At Belles and Gals, we have a love of the UK country scene and of course, all things Nashville. In Fiona Culley, we have the best of both worlds, a UK country star making waves in the home of country music. So, I was absolutely delighted when Fiona and I had a chat about her career, when I spoke to her live from Nashville on Thursday evening!
Hi Fiona, Can I start by asking you to give us an insight into how a lady from Staffordshire is living and recording in Nashville?
Well, it’s all quite random actually. I was playing in the Troubadour in London nearly 5 years ago and there was a guy in the audience who just happened to be there that night, who was a friend of another friend of mine. He was an American guy and he just asked me what I was doing singing country music in London. As it transpired, he had a movie company and a music production company and he offered me the opportunity to come out here to Nashville for 6 months, and that was obviously 4 years ago. I fell in love with the place. It was one of those things, right place, right time.
Has Country Music always been your passion?
It really has, yeah – well all music has been my passion, but my dad introduced me to country music really early on in my life, and you know, storytelling is what I love. Country music is storytelling and that is how I fell into it myself, but my dad is definitely responsible for that.
In the summer of 2014 you posted a “Thinking Out Loud” Ed Sheeran cover on YouTube. It now has nearly 3 million views – that must be amazing?
I know, it was so weird! We did that video because I loved that song, but it hadn’t actually been released in America yet, but when I heard the album I just loved the song. I recorded it and we didn’t really think about it and it sat there with a couple of hundred views and then I literally woke up one morning and it had 2 million views! I was like, how did this happen? The internet is an incredible thing – the ball just got rolling. It really was just a bit of a fluke – well I say it was a fluke, but I think we did the first cover of the song and it also happened to be song of the year, so I guess that helps too. But yeah, it was really cool, because it was our own country version, that we did here in our friends living room in Nashville. We were all really surprised by it, but you know, it was great.
You recently recorded a duet with Darius Rucker. Tell us all about that.
Darius is a country star here, he’s super successful and I got the opportunity to write a song for a movie and it happened to then become the soundtrack. The movie producer said it sounds like it should be a duet – it makes sense for the movie. The first person I thought of was him, as I’d met him before and he’s always been a big supporter of me, so I went out on a limb and asked if he’d sing it with me and to my surprise he said yes. So yeah that’s been amazing. We actually filmed the video quite recently, as the movie is coming out next month.
Which artists have influenced your career?
My dad was really into Alison Krauss and Trisha Yearwood, Linda Ronstadt, you know females with big voices. That has always been something that I loved, you know strong females with all the range. Anyone like that is a huge influence.
If you could play the perfect gig, where would it be and who would you do a duet with?
That’s a tough one! Well clearly it has to be Madison Square Garden, I mean, go big or go home! Who would I do a duet with? Gosh, that’s a tough one – probably Justin Timberlake, why not, what girl doesn’t want to sing with JT. And he loves a bit of country, he played the CMA’s last year with Chris Stapleton. So how about I sing with them both? That would be fun!
If you could host the perfect dinner party for three other people, who would they be?
Gosh, another tough one. Probably my great great grandad as I never met him and I would have loved to have met him. The Queen, obviously, as she should be there too with Grandad, as they’d have a lot to talk about. And then who else – hmm, that is tough. Elvis! Why don’t we pop him in there too, would be a bit of a strange combination, but I think it would go pretty well.
What are your plans for the coming weeks and months?
Well its CMA week next week so I have a bunch of events going on. I’m here in town, so I’ll be busy with that. I’m actually recording more music right now, literally today I was doing vocals and I’ll be doing more vocals tomorrow and that will all be out in the new year. So I have to do a video for my single and pictures and all that probably within the next month and then the movie “Life on the Line” will be out at the end of November, so I’ll have some promotion to do for the movie too – so it’s a busy end of the year!