fi sullivan

Interview with Fi Sullivan

Divine Magazine
Divine Magazine
6 Min Read

Growing up in an urban environment looking west to the Rocky Mountains, Denver based producer & vocalist Fi Sullivan emerges from augmented & experimental realms, as well as her natural surroundings. Her sound is layered vocals traveling a three octave range mapping subtle bass and pulsing beats – the sweet surreal inspired by the natural world.

Who inspired you to make music?

My parents, my choir teacher, and then my professors later on as I was studying music— I was always composing little songs as a kid. I was part of an after school composition club in middle school—this is when I learned how to compose and notate a score for piano or strings or any combination of instruments.  My compositions were all contemporary and avant garde—I was all about creating the wildest yet most beautiful interactions of sound in a simple way with the piano or my voice.  In high school, I was introduced to vocal improvisation through my small 11 person Acapella vocal jazz ensemble…I learned how to layer and compose voices through an exercise we did called circle song—we would all stand in a circle and one person would go into the middle and assign vocals parts to everyone. It wasn’t until college that I really began to focus on interweaving poetry and lyrics into my compositions.

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Have you got a ritual of sorts when making music?

All my compositions start with mind mapping and sound, the imagination and visualization of the sounds I physically and mentally gather all living, layering and interacting with the natural environment and humans in new worlds, their own worlds. My songs start with a dream scene that appears in my mind, either before or while I’m playing guitar or jamming in Ableton on my computer. I usually find the chorus or main dance moment first, then the vocals and lyrics come intermittently in waves as I try to describe my soundscape and feelings. I usually enter a feverish flow of creative energy while songwriting and producing; it’s hard for me to pull away.”

How would you describe your music?

I would describe my music as pop-inspired and accessible, yet augmented with code that warps, stretches and bends the timbre and underlying mathematics of the planet into tones that are lush, challenging and ephemeral. Leading the compositions is a three-octave vocal range that undulates and pulses with the beats, delivered in ways reminiscent of the beautiful chaos of the natural world. 

What’s next for you?

After performing at Bonnaroo and the release of my EP in June, I’m now preparing for a few Sofar shows this summer and a mountain festival up outside of Leadville, CO at 13,000 ft.  I’m then moving to LA in the fall!!  So excited!

What are your top two favorite songs of all time? Why those songs?

“Landslide” by Stevie Nicks;  “Dreams” by the Cranberries;  “In A Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington;  “It’s Too Late” by Carole King; “Dreamsville” by Henry Mancini; “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen; “Dancing Queen” by Abba; “That Other Girl.” by Sevdaliza.  This gathering of songs is way larger than two, but these are my favorites because they transport me through all of the past, present and future moments of beauty, emotion, love, pain, hope, and wonder in my life.

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What was the last series you watched on TV?

“Astrological Guide to Broken Hearts” is so good!!! Italian show on Netflix.

What do you think the greatest invention has been?

Oo sonically- a microphone and the subwoofer… every day- a vase, because having flowers or plants close by is lovely, and the computer…probably the best.

Do you have any lucky items, objects, or traditions?

I always have a crystal with me…. in my purse, guitar case, or bag…I usually have a piece of citrine, amethyst, carnelian, rose quartz, or labradorite on me wherever I go/ whenever I perform…I cleanse the crystals in the river every summer when the water lowers just enough to start swimming in the Rocky Mountains…It’s truly a polar plunge at all times though haha.  I usually carry a roll-on essential oil with me as well.  I also do a classical bel canto vocal warm up before every show…I love to be completely settled and nimble in my mezzo-soprano range.

If you could ask your future self one question, what would it be?

What is the coolest new music tech/ new instrument for the voice?  Is it generative?  Is it a robot?  Do we like robots?

If you had to describe yourself as a flavor, what would it be?

Lavender Pine 

0004 Fi Sullivan Boulder Canyon

Ethereal electronic singer, songwriter and producer Fi shares her brand new musical project, ‘Shades Of Forest’, out now. 

‘Shades of Forest’ is a collection of four songs interweaving pop-inspired dreamscapes of lush and ephemeral tones with celestial and chaotic harmonies reminiscent of mountainous ecosystems.  With this new music, Fi wants to transport her listeners into a moment of beauty and take notice of our conversations with the natural world around us…to listen for distillations of the Earth’s sound.

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