Catching up with: Fifi Rong; PRS for Music Foundation funded artist

FiFi Rong is a unique vocalist, songwriter and producer based in London.

FiFi has collaborated with artists including Tricky, Phaeleh and Yello (three tracks on their new Universal Records album ‘Toy’) to name a few, and her seductive vocals can be heard on the title track of Skepta’s hugely successful UK No. 2 and Mercury Prize-winning album ‘Konnichiwa’. She has also received vast support from a stream of blogs and radios including The 405, Clash, Fader Magazine, Hype Magazine, Pigeon and Planes, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1 Extra, BBC Radio 6 Music etc., and was publicly voted into China’s Top 10 of most popular new artists.

FiFi is currently producing her forthcoming album, which is scheduled for release in late 2017, and is one of 37 artists who will be sent to SXSW this year thanks to PRS for Music Foundation’s International Showcase Fund.

We wanted to interview FiFi to find out a little bit more about what playing SXSW means to her.

What does it mean for you to be able to play SXSW?

It's the first time I’m doing shows in the US. I have always wanted to play SXSW and more and more people who listen to me are in the states, so I'm really happy to make this step and I hope it opens more doors in the future.

Are there any other artists that you’re looking forward to seeing in Texas?

I'm plotting at the moment.  There are so many bands to see and lots of things going on, so I'm hoping to make the most of my time there and see as many shows as possible.

What would you say your musical ‘style’ is like?

I feel no boundaries in terms of musical genres I use, and I don't limit myself on that front at all. My ingredients are constantly changing and evolving, and I want to stay excited while I create new music. However, the recurring theme is a tendency towards the UK's dark electronic vibes where I came from, plus a hint of Chinese traditional flair in my delivery or sometimes sampling or melody, which is in my blood. My song writing style tends to go from melancholic/introspective pop to indie rock and ballads, which come from the songs I grew up listening to.

Who have you taken influence from in your career?

I love many legendary artists from Teressa Tang and Billie Holiday to Pink Floyd and Cocteau Twins. I also thank Tricky, Skepta and Yello, who have been acting as great mentors along the way.

What has been your career highlight to date?

All have been pretty amazing to be honest, from supporting Tricky on his UK tour (it was especially memorable because it was when I first started out and they were the first shows I ever did), to my first headline shows in London for my independent releases. There were also my Germany and China tours and guesting on four of Yello's sold out shows at Kraftwerk Berlin. I’ve also been very honoured to be a part of Tricky’s, Skepta’s and Yello's amazing albums.

What else does 2017 have in store for you?

I'm releasing a single shortly after SXSW and will continue to produce my new album this year. There are other exciting shows coming up and I'm working on producing and covering a number of tracks and writing with a few “pledgers” via my recent Pledge Music campaign.

What new artists are you listening to this year?

I'm pretty loyal to my existing heroes and keen on listening to their new work. This year has been crazy busy so farand I haven't been able to find new music yet, but I'm planning to check out Stormzy's album and Rag'n'Bone man as well.

What has the journey been like to get to this point?

An all-round evolution and expansion in creativity in terms of sound, song writing, production techniques, visual and stage performance aspects. I'm often frustrated there aren't enough hours in the day for me to do all I want to do, although the journey has been organic and fulfilling. I've constantly been learning a lot - not only on the technicality of being an artist but also how to be the person behind it - it's quite an art and craft in itself.

Are you headed to SXSW? Catch FiFi Rong here:

FiFi Rong at The Iron Bear

Mar 16, 2017, 12:00am — 12:40am (DST)

FiFi Rong at The British Music Embassy, Latitude 30, 512 San Jacinto Blvd

Mar 18, 2017,  3:00 - 3:30pm (DST)

FiFi Rong at The Townsend

Mar 18, 2017, 11:00pm — 11:40pm (DST)

In November 2016, PPL pledged to invest £200k per year in new artists as part of the PRS for Music Foundation partnership. Find out more here.