As this month draws to a close we leave you with a climax unlike anything you have ever know. This stunning, seductive young singer, with her ethereal beauty and alternative Billy Holiday essence, left DIFORM so captivated that we had to leave one of the best until last. And with so many great artists DIFORM interviewed it was difficult to decide who would conclude this months takeover, but with her China tour beckoning and her name gaining headway, take a look at what we found out when we plucked Fifi Rong out of her insane schedule for our final underground artist interview to bring to an end this months Underground Acts Takeover.
You are about to embark upon your China Tour tell us a bit about that, how many shows will there be?
FIFI: It will be 8-9 shows in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and a few more other cities.
But are you actually from China? We know you’re a Londoner but what’s your family background?
FIFI: I spent my early years in China, and my family is still there. I have lived alone in the UK for many years now.
You have preformed in quite few interesting places, where has been your favourite so far and how was the turn out?
FIFI: My most satisfying performance was still the support gig I did for Tricky at Manchester Academy. It was just magical and emotional. It was probably 400-600 people, I’m not sure exactly how many but approximately that. I have done a lot gigs I enjoyed but nothing matched that yet.
Do you prefer the bigger shows or the more intimate ones?
FIFI: Doesn’t matter. It’s more about the percentage of audience I can get to. There can be only 10 people in the audience at an empty venue, but if I can move 7 of them, I would be happy and fulfilled as this is the hardest type of show to do.
FIFI: I love that I don’t have too much distraction and the weather is quite cold so it’s great for making music. It’s a beautiful city. I like the streets and buildings in East End and West End. Although we moan about the weather and stuff but we love it really.
FIFI: It’s great, I love it! There are many real people with genuine artistic pursuits here. Creatively it’s a very accepting and encouraging of individuality.
Lets talk a bit about your music, it is ‘quite’ alternative and a little bluesy in some songs, but how did you start out in music what made you choose this style of approach?
FIFI: It’s not a choice, I don’t think about what music I do, I just do it and most of the time I’m not aware of how it sounds until a lot later. There’s a lot of difference for me between making music and listening to music. The person who makes music has a different perspective to the one who is enjoying it. It feels as though a different part of the brain works on making music. And the more instinctive the better it is. My approach is just constant experimentation and that is in my character. I get bored easily, so I like to try different things, like mixing different styles and elements together.
Did you study music?
FIFI: I’m used to just …”me doing everything”. It just happened that way and I have been performing myself. But in the New Year I’m looking to find some like-minded musicians and hopefully can set something up. Though I would say that I am more of an acapella singer or a solo artist than being in the band. But live sounds are always better with a band so that’s what I’m looking to do after the China tour.
You are one of those singers that we prefer to think of as an artist, so does art play a role in your life?
FIFI: I don’t think about it like that at all I just like taking inspired actions and I like expressing my true self and my ideas. Sometimes I get in trouble, and I just deal with it. I like creating things. It’s fun!
FIFI: Too many! I hear someone every day that blows my mind. I appreciate many honest artists who express themselves in their own unique ways. Unfortunately I only have limited time and energy to do the digging. We live in an age of information overload and deficit at the same time. I admit I am very ignorant to a lot stuff that’s out there.
What about your fashions? As you have such a striking look tell us about how you style your fashions?
FIFI: Well if I am honest it’s a bit of cultural hybrid and I like to introduce the west to the east and vice versa acting as a cultural bridge.
FIFI: Anyone can dress me up. I’m open-minded but with specific taste.
I noticed that you did a shoot in Miami this year how did that come about?
FIFI: Actually I was there on holiday! And I got some photographers interested in shooting with me so I chose one that I liked and took it from there. It’s the way most of my shoots have been done, spontaneously.
We were completely enamoured by your song ‘Over You’ and the very seductive Geisha video for this song. That song, ‘56 weeks’ and ‘Breathless’ actually were the song’s that prompted the need for this interview. But was ‘Over You’ based on a true experience?
FIFI: All my songs are more or less true experiences except ‘dreamy eyes’ that’s inspired by a movie. And thanks so much! I guess telling my stories and emotional truths worked!
Is there a US tour?
FIFI: I hope so! That would be a semi-dream!
What’s your favourite thing about touring?
FIFI: Spontaneity, Non-Londoners and fine Cognac.
As you mentioned Cognac we have to ask your favourite brand?
FIFI: HAHA! That’s easy .. Remy Martin XO!….
Where and when are you next performing in London?
FIFI: I am not permitted to say as yet. My showcases and headline shows in the New Year are yet to be announced but keep an eye out on fifirong.com
What can we expect to see from Fifi in the future?
FIFI: More of collaborations with musicians and artists, fashion designers and photographers; better live shows, more music that reflects my current passion in sounds. We will make more and more videos and experiments with my sounds and image. And a lot more varieties of my merchandise as well.
To keep updated on the mystifying sounds of Ffi Rong and to find out the latest on her gigs and tour dates follow her on the media links below
Edit & Words By: Florence Bailey