An Interview With the Singer-Songwriter, Rändi Fay!
Posted On 02 Oct 2018
Meet the Wisconsin based singer-songwriter Rändi Fay! She is a brilliant mix of ethereal, symphonic pop-rock, with just a dash of influence from her jazz background. (She was nominated for Jazz Artist of the Year for Wisconsin 4 years in a row!)
Her newest song is called “Supernatural,” and the new video for it adds an entirely new visual element to the whispy, enchanting vocals and symphonic melodies of the track. It can be found on her EP “Evergreen.”
Connect with Rändi Fay Here:
Learn more about Rändi Fay in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing in the background?
There is! I am listening to an artist I just discovered named “Sam Hale” who recently released a song with the same title as mine: “Supernatural.” His music is great! And I am winding down after a beautiful weekend celebrating my son’s wedding… so the dryer is running too, in post-wedding clean-up! Life is good!
Now that we are on the back end of the year, how do you think 2018 has treated you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?
Many changes! One of my bigger goals is to rebrand myself beyond being “just a jazz artist.” I write and perform a huge variety of genre. My EP “Evergreen” and my single “Supernatural” is a great example of that! I am trying to reach a wider audience as I head into the studio working on a new project in the genre I call “symphonic pop,” and I feel like that is happening!
Growing up, was music always a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience? Can you see yourself ever doing anything else?
YES, YES, and YES! My first musical memory was forcing my family to play the original Mary Poppins soundtrack 8,000,000 times as I choreographed my 3-year-old version of “Step in Time” and “Chim-Chim-Cheree.” And yes, I can picture doing something else, because music became a career for me only a few years ago. I have so many ways of self expression! I love photography, and I just met a florist with the most creative environment and might try my hand at working with her?? Who knows? At this point I am hoping to capture and create beauty in whatever ways I can! But always, always, always with music in my head and heart.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The biggest surprise is that I have a voice that people want to listen to and that I write songs people relate to. That still shocks me! And unexpected challenge is how crazy it is to have music flow from your heart onto paper and into performance, but to have listeners misunderstand because people hear things so differently based upon their own experiences. I am continuing to learn to use discipline and care in my word choices, and to be completely open to feedback as I am crafting a song, as others reflect back what they are hearing may not be at all what I was intending. Also vocally, it has been a welcome challenge to continue to learn new techniques and find my instrument getting stronger and more versatile!
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?
“That which does not kill me makes me stronger?” Haha- My hometown in general is more receptive to cover bands, or original music that is Americana/Singer-Songwriter. I have had to be pretty tenacious to stay true to my muse, and am so grateful to have found some fantastic musicians who are creatively supportive and ingenious in building my sound!
Let’s talk about your newest track “Supernatural.” What was the inspiration for it? And what about the music video? How creatively involved were you with the making of it?
The inspiration for “Supernatural” was different from the typical “oh man I have a hook in my head and I have to get it down.” Basically, in response to critics (often musicians) of the current use of synthetic sounds in pop music, I wanted to create a passionate song (with co-writer and producer Aaron Zinsmeister) instrumented solely for bass and my vocals, two “natural” instruments, but going “beyond” the natural with embellishments and processing. There-in the title “Supernatural” was conceived. I wrote a bass groove and some melodic lines, and the song just began to “shimmer.” The lyrics then flowed pretty spontaneously, about an ethereal and singular love that is truly equal on so many planes: physical, spiritual and intellectual, and just as importantly, from one partner to the other. It all felt so right- so “” I wonder how many of us get to experience that kind of magic?
We struggled with the video at first! Tight budgets and busy timelines prevail… After a lot of hunting, I was referred to young producer Jocelyn Berumen who was amazing! We communicated constantly throughout the entire process, from personnel to costuming to final edits. She was a dream to work with! I knew I wanted bassist Timothy Perkins to be featured, so that it was obvious how the track was orchestrated. And I knew I wanted to be a performer NOT an actor in the video, with sort of a “Samantha Stevens-bewitching” feel to my performance. I wanted the video to be set outside in an earthy, sort of “Lord of the Rings” setting. Jocelyne had the idea of hiring dancer Azure Hall to create that magnetic interpretive dance, and to do the layering of the images filmed against the “cyc,” just like the layering of the song! I give her a ton of credit for the final visual appeal of the video!
