions 04082020
"What is it about 'music' that made you want to pursue a career?"
Music is something that goes so deep its part of who I am and something I couldn’t keep ignoring. It took me till I was 38 to go into the recording studio for the first time even though I started writing music at the age of 8. I remember lying in front of the record player listening to Ravel’s Bolero around that age and just falling in love with it. I was fascinated by the ‘build’ and how it changed so much when the instrumentation changed. I tried to deconstruct it to work out why it made me feel like I did. There is something about music that I can’t walk away from or ignore, something that drives me to work very hard at it. It goes beyond passion and has nothing to do with fame or fortune. Its either an underlying need to create and leave a legacy or maybe just the need to share what I have to give. My music isn’t for everyone and that doesn’t bother me, I just need enough audience to feel I have permission to keep going.
"Who have been your musical influences?"
Ravel. Prokofiev. Chopin. George Winston. Will Ackerman. It’s a peripheral thing, you listen to music you love, soak it up and use the emotional connection to spur you on to create something of your own. There is nothing directly in my work that suggests any of these ‘influences’ but they have all shaped my listening and career in one way or another.
"Can you tell us a story about your teachers or musical mentors?"
I spent many years loving Windham Hill and had written to Will Ackerman several times. I never heard anything back. Then I read somewhere that he said there were 5 million George Winston wannabees in the world and every one of them had contacted him. I figured I was just another wannabee and resigned myself to the possibility that I would never advance my career. There were lots of other obstacles in my life at the time so it wasn’t a simple decision just to ‘give it ago’. I was following the early advice from CDbaby who suggested New Age artists should send work to the New Age Reporter radio stations where you could chart if your work was good enough. I debuted at #1 and was completely surprised when the next album did the same and was also nominated in the top 4 for Piano Album of the Year. George Winston was also a finalist.
That’s when I got an email from Will Ackerman saying I really needed to record on a piano (my albums were keyboard) and would I like to visit Imaginary Road Studios. That was the catalyst to record Blue Dream and its been a wonderful journey from there.
"If you could set up a perfect musical concert, where would it be and who would perform?"
I dream about this all the time and there is no one answer. I think the single dream I return to most is the one in Sydney Opera House where I’m not even playing, I’m in the audience and they orchestra and pianist are performing my music. That really would be a dream come true.
"If you had to choose another career pursuit, what would it be?"
I love art. I love painting, curating, selling and collecting art (collecting is limited to friend’s art). The dream would be to own a gallery, paint and sell my own art as well as artists I admire. I prefer contemporary art and I enjoy working with other artists, they are all slightly crazy, but I love the creative temperament. I’m not delusional enough to think I would ever be a great painter (I’m a much better musician) , but I enjoy it very much and owning/running a gallery would certainly keep me happy.