Photo Credit: Jenna Rae
From her days of performing for the local wildlife to her debut, ‘ pri·ma·ve·ra,’ Fo Fera has always gone above and beyond but that doesn’t mean she’s always felt on top of the world. The pressures we tend to put on ourselves outweigh that of others and when that reality sinks it, it can feel like well, as Fo Fera puts in “weighted balloons.” We talked about everything from imposter feelings to dark decor in this back and forth between two people who love to put stories out into the world.
Kendra: You’re a self-proclaimed storyteller who puts their poetry to song, but can you think back to the first story you ever imagined and then put on paper? Were you just a child or did this need to deliver tales develop with age?
Fo Fera: When I was young, I used to make up stories, and told many fibs. As a child, I always saw my future very clear, with many awards of recognition, and a house with a stupendous garden. I would often theatrically act this out to the local ant and squirrel population. When I was in middle school, I wrote a very radical poem about feeling like a slave in 2003. My poem was called “The Land of the Free, Not Me, Not Nobody.” Everyone liked the poem and was quite moved. I remember that moment quite clearly.
Kendra: Every writer, be they a blogger or a musician, pulls from somewhere to move their pen. For you, it’s often a dark place but if that place inside your mind manifested in reality – what kind of decor would it have? Would you try and rearrange the furniture to let some light shine in?
Fo Fera: This is so peculiar, I just love it! The room would be dim, I am quite a vampire and do not enjoy bright lights. I think all the furniture would be vintage, from the 1920’s to 1940’s, dusty, and a bit broken, but comfortable. You would sit on it and be semi-sure it would not break. Enough to relax, yet also on the edge. There would be a very clean re-upholstered chair with cedar wood, blankets, vining plants, candles, and a lamp with real ultra hygge.
Kendra: Let’s talk about some of your writing. “Honey, Are You Broken” came from one hell of a time in your life. You’ve said was very painful, so much so it’s made performing that song difficult. That’s something I’ve always wondered about musicians. You tend to write about the most painful moments and then in many ways relive them every time a fan wants to hear it at a show. How do you personally allow the past to stay put and focus on the present when performing that one now?
Fo Fera: Sometimes, I allow myself to dive into a very dark place. I tie a suspicious looking cord, give it a few tugs, and request that it pulls me out before the darkness consumes me. On occasion, I get stuck, and I stare into space, but my mind is processing something, or reflecting and working something out.
When performing if you do not allow yourself to go to the place your song was written (albeit dark or scary), the performance is flat, and unconvincing to the audience. Part of being a true artist is to give it 100%. That is why true artistry is so exhausting, and after shows I need to recharge alone.
Kendra: Will the rest of ‘pri·ma·vera’ be as personal as “Honey, Are You Broken?”
Fo Fera: Most definitely. I think we all need to be authentic and honest with ourselves to live a fulfilling life. For me, I want people who struggle with life’s challenges to know that there is someone out there who understands, and has been there too. For those who struggle with depression, and or suicidal thoughts or attempts, a song can save your life.
Unfortunately, social media has created this acceptance around being superficial, and inauthentic. The main person who is damaged when you are far away from your true self is yourself. Then others get caught up in this circular ruse to keep up with other people’s fake lives. Life is not about keeping up with appearances, it is about having your own experiences.
Kendra: Imposter syndrome and your name came to me together. I often feel something similar. Like I’m faking it as a member of society. Like I’m letting the world down with each step I take. For you though, was it based on being a valid musician, and how did you get past that?
Fo Fera: Well, I always called it fear of success. I see how those two can go hand in hand. I feel like I am a huge letdown to myself at times. My feelings always stemmed from my high standards and low self confidence. When you see what can happen and understand the bar, but you can not reach the bar, it is frustrating. I always knew my potential, and whenever I tried to work towards it, I felt like life would attach some huge weighted balloons that just dragged me to the bottom to start over again. Almost like that slange-og stige spil (snakes and ladders) game. You get close to the finish line and then someone else gets there first.
I never truly committed or invested time to develop my talents, (I am an eternal multi-hobbyist), and I felt my biological clock ticking, like I was too old for the industry to accept me. This in combination with my horrible circumstances (from poor life choices), led to a sense of helplessness, and misery. Despite the trauma, those experiences created some pretty great songs.
Kendra: We talked a little about ‘pri·ma·vera’ and what to expect, and we can expect that in 2020 but what else do you have lined up for the new year?
Fo Fera: Currently, I am working on publishing my first book of poems in 2020. I am also in the works of an album of 8-10 songs all in different languages about hope and the current discord with the world. With those two projects my hands are quite full. I am hoping to wrap up ‘pri·ma·vera’ to start other endeavors soon. Albeit difficult, this is just the beginning.