When do you hope to release more new music and a full album of new songs?
Next year!! Producer/co-writer Aaron Zinsmeister and I already have three tracks finished for our new project “Intuition,” a concept album/”Symphonic Pop Opera”, in the spirit of Moody Blues meets Evanescence meets Disney.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period or is your music more of an escape from all that?
In early 2017, I was ready to hang it up, and my producer and one of my sons both pulled me aside, basically telling me that what I was trying to create was beautiful both sonically and spiritually, and the world needs more beauty. So don’t give up. I have taken that to heart! In that regard I guess you could call it an escape? My music does have moments where the listener will feel challenged, so its not all ponies and rainbows. It is about connection: realizing that we share experiences like pain and passion. And though that sense of connection comes self-empowerment. We are not alone, and we have value. The current social and political atmosphere encourages helplessness and isolation. I hope my music counters that.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
Oh lord yes- it is a huge challenge to keep up on that! I am a super private person, and don’t want to exploit my family at all. It is hard for me to balance the need to be “authentic and spontaneous” with my fans, but also to be authentic to myself and keep things private. I love Instagram, because I love sharing my visual impressions of really cool moments and the inspiration those provide. I love Facebook for the conversation. I just wish we weren’t victims of constantly shifting algorithms! I have a lot of quality content that many just don’t see.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Sir Paul McCartney is one. I am inspired by his ambitious blending of genre, his fearless approach to varying instrumentation and sounds, and his ageless commitment to his music.
I am also presently on a Jason Mraz kick, because he brings so much happiness into the world, and crosses so many demographics in his appeal and message. I love the rhythmic intensity of his lyrics, and his sincere delivery.
Carole King is a third choice. I love her sass, her style, her passionate content, her hooks, and her ridiculous versatility.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
I am lucky that my main instrument, my voice, is always with me! Given that, I would want a thesaurus/rhyming dictionary, to continue to inspire cool thoughts and cool ways of putting words to all of that music that plays on in my head. Then I could sing away and test out all sorts of delicious lyrical and melodic combinations. I pity anyone stranded with me!
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
Game of Thrones! Or any such fantasy series, with dungeons and dragons and mist, anything magical like Harry Potter, or something spicy and intense like a Bond movie.
Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about? What has been a favorite performance of yours? What do you think makes an idea show for you? What’s next on your musical agenda?
I am currently on performance break (sort of) as I work in the studio on my next release. My favorite performances tend to be outside (I am such a nature girl!), but any show is ideal when the audience is super into it. I have played enough bars to know what it is to be “background,” and I miss the connection with the audience.
I think my very favorite show was this past spring, being a part of a showcase for nominees of the Wisconsin Area Music Industry’s annual awards- sort of the Wisconsin Grammy’s- raising funds for kids and music. We had a 30 minute spot toward the end of the evening, and my band just shot on stage and totally rocked. We were so tight. It was great to be playing together, making money for kids, and enjoying the evening with others who were celebrating our nominations!
Next on my musical agenda is writing and recording a concept CD/symphonic pop-rock opera called “Intuition.” The understory is about moving through fear and isolation to a place of courage and love for yourself and for others, including the many imperfections we perceive. It will be filled with rich melodies and instrumentation, passionate lyrics, earthy grooves!
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
I want them to feel connected. To feel inspired to listen more deeply, to think more deeply, and to not be afraid of joy or pain, as they are flip sides of each other. And to be humming my music in their heads after they hear it, and in random moments ever after ;).
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I like to challenge myself, and I hope that my music challenges you to be open to new sounds and new artists! I search for the good in everything, the beauty, or the lesson. That is a tough choice, and one I hope more others decide to take on. It is hard sometimes! But read more, or listen to books on tapes and classical music. Expand you mind and expand your sensory experiences and give yourself more words to describe them! There is so much REAL out there, and the beauty is in the real.
(all photography provided by MUDDY PAW PR – Cyclops Girl Productions LLC/ Jocelyne Berumen)