From a young age, I loved to perform. I would put on shows, singing and dancing with my little brother downstairs in our rumpus room and invite the whole neighbourhood to watch. I thought that entertaining people was the best thing you could ever do in life! Most days you’d catch me singing into my hairbrush while dancing in front of the mirror and whenever I went to the beach, I’d be dancing around, leaping and doing acrobatic tricks as well. My passion and enthusiasm were endless. By the time I hit my early teens though, I’d lost most of my confidence mainly thanks to my mum telling me to “stop showing off” and partly due to the onset of puberty.
I remember feeling so nervous auditioning for the school choir in Year 7 that my voice came out as a strangled whimper. I assumed Mrs Harvey the choir teacher needed to boost numbers as to my shock, I scored a place in the alto section. I was chuffed. I loved singing in the choir, especially hearing all the separate parts come together and create this beautiful whole sound. My love of harmonies was developed during my choir years and I still get chills whenever I hear the Hallelujah Chorus being sung. Although I loved to sing I didn't think I was any good at it until one day Mrs Harvey singled me out during practice and said “Fiona you have excellent intonation”. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I read later in the dictionary that it meant “accuracy of pitch in singing". So basically I could sing in tune. For some reason, this little compliment gave me back that confidence I'd lost as a child, so much so that I actually thought I could call myself a singer.
So throughout my late teens and early 20’s, I grabbed any chance I could to perform. I did back-ups in my brother’s rock band, performed in amateur plays, musicals and a song and dance trio and even did Go Go dancing with a friend in Sydney nightclubs. When I travelled overseas to Canada and the UK in my mid 20’s, I joined as many bands that I could, not caring what songs I was asked to sing. I didn’t care if it was music I wasn't particularly into, because as long as I got to sing and perform I was happy. Although I got paid occasionally to sing, I only ever thought of my singing as a hobby. It wasn’t until I met Ryan almost a decade later that I started to really believe that singing could be something more.
In 2005, I was living back in Sydney, unsure of what lay ahead. I really wanted to perform again, but felt that it was perhaps too late for me. I had 2 young children who took up a lot of my time and energy. Those were the thoughts swimming around in my head, as I sat on my own in my favourite cafe one day. I noticed a tall young guy with dark curls opposite me, writing in a little black book. I’d seen him around before and we’d exchanged smiles but this day we struck up conversation. “Are you a writer?” I asked. “Not exactly, he said in an English accent, “well kind of I suppose, I’m a songwriter”. This immediately sparked my interest and I told him how much I loved to sing but hadn’t for years. We ended up chatting for hours that day, bonding over our mutual love of corny love songs and happy pop music. He was a kindred spirit. He told me he was setting up a band, gave me his CD and said he was looking for a back up singer then invited me to drop by for a jam any time I wanted.
It would be months before I got up the courage to go to a band rehearsal, but once I did there was no looking back. My passion for performing returned even stronger than before and better still, this time I got to do songs that I actually loved – upbeat and happy pop songs and some beautiful love ballads too. And fortunately our voices blended together with my alto tones complementing Ryan’s husky baritone. Though I joined Ryan’s band initially as a back-up singer, we eventually stripped things back until it was just the 2 of us. We shared the lead vocals and focussed on a more acoustic sound. We were now officially "Ryan & Fi".
It wasn’t long before we became partners off stage as well as on. Singing beautiful love songs together inevitably led to us falling in love (aww). We got married on a rainy day on the 04/04/14 in front of 40 close friends and family, with my son giving me away and my daughter my bridesmaid. Ryan sang a love song he wrote especially for me that night called “Written in the Stars”. Looking back on our journey together, it seems that it was truly written in the stars that Ryan and I would meet in that cafe that day over 10 years ago. I believe we were meant to come together to create our own special brand of harmonious and uplifting music that we could share with others around the world.