Please meet Fiona Joy Hawkins. She's finding calm, beauty and unity in the world we’re facing in 2020. You could call it Explore the NOW. Fiona’s recently released, Moving Through Worlds, is a timely tribute to something brighter and lighter, something that brings some ease to the weary listener, who is seeking feelings of harmony and simple respite from our troubled world. Moving Through Worlds features 4 songs she wrote earlier this year, as the Australian Bushfires crept toward her rural home in Kendall, NSW Australia. She marketed them as fundraisers for Brushfire firefighters and wildlife rescue. When the fires gave way to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fiona wrote more songs and released Moving Through Worlds on July 7.
Fiona says, “I believe music is a gift from another world, from ancestors of the past communicating to inspire and give us hope. Music is a universal language that connects us without prejudice, it speaks to us all equally, yet is received with great variation. Now, more than ever, we need the connection to our past to find the pathway to our future.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down travel and many entertainment venues, Fiona is exploring the NOW. Not one to back down, she has been streaming weekly live concerts via Facebook from her grand piano in the living room of her home in a small village in rural Australia. Thousands of followers are tuning in each week. This also is raising funds for the Australia brushfire relief efforts. Fiona defies genre by bringing classical, contemporary piano, ethereal vocals, and lush new age instrumentals together to create a sound that is uniquely her own. You can check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/fionajoyhawkinsmusic
She’s been rewarded with over 100 awards and nominations. Her song ‘Grace’ was on a GRAMMY® winning album in 2014. In 2016, she won two categories of the Independent Music Awards at Lincoln Centre in New York; since 2008’s Blue Dream, several albums have won Best Piano Album by global radio chart, The ZMR Awards. She has performed in Los Angeles at the Mason and Hamlin Piano Festival and has played with music group FLOW at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles.
Our Interview with Fiona:
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Fiona Joy Hawkins and I write music, play piano and sing. I’m also an Aussie and I love touring. My passions (other than music) are wildlife, cooking and walking. I’m family oriented and feel that this connection along with my hobbies are important for the balance I need to work in the music industry.
How did you get to be where you are today?
Hard work, determination, passion and commitment. There is no easy way to get somewhere and have a lasting career that leaves a mark when the artist is gone. Ultimately that’s what we are all after, to create and leave a legacy, something of value. My parents taught me about hard work and its somehow ingrained. I hope I have passed that on to my children, work ethic is essential in order to be successful.
Have you ever been fired?
Yes. From the Australian Consulate in San Francisco. I can’t believe I’m sharing this!
I was a completely over-qualified mail girl, wearing a track suit and runners to deliver mail to all the offices on multiple levels. I needed the job because Australians in the US without a green card have no options other than the prized employment of any consulate you can get into! Unfortunately, with a job like that comes the stigma of being ‘the mail girl’ and there is an office pecking order among the other girls in the office. I was not a happy camper and when I got creative with the mail delivery, the boss (Consulate General) wasn’t happy.
What are your real passions?
I LOVE writing music. The discovery of a new combination of notes, or a rhythm or a story translated as music sets my soul on fire and allows me total escapism into another world. It’s a place of solace, it’s a safe place and its one I love to visit. If I could figure out how to just live in that world and avoid the day-to-day grind of paperwork and behind the scenes work I would bottle it and sell it for thousands.
If you won the lottery, what would you do?
Hahaha – that’s the age-old music joke and I have to give the answer to it…. I would play music till the money runs out.
What do you do to help others be their best?
I love it when I see people achieve over and above and I love it even more when they achieve in the face of adversity. My heroes are those who do extraordinary things with less tools and more hardship. That takes grit!
How do you help yourself be the best you can be?
I push myself. Everyone tells me I push others outside their comfort zone too – I’m never quite sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but since I practice what I preach, if they don’t like it, then they don’t have to stick around. Most of the people I work with have been around for a long time, so I guess I attract like-minded people into my sphere.
What do you like to do in your personal life?
Other than music, for work purposes I do some admin for a few rental properties with my husband. He does them up, I look after the paperwork. I have to add here that I have zero aptitude for paperwork or accounting, so I really have to set my mind to it!!
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I would love to have a place within the music industry that allows me to feel valid as a musician and supports me enough to keep producing music and doing what I love most.
What is a book or two that you recommend?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho; any art book that allows me to lose myself in the pictures; The Margaret Fulton Cookbook.
Please give us one or two shameless plugs. What are some of your favorites? (books, websites, etc..)
I’m very impressed with the instrumental group FLOW (Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster, Will Ackerman). Not just because I’m in the group, but because the music is AMAZING. I believe they are still way more undiscovered than is deserved. Listen here https://flowthegroup.com/
This is my favourite online FB concert: https://www.facebook.com/fionajoyhawkinsmusic/videos/345204249806398/
This is for ALL Listening / Socials https://linktr.ee/fionajoymusic
Why do you do what you do?
