At Broomleys primary school, she was encouraged to sing by both parents and teachers alike. She would rather spend her time drawing horses than doing dull things such as maths (which is expressed today in a self confessed complete mathematical incompetency), and enjoyed all opportunities to sing....school shows, the choir and even the daily ritual of singing hymns at assembly. Early influences, from between 8 and 11 included Annie Lennox, Pat Benatar and of course her own mothers powerful voice, which influenced greatly her vocal development, while the Beatles taught her of composition and harmony. It was however only at King Edward VII Community College, aged 15 that music really came to the forefront. As do all young music lovers, she had discovered from about the age of 12 Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Hendrix, Yes.....
all the greats of the late 60's and fell in love. She also loved much music of the brit pop era, including Blur, Super Furry Animals and most notably The Seahorses, and music provided a soundtrack and life line through those tumultuous teenage years. Studying GCSE music, she recognized that it would be far better to accompany herself than rely on the abilities of others and thus picked up a battered old classical guitar which her father had brought for her sister, who promptly abandoned it. But he left it in the house knowing that one day Fay would pick it up. And that she did.
Writing songs was an obvious progression from learning guitar.... but it came more from the fact that she was an impatient learner, and writing songs came far easier to her than learning other peoples. Her first songs written in late 1998, were fairly childish attempts to express the experience of social exclusion... of never quite fitting in with her peers.
But her subject matter quickly developed to encompass her developing, love of the natural world and interest in Paganism. A pen friend put it to her that she had a "pagan soul" and she found the beliefs, attitude and ideas she'd held for years were all encompassed under this banner. In 2003 these explorations were surmised in her first album Whispers in the Boughs. It was about this time, she was being influenced heavily by Fairport Convention, Pentangle and most notably Jethro Tull. Vocally, she was impressed greatly by the likes of Sandy Denny, Maddy Prior, Robert Plant, Grace Slick, Ian Anderson, Melanie Safka and Tori Amos, being drawn to their melodic, powerful, dynamic expressive techniques.
Her parents were a great influence on her vocal development, ever driving home the idea that feel and emotion is the most important aspect of performance. A growing love of folk music, was further nourished during 6th form by her music teacher David Fisher, who firmly set her in the direction of folk, putting it to her that she had a 'folk voice' and pushing her in the directions of the Cecil Sharpe collections. Meanwhile, she was getting a sound vocal coaching and building her performance confidence during the course of numerous musical theatre productions during her studies in Performing Arts in which various leading parts were played. At this time she also started attending local folk clubs. Following 6th form, at age 19, Fay, with her partner of the time undertook a nearly 2 months long journey via bicycle from Coalville to Minehead, Somerset. During this time, they spent 2 weeks in Avebury, Wiltshire, around the pagan sabbat of Lammas (1st Aug) meeting real pagan folk for the first time, which changed her whole small town outlook on the possibilities of life.
Many of the experiences of this journey and subsequent returns to Avebury, alongside the increasingly rocky ground of her first relationship were recorded on her second album, Follow the Falcon in 2004. A period of relative musical inactivity followed for a number of years as she focused on her personal life and working. She continued writing songs, but ceased to perform.. In 2005, at age 21 following the break down of her first relationship, and a number of years of unfullfilling work, she followed her love of the countryside to Sparsholt College, Hampshire to study Countryside Management. A song cycle influenced by her readjustment to single life, and major life changes ensued which, with analogies drawn to natural lore and processes produced the album Clear Fell in 2006 (released 2011). In 2009, Fay went to Nottingham Trent University to study BSc Hons Wildlife Conservation.
However, despite enjoying her studies, and the fond memories of 2 summers of working as a ranger, she still retained the restless feeling of not being on the right path. During her second year, in 2010, a few gigs were offered to her. A wreck of nerves and bum notes she left them sure she had perhaps 'lost it' .... but a chance friendship with some folk musicians led her to realize her feeling of unease came from the fact her 'path' was in playing live.
From that moment she threw herself into learning songs to performance standard, both trad folk numbers and her own and booking herself gigs. Since then, she has attacked the local music scenes, playing around 50 gigs by September 2011 and has received much praise from the Leicester and Nottingham music scenes. She won the 2011 Southwell folk festival open mic competition and was subsequently billed to play the 2012 festival. She also has numerous notable support slots on her CV, including the Billy Mitchell Band, Rory MacLeod, Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts, Kristina Olsen and The Strawbs. She has won comparisons to numerous artists including Kate Bush, Sandy Denny, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Loreena McKennett and even Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Her fourth album, Hare in the Heath, released 2012 is very much Charnwood focused... looking at the stories, myths and legends of the forest, and the coalfield, drawing known and loved places into the fabric of her experiences and observations of people she has known and who have affected her. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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