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Moon landing

Emerging Dublin pop artist with a soulful edge Fia Moon told David Hennessy how making the move to London got her career kickstarted, about joining the Irish Women in Harmony for their Dreams cover and about singing on the Late Late Toy Show when she was only eight. 

If Covid-19 hadn’t ruined everyone’s summer, Fia Moon would be busy taking her brand of R&B tinged soul and dance to festivals right now. Instead, the Dublin singer-songwriter has scored chart hits with Better Days and XX. Better Days, released in April, was still in the Irish Homegrown Top 20 when follow-up was released in late July.

Fia told The Irish World: “I feel so humbled and taken aback by all the support for Better Days and XX.”

With a poignant chorus that pleaded, ‘Tell me there will be better days’, Better Days resonated more for being released in the middle of a lockdown. Fia told us this is because it came from a place of personal upheaval: “I wrote it when I was going through kind of a very strange and uncertain time. I had just gone through a breakup and I was moving house because I was living with the guy. I was going from temporary accommodation to temporary accommodation. I quit my job and everything was really uncertain and scary.

“I wrote Better Days when I didn’t know what my future was going to be and I was quite anxious and uprooted.

“It’s strange how it coincided with everyone seemingly going into this universal feeling of uncertainty and anxiety. I feel like even though the lyrics are quite deep and dark, it is ultimately a positive one. I’ve had so many messages and people being so kind and saying that it made them feel better.”

The track was accompanied by a video of Fia’s family, friends and happy times, including many when she was a child. She explains these are the things she loves and got her through that tough time.

“I personally found 2019 a really challenging year for me. I kind of thought what got me through 2019 was going out with my friends or watching home videos, speaking to my family, eating- I think there was a video of me stuffing my face with ice-cream or tiramisu or something ridiculous. There was a video of the sea, all the things that made me happy and made me realise there are going to be better days, not every day is going to be how I feel right now: I was happy in this moment and there will be more times like this.

“I just kind of thought, ‘I’m going to share what got me through and what I was so, so grateful for in a time when I really needed it’. I nearly drove myself insane trying to make that video because I’m by no means a video editor or anything like that at all.

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“My granny’s in it, my mum’s in it, my sister’s in it, my dad’s in it, the whole family gets a shout out and there was no waiver signed. I was like, ‘This is going out, you don’t have a choice in the matter’. Everyone was really sweet, all my friends were like, ‘Of course you can use it’.”

Although she has been based in London for years, Fia has been seeing out the lockdown in Ireland either with family in Mayo or Dublin. She took part in Epic Group’s recent Songs from an Empty Room. Her first live gig on 2020, this initiative was raising money for an arts industry that has been hit hard by the crisis.

“Thinking too much into the future is scary because we don’t know what businesses are going to survive in the live music industry because it’s a tough time.

“It was so amazing and I think that what they are raising awareness for was really important. It was for two charities, one was called Minding Creative Minds, they’re a charity that support creatives in lots of different ways. They offer support with counselling, free legal and financial advice. It’s something that we needed for so long. They’ve only just launched and this is the time when creatives need that support. Fifty per cent of all funds raised went to Minding Creative Minds and the other 50% went to The Association of Irish Stage Technicians that helps to support the people who are really in the shadows like the light technicians and the sound engineers, tour managers and all those people who literally have no other option. They can’t look for a new job because that’s their skill set and there’s no work in that field. It’s awful. It was very special to be involved in that and to get back with a couple of guys in my band.”

Fia made the move to London from Dublin three years ago when she got offered a job here that had nothing to do with music. Although she wasn’t sure if it was what she wanted, it led to her breaking into the music industry.

“I actually had no aspiration of going to London, I was going along with it. Then in a few weeks I had moved and I found myself there and not really knowing what the hell I was doing and not knowing where to live. London is quite scary when you don’t know.

“When I first moved to London, I found this guy on spare room. This guy who I moved in with ended up being a wonderful person and I told him about my music and stuff and he was like, ‘Oh my God, my friend is on tour supporting Ed Sheeran at the moment and my other friend is a producer. I should totally introduce you guys’. And he introduced me to Dan Dare and Ryan Keen. Those were the first two guys I ever met in London and Dan was the first guy I ever worked with to write my own material.

“Had I not moved to London, found this random guy on Spare Room and made that connection, maybe things would be different. Honestly, I kind of pinch myself sometimes thinking how different it could have been.”

Although she says she has been loving the time she has spent at home during this crisis, the singer also says London has grown on her despite it initially being a bit daunting.

“I do like London, there’s a lot of opportunities there. Last year I started working with loads of new people and it was brilliant to be based there but I think with lockdown has made me realise how much you can actually achieve on your own. I actually really want to learn how to produce my own stuff.”

Fia was honoured to be asked to join RuthAnne and the Irish Women in Harmony’s successful cover of Dreams in aid of Safe Ireland.

She tells us she had no hesitancy at all in getting involved: “Honestly, I got this message pop up on my Instagram and I think within one minute I was like, ‘Yes, yes, yes’. I don’t think I even finished reading her sentence. I was like, ‘I’m in’. Everything that it stood for, bringing together the women of the industry, so many I already admired, it would have been a dream to collaborate with them anyway- and the fact that it was raising funds for a domestic abuse charity was just so incredible.

“It’s kind of your worst nightmare to be in a household where there is that sort of abuse whether you’re a woman, man or child. It’s a very scary time and they were saying that Safe Ireland had a 25% increase in calls and it just felt like it was so needed.

“I don’t think any of us had any idea how it was going to be received. I definitely didn’t know it was going to get millions of views and I don’t think any of us expected it. It was such an honour and a privilege to be part of it and it’s such a warm community. Genuinely we’re all so supportive of each other and it’s just amazing. RuthAnne is just a powerhouse. She’s someone I seriously look up to because she just knows what she’s doing. I’m just in awe of her work really. I’m just a fangirl and to get to do that with her was so cool. All of the women are powerhouses.

“I think there are big plans to expand. We’re not the only Irish women in the industry. There’s definitely more that are going to get involved further down the line so it’s really, really exciting actually.”

Although Fia speaks about Songs From An Empty Room being her first TV appearance, The Irish World happens to know she once sang on the Late Late.

“Who gave you that information?” She laughs.

“I totally forgot I had let that slip. I was on the Late Late Toy Show when I was eight and I was one of the first children to present and also sing. I had this Barbie karaoke machine and I was demoing all the different toys, I picked up the karaoke machine and sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow. That was my first TV performance.”

Growing up in a very musical house, Fia doesn’t remember a time when she was not singing.

“I used to sing a lot when I was younger. Someone asked me, ‘How did I get into singing? I know it sounds really cliché but ever since I could speak. I used to sing all the time just to soothe myself if I was sad. I used to sing all the time, I still do obviously.”

XX is out now.

For more information, search Fia Moon on Facebook.

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