I can’t imagine doing anything else but music and not sure what else I would do if I had to. Having said that, there are two strings to my bow (pun intended): being a musician and being a music industry business person. The distinction between the two is a tricky one. Writing and recording music is a response to my thought processes without consideration as to the commercial viability. After I make the music, I put the marketing hat on.
What are a few of your goals?
My life goals are centered around having my children grow up to be happy and to value things other than money and status. What matters is that you do the things that you are passionate about, that you give something back and that you are respectful to others and yourself and that you learn to LISTEN. Most of all its about being happy.
What do the words "Best Ever You" mean to you?
I think it refers to me being the best person, musician, friend, mother, wife, daughter that I can be. Its not about me being better or bigger than anyone else – just being my best given the tools in life that I have.
Connect with Fiona: Website: https://fionajoy.com/
All Music: https://linktr.ee/fionajoymusic
More About Fiona:
Fiona Joy Hawkins is an Australian Pianist, Composer and Singer who enjoys and regularly tours China and the USA and is also a member of the Contemporary instrumental group FLOW (Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster, Will Ackerman).
Fiona is inspired by Chopin, Mendelssohn, Michael Nyman and admires Ludovico Einaudi, George Winston and Yiruma. Fans who like Kevin Kern, Bernard Koch, Jim Brickman, David Lanz, Yanni, Danny Wright, Robin Spielberg, Paul Cardall or Enya will enjoy Fiona Joy Hawkins.
Fiona Joy is known for ‘Grace’, her song on a Grammy Winning album in 2014 and for her extensive catalogue produced by Will Ackerman (Founder Windham Hill Records). In 2016 she won two categories of the Independent Music Awards at the Lincoln Centre in New York and has been awarded Best Piano Album by International Radio (ZMR Awards) for several of her albums. Nominated alongside Pete Seeger for Best LIVE Performance Album in the Independent Music Awards, Fiona was an ARIA Finalist in Australia in 2008.
Fiona works with Australian piano maker Stuart and Sons, and has several albums with Blue Coast Records (content partners with Sony Music for hi-resolution releases) Blue Coast owner/producer Cookie Marenco says, “Fiona’s melodic solo piano and masterful performances are the perfect music to debut the kind of clarity double DSD audio brings to the home listener’.
Living in a small village of 830 people in NSW Australia, Fiona has toured and played around the world at venues like New York’s Carnegie (Weill Hall), the New Orleans Jazz Museum, Sydney Opera House (MusicOz Awards), a live concert on Echoes/NPR Radio, has accompanied Deepak Chopra in NY, Mason and Hamlin Piano Festival in LA, The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre Sydney, Glasshouse Port Macquarie, Sydney Women’s International Jazz Festival, Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, and Halifax Entertainment Centre amongst others.
Fiona Joy Hawkins is best known for her romantic, melodic songs and lush arrangements. A prolific composer, she has always been interested in creating music that evokes images, emotions and tells stories.
Producer of 4 of Fiona’s albums, Will Ackerman, founder of both Windham Hill Records and Imaginary Road Studios, embraced and encouraged Fiona’s music years ago, stating, Fiona’s Blue Dream album was the most ambitious project of my entire career and resulted in one of the most remarkable collaborations this genre has ever known. Blue Dream is unique and I’m as proud of it as anything I’ve ever worked on in my 35-year career of GRAMMY® Awards and Gold/Platinum records.
As a collaborator, Fiona has worked with Will Ackerman, Lawrence Blatt, T-Bone Wolk (Hall & Oates), Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, Dire Straits), Jeff Haynes (Pat Metheny), Eugene Friesen (Paul Winter Consort), Heather Rankin, Charlie Bisharat (Shadowfax), Rebecca Daniel (ACO), Jeff Oster and many others. In 2014, she and Ackerman co-produced the successful debut album of Jennifer DeFrayne, who won Best New Artist in the 2015 ZMR Awards for her album By A Wire.
“What I appreciated most was being able to listen and watch Fiona at the piano. The passion and elegance in her performance was breathtaking, as her flawless technique combined with pure emotional expression“. Music Reviewer Michael Diamond
When not recording or touring, Fiona is busy directing the entrepreneurial side of her music business, an effort which is crucial to the success of every independent artist. She manages her growing record label, Little Hartley Music, and promotes Fiona Joy Jewellery, her new line offering the upscale Swarovsky crystal-adorned bracelets and foot jewellery that she wears while performing barefooted in concert.
When not on the road, Fiona escapes to her peaceful home in a small rural village in Australia.