Story + Photos/CORTNEY ARMITAGE
Since her new album is called Little Thunder, it was perfectly fitting that I headed out on a rainy day in NYC to shoot Fiona Silver. I’d never met her before so I didn’t know what I was in for. As I pushed the button to her apartment, my trembling finger belied my fidgets. I walked up the stairs to the fourth floor, my nervousness giving way to breathlessness as I spared a moment to regret my lapsed exercise regiment. I rounded the corner to the fourth floor and startled at some barking (Fiona’s sweet puppy Winston, I later discovered) when a stunning slip of a woman emerged from a hallway. Her face immediately disarmed me and I was struck by an overwhelming feeling that we were going to be friends. Between the warm glow of her smile, the mischievous twinkle in her eyes, and her laugh that blows through you like her album Little Thunder, the rain dripped down the windows and I knew this woman was kin.
Her music is it’s own unique blend of Rock ‘n Roll and Soul, with a hint of Grunge and 60’s pop thrown in for good measure. When asked if there are any specific themes in her music she said, “A lot of my songs are about fighting to overcome something mentally and emotionally. We all have our challenges and the struggle is real! Some of my songs are about just opening up and being vulnerable, others are about empowerment, and sometimes I like to do a little story-telling through the songs.” It’s true, after listening to Little Thunder, that all of the tracks draw from an emotional intensity that a lot of song-writers shy away from in order to appeal to an anesthetized mass audience. Silver’s music seems to say, “Fuck it. Get lost in someone and pay the consequences. After all, if you’re going to jump into a broken heart, you might as well enjoy the fall. Go ahead, you’re strong enough to pick yourself up and keep going. Taking a risk isn’t going to destroy you, it’s only going to make you stronger.”
If you run Silver through a google search you’ll probably stumble across her video “Sweet Bitterness” on YouTube. Although the track is not on Little Thunder, its significance is felt in every song on that album. “Sweet Bitterness” directly tackles the death of her brother, Morgan Silver. She also humbly addressed death at her album release show when she publicly acknowledged her father’s passing. “I come from a pretty creative family. My older brother played guitar and really inspired me to [play] as well. He was also a painter and creative in a lot of ways. My mom studied dance and is a movement therapist and my dad was a chef, so everyone kind of had their thing. But I just connect most to music and poetry or songwriting. It’s definitely a way of processing things I find both beautiful and difficult, which has been really useful to me–especially when dealing with grief, depression, and of course an existential crisis.”
Silver discovered her strength by walking through the fire of loss and emerging, not just strong, but unstoppable. When asked about the toughest part of her work, she says, “learning to be completely self-sufficient has been tough. There have been a lot of times when I got my hopes up that someone, who claimed to want to ‘help’ me, actually would but nothing has ever been handed to me and there have definitely been growing pains. In the end it is an empowering experience, though, and I am continuously reassured and inspired by my fellow artists to keep building community and keep going.”
About her new, one-year old band (Sara Press, Guy Fiumarelli, and Rich Hutchins) she says,”My bandmates both past (Logan Baldwin, Jimmy Caputo and Chris Coombs) and present are all incredible musicians who help me form my sound. My co-producer, Erin Tonkon, who recorded and mixed my record, was completely instrumental. My friends, The Liza Colby Sound, have single-handedly made me a better performer. They’re next level, and we’ve played a bunch of shows together so I had to step up my game!”
There is no doubt that she will keep on leveling up and will keep getting stronger. At her album release show at The Roxy Hotel in NYC, the consensus in the room was clear: Everyone was rooting for her. With that kind of thunder on her side, it won’t be long before the thunder surrounding Silver will be deafening.
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