Fiona Joy

Piano Angel,

  • About Fiona

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    ‘The feel of Into the Mist brings back to mind… the wonderful years ofWindham Hill…’

    David Robinson, Editor-in-Chief of Positive Feedback

    2017 featured the release of solo piano album Into the Mist –Audiophile Edition (Blue Coast Records/Sony Hi-Res Audio) and a much anticipated arrival of New Age Supergroup FLOW (Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster, Will Ackerman). Flow (by FLOW) is a ground-breaking release inspired by the iconic music of Windham Hill.

    Australian Pianist & Singer Fiona Joy reflects on a busy year that included a performance at New York Carnegie (Weill Hall), a live concert on Echoes/NPR and accompanying Deepak Chopra, a concert for the Mason and Hamlin Piano Festival hosted by Hollywood Piano as well as the release of Into the Mist in the Sony Sponsored Hi-res Magic Bus which was a featured event at the Los Angeles Audio Show.

    Additionally, Fiona’s 2016 release Signature Synchronicity was nominated for Best Piano Album and Album of the Year in and global airplay ZMR Awardsand in 2016 the album won two categories in the Independent Music Awards, a Finalist in the International Acoustic Music Awards, Hollywood Music in Media Awards and the USA Song-writing Competition.

    Having tour China three times now, Fiona Joy is nick-named The Piano Angel, not just for her romantic, melodic songs and lush arrangements, but also for her gracious and mesmerizingly ballet-like performance style in concert.   A prolific composer, she has always been interested in creating music that evokes images, emotions and stories.  

    Her schedule for 2018 includes recording on the worlds first 108 key Stuart and Son’s piano in Melbourne Australia, a tour with FLOW that will include a featured performance at the ZMR International Radio Awards Show in New Orleans as well as the West Coast of US.

    It follows that her upbringing was filled with music. She recalls that her father embraced Andrew Lloyd Webber's music, playing Jesus in the Tamworth Musical Society production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Her classical piano training is evident in her thematic and melodic compositions. Ravel's “Bolero” emerged as an early influence, she says, adding, "I loved it, I played it over and over and deconstructed every part. George Winston, Prokofiev and Mendelssohn also intrigued me.”

    In 2015 Fiona contributed to a GRAMMY-winning album and traversed three continents, performing solo on a grand tour of China, entertaining in the U.S. at the ZMR Awards and at the audiophile Mecca, T.H.E. Show, closing out the year in Australia at the Sydney Women's International Jazz Festival with her renowned Blue Dream Ensemble. Once home, she attracted the national TV show ