Interview With Fanny Lumsden

Helen PocockInterviewsLeave a Comment


I was fortunate enough to chat to Australia’s multi-award winning Fanny Lumsden recently, before she and her band played a stunner of a set at London’s Omera as part of their inaugural tour of UK and Ireland. Anyone fortunate enough to catch one of their shows will no doubt bear testimony to the fun and high energy Fanny and the Pawn Stars (love that band name, they dress appropriately in red suits too!) bring to the stage as they showcase her story-based songwriting. 

If you missed them this time round, don’t worry as they are back here in the Summer (full details tba) and I really can’t recommend them enough! 

Oh and as an aside … as she explains on stage, Fanny does mean the same in Australia as it does here (hilariously she then adds that it’s a girls name!).

Hope you enjoy the interview. 

LH Welcome to London, and to your first tour over here … but not your first time playing in the UK which was at Glastonbury last year! What a way to start!

FL I know, outrageous! It was almost one of those things that wasn’t even on the bucket list because we didn’t think it was possible. It was incredible! But this is our first ticketed tour and we’re having a ball. 

LH I guess touring here is quite a doddle compared to Australia where the distances between shows are so vast? 

FL Yes! We couldn’t believe it the other day, we had just one hour of driving! You’d never do gigs an hour apart back home cos there’s just not enough population. And there’s so many music lovers here who have a lot of love, respect and knowledge …. that doesn’t exist to the same extent in Australia, which is cool. 

LH I was going to ask a bit about the differences, we’ve seen a huge upsurge in the popularity of country music here in recent years, particularly among the younger generation I think, has it been the same for you?

FL Country music had always been pretty big in Australia, it’s the third biggest country music market in the world. And there’s a lot of structure around the country industry, support that makes it possible as long as you can provide all the goods! The networks, the radio, the press , all that stuff, which is really helpful . Country music is very story based isn’t it and tries to tell the working class story so I think people connect with that. 

LH So what can we expect from a Fanny Lumsden show? 

FL A lot of fun! My whole ethos with live music has grown from touring with my Country Halls Tours that I’ve been putting on for twelve years around Australia. Some people had never been to live music so I had to learn to communicate my songs to people who may not have experienced that type of thing before so it’s a very interactive, fun show. I love bouncing around the stage like a total idiot … there’s also quiet moments and storytelling tho cos otherwise everyone would be exhausted! 

LH So I expect we’ll hear a lot of songs from your most recent album “Hey Dawn“ which has been hugely successful, congratulations but it followed on from your most successful album up til then, 2020’s “Fallow“ … did that put any pressure on you? Was it a double edged sword ?

FL Yes! I’d be lying to you if I said it didn’t. It was all internal … it always is. But I didn’t really know where to go with the next album. It was also a profound moment in time for me, that album (“Fallow”) came out when the wildfires were around where I lived, and it was the story of that, and at the time of Covid, it was an album about staying hopeful in dark times. But when we found ourselves accidentally driving round Australia (I tell the story in the show!) all these songs just came out and in the end I just wanted to make an album that was still storytelling but more external stories, and an album that just felt good! I didn’t want to make something profound, I took that pressure off, and that’s when I was able to make this record. 

LH I’ve actually got written here that it’s a very uplifting, and at times a very humorous album! 

And you solo write too, which is unusual these days in my experience, is that partly as you have too much else going on to schedule writes? 

FL Yes….and I also write in flow state, there’s already lots of things going on in my head at once and I find it hard if someone else is in the room and pulling me out of that all the time . That’s where the songs come from for me. 

LH Sonically it’s a really varied album. I love the mixture of arrangements and the genres it dips in to. Were you inspired by a lot of different musical genres when you were growing up or when you were writing the album? 

FL Not when I was writing it, I actually don’t listen to anything when I’m recording an album. I don’t want to have the influence or rip something off accidentally. But yes, when I was growing up, heaps. Now I listen back, in songs like “Soar“ there’s elements of “Tom Petty meets The Corrs”. The Corrs were the first CD I ever bought, when I was a little girl out in the bush . My mum loved classical music, that was always on in the house. My dad loved country … old country …

LH Are your parents musical

FL Yeah both sides of my family have opera singers, musical theatre performers……I’m like the red neck cousin! Everyone learned the piano. You’d go to my grandmas house and there’d be like a concert, everyone jamming and playing, lots of harmonies with my cousins. So there was a lot of music growing up, but I wasn’t one of those kids whose parents had a cool record collection. I didn’t have any access to pop culture really .

