Thursday, April 05, 2012

Hero Fisher interview

There is a glint in Hero Fisher's eye as she sips red wine in a Sydney bar. Blonde hair tumbles onto her shoulders and a cheeky smile exudes an instantly beguiling impishness and engaging charisma. It is little wonder she is feeling particularly ebullient today as, a couple of nights previously, she had wowed the same room with the launch of her debut EP; her solo set of live songs receiving a rapturous reception. It's not just the Sydney public that are paying attention either. Last November, Andrew Wyatt invited her to record one of her songs, Break My Heart And Mend It, in Prague with an orchestra he was working with to record his own solo album. Soon, she would head to the UK to perform at the Royal Opera House alongside the likes of Boy George, Jonathan Pierce and Alison Mosshart in a dance production written by Wyatt and Mark Ronson and orchestrated by Rufus Wainwright. "I am so excited about the show," she exclaims. "It's such an amazing mix of worlds, and I feel so lucky to be involved." With her star clearly ascending at pace, it's safe to say that you'll be hearing a lot more from this Sydneysider in 2012.

A perfect English accent suggests that she was not born-and-bred in Australia, yet it also belies her French upbringing. “I ended up in Australia about two years ago because I needed to get away from Paris, which is where I grew up for most of my life. I have got Australian parents and I guess I initially just wanted to see what they had run away from.” And so she ended up in the Harbour City, where she instantly fell in with a creative bunch of like-minded musicians, such as Bobbysix favourites, The Preachers. Friendships were formed. Music was made.

While Hero (which is her real name, incidentally) was happy to nestle in the bosom of Sydney's musical family, initially she found working with others to be a strange experience. “I'd been playing solo all my life, so then I had huge fear of collaborating with anyone and just this fear of having to look someone in the eyes and say, 'This is the reality of the song. It's not that good but we can work it out,' rather than 'Hello everybody, this is me in my perfect state,' which never happens. Having a producer was new to me as well. That was full-on. But it was great and a really good learning experience and I'm so glad that I did it.” The eventual result of such collaborating is a stunning debut EP. “At this point, what I like about songwriting is that I don't feel convinced about anything,” she says of her creative processes. “I'm really enjoying it. I like that I'll come up with some brilliant idea and think 'This is genius,' and then a week later I'll be like, 'No. It's shit.' The songs are at a point where the subject is about letting things flow past you rather than being up against them, being aware that you'll always change your mind and that it's fine to do so.”

Her folk musings are born from a love of some of the all-time greats. As talk turns to her influences, one name continues to crop up. “Bob Dylan is my number one hero. He's my god. He has influenced me so much and I just love how naughty he is. He is a totally mystery. It's impossible to understand the man. I also love Billie Holiday. She's one of my favourite singers and I love how she sings everything right after the beat. There are loads of others... Neil Young, Jeff Buckley, Joni Mitchell.” Mitchell is certainly a good reference point, as would be Laura Marling. Wise yet yearningly poetic lyrics over acoustic guitars and flourishes of strings make for an achingly beautiful listen and one which you would be foolish not to embrace.

You can catch Hero at the Royal Opera House throughout April. For ticket information, and to purchase her wonderful EP, head to

Interview by Heidi Pett and Bobby Townsend.

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