Mullingar singer and musician Fiona Lennon – stage name Fí – is in the running for a much-coveted space during Electric Picnic later this summer.
She is one of 30 finalists just announced, each calling on local support to text their vote to guarantee a a place in the top ten to get a gig at the upcoming festival. The competition runs until Friday, 27 July, and Fí is looking to Westmeath for support.
Fiona, who is currently in LA meeting with producers and recording new music, spoke to Topic on Monday. “I’ve been out here about two and a half weeks and I’m here for five weeks. My days are full back to back this week. I just wanted to experience more of the writing side of music. I hadn’t really collaborated with anyone before. I’m used to writing on my own. I decided to come over and here and just go for it. I had cold feet leaving but I’m delighted with how it worked it out.”
She revealed that she has already completed six recording sessions with various artists and producers in LA. “This week I have some good ones coming up. Before I came to LA, I sent over songs that I had been working on to producers over here. I did a good few songs before I came over with Lewis Gardiner who has worked with Ellie Goulding and Matt Terry so I had some good quality material to send on.”
She said the feedback has been really positive so far. “I’m going to different studios everyday.”
Fiona started writing songs six years when she started college and bought her first guitar. “I was writing songs but never showing them to anyone and then I started doing open mic gigs at home when I was about 20. After college, I started recording and released my first single Éalú nearly two years ago now. Since then, I have been trying to find people to work and have been writing loads on my own. This year I just thought that I would go to where I needed to be, where pop is.”
Fiona has made two trips to London this year as well as spending three days recording in Glasgow. “We did three songs. I continued to write which was down to the advice that a former producer gave me who I worked with on Éalú and the new single.”
When it comes to writing, Fiona revealed she can be inspired by pretty much anything . “It could be anything. I wrote a song here the other day after talking to my housemates about the price of fame- we were watching a documentary about it. Then the next day in the studio, we literally wrote a song that day about that. Sound-wise, I’ve been mixing it up lately. I like Tove Styrke and SHY Martin who are Swedish artists.”
Earlier this year, Fí was selected to take part in a song-writing camp in Dublin with Grammy nominated Carla Marie Williams in May. “12 girls were picked. She’s written songs including ‘Runnin’’ and ‘Lemonade’ for Beyonce. It was brilliant. It was a three day camp and we all wrote a song.”
The 24-year-old revealed she will be releasing a number of brand new singles in the coming months and that she would not rule out writing songs for other artists. “I didn’t have much time to think about it (going to LA). I just did it. Every artist does have some self-doubt but it’s about finding a way to keep going and be resilient. I think the energy you give out is really reciprocated when you are in a session with someone.”
The Play the Picnic competition is run in conjunction with RTÉ and Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation and proceeds raised from the text campaign will fund nursing care and respite for sick children in every county in Ireland. Jack & Jill currently supports three children in Co. Westmeath and has cared for 48 children in the county over the past 21 years.
As well as voting for their favourite band, texters have a chance of winning tickets by texting the word PICNIC following the number assigned to their chosen act. The text costs €2 and Jack & Jill will receive a minimum of €1.80.
To vote for Fí text PICNIC6 to 50300.