Interview with ICMP MA songwriting student Fiona Huang
We quiz our MA songwriting student Fiona Huang on London life and musical career to date...
ICMP MA Songwriting student Fiona Huang is a burgeoning musical talent with an exciting future ahead.
It's been an ace year for Fiona so far. She reached the semi-final of the B-Side Project, a global remixing competition that matches artists with producers and has featured on producer Dizparity's track 'Come Closer'.
We caught up with our international student to learn more about her London life and musical career to date...
How did you start your musical journey?
I started playing the piano at a very young age. I have quite a solid classical music background but I always found myself aspiring to pop and electronic dance music. Then when I was 18, I heard the track, 'In And Out Of Love' by Armin Van Buuren. It made me want to start learning how to make tracks in a digital audio workstation. I set up my little home studio to figure out how to write songs and pursue a pop/contemporary music career. Although I’m not playing classical music anymore, my education was important as it gave me some good ear training and music theory knowledge.
As an international student, what drew you to ICMP to study? What attracted you to London in the first place?
The MA Songwriting course was the main reason I came to ICMP. I wanted to take my songwriting skills to the next level and the course is completely focused on that. Also, ICMP has a great relationship with the music industry. That's important to me.
I've always been drawn to the UK. I love the culture and artistic vibe here, and the music industry is based in London so it meant coming here to study was a no-brainer."
What has been the biggest surprise about studying in London?
I didn’t know London could influence my life so much. London has not only helped me grow as an artist but also as a person. There are so many music professionals here and there are always so many things to learn from them. I also learn a lot from my peers as well. I really love the people here and London is always so artistic and inspirational: there are always gigs, new exhibitions and events going on. It's exciting.
How did you prepare to spend time studying music at ICMP?
I didn’t plan much before the course started. However, music and career are the most important things to me now so I spend most of my time writing songs. I also spend some of my time attending ICMP events such as Songwriters' Circles and masterclasses. It all feeds into my musical career.
You recently worked with Dizparity on a track - can you explain a little about the collaboration?
Dizparity is a very talented electronic music DJ/producer friend of mine. I have known him for quite a while. It’s funny that we are both from Taiwan but we met at a music festival at the Roundhouse in London two years ago. We have been talking about collaborating for a long time and finally we collaborated on the track, 'Come Closer'. I was lucky enough to be invited by him to write and record the track in Konk Studios, the recording studio founded by The Kinks. Due to limited studio time, we wrote and recorded everything in two days, which was very intense yet we worked efficiently! I also have to especially thank my peer, Emily Bland for helping the track so much.
How do you approach the creative process - do you have a way into your music?
I capture every idea as soon as I can. No matter if it’s recording voice memos on my phone, or writing down lyrics ideas on my laptop.
Sometimes I find myself recording voice memos while walking or waiting a bus, or I wake up at 2am to jot down ideas because I don’t want to lose them."
I will then go through my idea bank and see which idea I want to develop the most. Then I will start from the small idea, for example, a riff, a song title or a simple lyrical idea and then expand that into a song.
What have been your current musical projects?
I am currently working on my major repertoire as my final project, which is going to be an-album-worth body of work focused on pop/EDM. I'm currently collaborating with the amazing producer, Kerfo and other talented ICMP songwriters, including MA Songwriting students Emily Bland, Kayleigh Angel-dobbs, Guillermo Campoy, BA Songwriting student, Ris Galabov and BACM student, Adriano Murgia.
I'm very busy with writing the project at the moment but it's really my honour to be able to work with these talented music people! I learn a lot from them by collaborating with them. Apart from working on the project, I am also building up my fan base.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given since about your music industry career?
Attitude is everything. Be nice to people. Even if you are the most talented artist, if you don’t have a good attitude, people won't want to work with you. Also, there's no need to compare your career with other artists as every artist has their own journey. Release something when you are really ready. You should sound like yourself, not anybody else.
Visit facebook.com/fionahuangmusic to find out more.
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