A Q&A with Fanni Mayer
“Hungarian tsunami, a stormy soul” – here’s singer-songwriter Fanni Mayer…
How did you get the title of your latest release ‘Misuse’, and what does it mean to you?
When we wrote this song with my guitarist, songwriter friend Barna Gulyas, I was tripping on that expression, “I miss you” – more precisely that phenomenon when someone keeps repeating that phrase but doing nothing to make things work out, you know. Then this “MISUSE” expression came up and I was like, ‘yeah, that is how I feel, totally Misused’. The song is about knowing your worth and drawing that line, like ‘I can’t take this mess anymore’. It’s a statement and I feel like it’s a very empowering song, especially for women.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
The hardest part always, in my opinion, is putting out something very personal. You’re like an open book, you know, but at the same time, I think this song is so universal. You can translate into your own experiences. I wrote this in Budapest, Hungary and recorded in London at The Animal Farm Studio. It was fun except the fact that I spent my nights at an inn with eight people in one room, so I’ve got no chance to sleep and I sang five hours a day, so it was challenging, but I thrive under pressure. I’m pretty good at this. Actually, I sang better because of this situation. I felt like ‘Okay girl, you can do this! This is your chance, don’t let the conditions mess this up! You can do this!’ (haha)
Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
Mat Leppanen was the producer of this track. He brought more folkish/indie rock sound to it and more sassiness. We’ve got great chemistry. He knew what I wanted before I said it.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I want to make my audience feel empowered, feel free, not alone with their problems, make them feel sexy, make them let go of the pain, make them cry, make them laugh!
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
Mostly I start alone with the idea. I write sketches or whole lyrics. Other times I’ve got the melody too. Then I sit down with my guitarist or pianist, songwriter friends, and we work together to unfold the song. Then I go to the studio with a producer and we work together until I feel like it’s the closest to the feeling possible. I’m a highly emotionally driven person when it comes to song writing. Those 4 songs (songs of my upcoming debut EP) were written that way, but I’m always open to new ways, new methods. And I wrote my first song on my guitar – it’s a whole new experience (I’m not a pro yet but I’m trying, haha) and it makes everything more personal to me.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
Lykke Li is one of my biggest influences, Florence Welch, Fiona Apple, Leonard Cohen, Amy Winehouse… I also love Grace Carter nowadays. The way she speaks about her pain in her childhood is so brave and powerful. I can relate to her – I had a problematic childhood too. My father was abusive to my mom. I think it’s very important to speak up to raise awareness and it’s like medicine to our soul. Oh, and I’m in love with Rosalia. She’s so original, authentic yet progressive. I listen to a lot of Donna Missal these days, she’s a real badass woman, sensitive and strong as hell. Also, Pink’s Missundaztood and Christina Aguilera’s Stripped albums had a big impact on me as a kid, and late 90’s and early 2000’s R&B like Kelis and Destiny’s Child. I adore YEBBA – unbelievable talent. I’m a big fan of Lizzo. She’s a breath of fresh air in pop music and pop culture. Honestly, I don’t really care about genres. I am inspired by anything that touches my heart or makes me feel something. I don’t care if it’s hip-hop, rock, soul, jazz, blues, R&B, indie etc. I love rebels, revolutionaries, the “f**k the system” kind of artists like Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Björk, Missy Elliott, Sia, Madonna and Billie Eilish.
When the world is back to normal where would you like to tour, and why?
I truly hope that the world will not go back to “normal” again, and by that I mean I hope people become more conscious about the environment, about climate change, about our ecological footstep and are going to be more selfless and empathetic, accepting, love more and hate less. I think we should learn from all of what’s going on in the world right now, and make that change, step by step. We cannot let those oppressive, corrupt, nationalist, racist, homophobic, profit-oriented, selfish etc. political systems dominate in our society anymore. Yes, I want to tour when it’s possible again and when I have enough material out, and I want to tour as environmentally friendly as possible.
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
I can’t choose. Listen to all of them; there aren’t too many out there so come on, check ’em out. ‘Grace N Dirt’, ‘MISUSE’, ‘Horizon’ and ‘Stranger Things’ are very close to my heart and are very personal.
What ambitions do you have for your career?
World domination (haha) but besides this “slightly” superficial aim for me the most important thing is constantly evolving (as a person and as an artist), learning, experiencing and giving people my truest self through my music and performances.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
F**k you, I love you!
The new single from Fanni Mayer, ‘MISUSE’ is out now
For more info visit: facebook.com/itsfannimayer