LH You were brought up in the middle of nowhere weren’t you

FL Yes, I guess my access to pop culture was on the school bus on the radio. I wouldn’t have admitted to that at one point but that’s my story so why should I be ashamed? I loved Australian country music growing up, and as I got older and started songwriting I really loved Laura MarlingJosh Pyke (from Australia) … both indie, conversational type folk writers, and I discovered that world through them. 

LH So when you write a song, do you immediately have an idea of how you want it to sound?

FL Oh yeah! But I’m open to ideas. The producer I work with, Matt Fell, is responsible with me for how it sounds. He’s an absolute genius of a guy and has such beautiful ideas. I’ve done all four records with him now, though, so I’m thinking about trying someone new . You sometimes have to change things, right? 

LH How about self-producing? Adding that string to your very busy bow!

FL I create everything else myself, so I like the idea of someone else doing that. I’ll tell them if I don’t like it though! Matt and I actually co-produced “Hey Dawn” so I have that credit. 

LH So that album came out last August, and you’ve been touring it back home, which tracks are seeming to resonate the most with your followers

FL The song “ Ugly Flowers” has resonated a LOT more than I thought it would. I guess because it’s a ballad I underestimated it a bit. And “When I Die “ because of the story behind it I think … and it’s an upbeat, fun one. And “Millionaire“, we kind of expected that one to do well as it’s the most commercial country one, we led with that single at country radio.

LH What about at live shows?

FL “Soar”, which is the only one which hasn’t had a moment online! It connects really well live for some reason, it has a big jammy bit at the end and we really get into it! 

LH I must mention the videos too, you made one for every single track! I assume you love that part of being creative? 

FL Yes, I love creating the visual world around my music. I love the world of an album, finding its themes, ideas and identity. And then creating a visual world around them. I come up with the ideas and then I have Dan (her husband/bass player) who makes them all work. 

I waited to find it with “Hey Dawn” and just trusted the process and knew it was going to come. But it took me til I was in the studio to know I had to trust myself and not worry about what people would think. 

LH And course “Hey Dawn” had to be the album opener didn’t it?  Those opening lines herald the arrival of everything that follows. 

FL Yes track order is very important to me … in fact there’s not a detail that’s an accident , or if it was it was a happy accident. We thought about everything right across the album, from the fonts to the colours, linking things to how the album sounds and feels. Which I completely love. I enjoy every element, down to the business side of it. 

LH Yes you’re self managed I know … I don’t know how you find the time to do everything (aside … as well as her music career, being a mother of two young boys and living on a farm 6 hours from a major city Fanny is also a volunteer firefighter!). 

LH So you’re coming back here later this year which is so exciting, is that for festivals, more headline shows, or can’t you spill yet? 

FL Yes, we’re playing “Underneath The Stars“ which is already announced and hoping for a few more festivals too …

LH Hopefully in better weather than this….

FL Oh but I love it, we’re having a blast and everyone is so kind. I feel I’m getting back into doing what I love to do. I’m very positive about this market and the stories I’m telling are really the same stories as everyone lives through here. There’s just so many people who love music here. We’ve played America too but after our visit here last year we all just thought this just feels really friendly, open and possible. America is very “top down“ especially in country music, you have to go here, play there. Whereas we are more “DIY“, and we want to make friends and have fun! We’re really dedicated to coming back here … this feels like just the introduction. If you keep coming to shows, we’ll keep coming back! 

LH Are you finding time to write new music? Is there a new project taking shape? 

FL Yes! I would actually LOVE right now to just jump into the studio , I have all these songs and ideas I’m really excited about. 

The world has already formed in my brain. Which is very different to how “Hey Dawn“ started. 

LH Oh fantastic, can’t wait to hear the result

Thanks so much for your time, enjoy the rest of the tour, safe travels and hopefully see you in the Summer. 

FL It’s been great fun, thank you

And then she gave me a present of “Hey Dawn“ on cassette ( I still have my ‘80s Walkman btw!) and a sticker (which will go on my guitar case) … what a sweetheart. 

More artist information at

Or in our recent “introducing” article

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