Interview with Jill Fiore
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I got into the power of music when I was super young. My dad would put records on and my sister and I would dance up a storm! I got into singing in the 8th grade when I learned I had a voice and it was BIG. The music teacher even told my mother “your daughter has a gift.” I didn’t understand what I was supposed to do with it. Sometimes I still don’t. But I keep on making music and playing shows, and whether I reach 1 person or 100 people, it all feels right to me. I do work a stressful day job, and that paycheck goes to keeping the roof over my head, the clothes on my back, and the music going!
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I’m not doing music, I love to walk around, take myself out to dinner, for a drink, to a show and just embrace doing things solo because you never know what you are going to hear or who you are going to meet. There is so much stimuli, art, and interesting people to inspire you if just walk out your door, look, talk, and listen. Giving myself that space and getting comfortable with the discomfort of “being alone” opens up a world of creativity for me.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been making music and playing out live on and off in bands for over 20 years now, but I just started “officially” putting music out into the world on streaming platforms at the very start of 2021 during the pandemic. What a life changing experience to embrace that vulnerability and share your work so it’s accessible to anyone, anywhere to listen at anytime. Exciting!
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based out of New York City! I have been in an amazing relationship with NYC for many years. It constantly moves me and I have reinvented myself many times over here. There is an understanding of that in New York, and the support system and community is here for it. There is just so much to see. I wrote the song “All The Mychelles” in it’s entirety at a bar after taking walk with my best friend in my neighborhood and just observing people and things going on around us. Stories are everywhere in New York City, whether they already exist or you write them.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
My most memorable shows are, of course, The Fiore Escape shows I put on during the pandemic from my very own fire escape. It was DIY, but it kept evolving to bigger and bigger things. We didn’t just play music out there, we turned an entire floor of an apartment building into an actual music venue. The sound system we built, the lighting, the community involvement, it all brought the pulse of NY nightlife back at a time that people needed it most.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I love playing the Bowery Electric in NYC because I actually worked there a very long time ago when it first opened and I started the first live music night once a week. It’s wonderful to see how it’s grown into one of NYC’s best live music venues. The sound is impeccable and the staff is like family. I can always count on having a really good show there.
I recently have been playing other cities—Austin, San Diego, LA, and Joshua Tree to name a few. Stepping into places that I don’t know many people or have a following has been both challenging and exciting! I want more of that and lot of playing other cities and countries. I’d love to hit Nashville, Atlanta, the UK, Canada, Brazil, EVERYWHERE… let’s go!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I’ve been so moved by Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, and Courtney Barnett as of lately, I would love to open for any woman like that who just puts it out there with brutal honesty and talent. PJ Harvey is the artist who made me want to pick up a guitar in the first place. Doing ANYTHING with Polly Jean would be an ultimate dream come true. But honestly, I would be honored to be on tour with or open for any artist who is authentic and would love to have me on their journey.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
The advice I would give to someone just starting or to my younger self is that slow and steady wins the race. There’s no one formula for making music, it’s a discovery and a learning process. I gain fans and followers all the time, and I lose them too. You just have to trust yourself, trust your art, and keep putting it out there. Your tribe will come. Even now, I need to remind myself of that every day.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
My song “Away From Me” means the world to me because it was what finally came out of me after being grief stricken and giving up music when my dad died. I could barely get out of bed, let alone pick up my guitar. But then one day I felt compelled to play an old tune I was working on and hated the current lyrics. I started to have a brutally honest conversation with myself about what I was going through, and having some of that conversation with my dad too. ‘Away From Me’ took whole other route that made me feel relief and peace. I think the song is open to interpretation to be relatable by anybody who has experienced a loss, and most of us have over these past tough years. There is no greater feeing than receiving the thank you messages I did from people who said it helped them. I can’t think of a better way to honor my dad than by giving that gift to others.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
My song “Nobody Loves Me Like I Do” fires me up and is so fun to play! It seems to really fire other people up too. I think at the time, I was writing about FOMO only to learn that FOMO was bullshit. That self care is so important and it stems from putting yourself and your needs first. It is not selfish to love and care for yourself. It’s the gift that you give back to the ones you love.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
My creative process is as simple as grabbing my iPhone and singing an idea into the phone in the moment it pops into my head! It’s doing the same with a guitar riff that hits me, even if there is nothing else to it. It is also shazaming a song that caught my attention, or taking a short video of another band performing something that excites or moves me. Then, going back to these things later when I sit down with my guitar. For me, the creative process starts from that very initial snippet of inspiration.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
I always write my songs with messages of inspiration. That even when you are going through things that have you feeling the lowest of the low, there is greatness on the other side of that. We’re humans and we’re doing our best. Life is not an easy journey, but when you give into things as “experiences” that change you for the better and make you evolve into a better version of you, you can enjoy the ride that much more. I encourage people to embrace being proud of themselves and their accomplishments, big or small.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I definitely plan to keep on creating —songs, shows, videos, you name it! I have a big outdoor show on October 15th at a brilliantly curated art space called Culture Lab in Long Island City. It’s on the water, it’s free, and it’s beautiful. I currently have another Fiore Escape in the works and plan to announce the date soon, which is looking like it could be the end of October right before Halloween. Pandemic or not, The Fiore Escape has become a New York City experience that people love. I’ll announce on my socials soon!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Meeting new people, making new connections, inspiring others keeps ME inspired and focused on not giving up on my dreams: