Something for your party playlists: Fí’s upbeat, catchy tunes are a crowd pleaser.
Meet Fí, a Dublin-based electro-pop artist from Mullingar.
Her love for music started out like many Irish kids - when she was dutifully sent to piano lessons as an 8-year-old. While she ultimately didn’t stick it out on the ivory keys (“I wish I kept it up,” she admitted) the brief introduction into the music was enough to capture her.
“Apart from that, I’m self taught. My uncle gave me money starting college and I wanted to get something fruitful so I bought a guitar,” she said. “I taught myself from a book and I just spent hours and hours teaching myself. Once I could properly play a song maybe two months in, I started messing about with melodies and something clicked. I instantly loved writing and creating and I have haven’t stopped since.”
Fí’s first single, "Éalú", was released earlier this year to rapturous applause. After positive reviews from radio stations and music blogs, she made the impulsive decision to go to Los Angeles. In the so-called city of angels, she co-wrote her new track "Feel Better" alongside
"songwriting royalty" Esjay Jones (who has worked with Nile Rogers and Sean Kingston). The song was recorded in LA with Shayan Amiri and mixed by Michael Heffernan in Dublin.
“My friends were going on short trips for the summer, so I decided to take the leap and travel solo,” she said. “I was in California for my J1 four years ago and I always told myself I’d go back to Los Angeles for music - even though at the time I wasn’t openly singing my original songs in front of anyone.”
Fí revealed she was also finding it tough to find a producer in Ireland - further compelling her to take the leap of faith and book the flight.
“I was listening to a podcast, And the Writer Is, where Ryan Tedder [of OneRepublic] was being interviewed and giving advice. He said, ‘Go to where the music is: London, LA or NY’. Los Angeles is brimming with so many talented producers, artists, songwriters, and guaranteed sun, so I just booked my flight hoping it would all naturally fall into place … and fortunately somehow it did!”
“The music scene over there is on a whole different scale,” she continued. “Songwriters do two sessions a day a lot of the time. It’s like clockwork, they write the song, record it, and it’s done. There’s no wonder why creative people move there from all over the world, when recording sessions are so readily available. The atmosphere is so collaborative and fun - and sometimes pressurising - to get the song completed in the given time.”
While in LA, Fí wrote “about 16 songs” - many of which she wrote, recorded, and produced all in the same day.
“I learned to not doubt myself as much, as I am [now] capable of writing a song off the cuff, on the spot, and still not jeopardise the quality of the song. I had never written with anyone before, and I was so used to my bedroom. Working with others was really exciting and enjoyable. Sharing your experiences and thoughts with songwriters you have just met is, in theory, kind of unusual but it can be cathartic and it was a really refreshing change from writing on my own.”
Despite having no connections or contacts, the solo trip paid off. Released yesterday, "Feel Better" is an electro-pop track that’s “tinged with dark alternative and atmospheric elements” - as Fí aptly describes.
“I learned that doing things that scare you makes you grow. The world is a big place and if you really want something, sometimes the journey can be a lonely one, but in the long run it’s worth taking risks to reap the rewards. It’s important to put yourself out there because at the end of the day, nobody is going to do that for you. I look back on it like, ‘Did that really happen?’ It feels like it was a dream but it’s something I’m proud of.”
Her sound has been influenced by a combination of eras including 90s pop (shoutout to Britney, Spice Girls, and Samantha Mumba) but also borrows from other female artists like Alanis Morissette and Gabrielle Aplin.
“I love a wide range of music but I guess you’re drawn to listen to the music you create,” she said. “I’d say Halsey was a major influence for my change in sound. I heard her first single years ago and instantly loved her music - well before her hit with The Chainsmokers. I love how poetic she is and the way she tells a story. It’s clear she has something to say. Other artists like Dua Lipa, Dagny, Verite, Allie X, and Tove Stryke are absolute pop queens who are doing their own thing, in their own right but all still different within the pop genre.”
It seems like asking Santa for karaoke machines as an ambitious seven-year-old and playing open mic gigs in Mullingar to a crowd of five people would hone not just her musical prowess, but also a level of self-assured confidence.
“It helped me get over the nerves and fear I previously had of performing and I guess I’ve grown since, the rest is history.
Next in the pipeline is a new release in January, more gigs - including a headline show in Whelans on December 13th (no biggie, right?!) - and simply “moving forward with [my] music.”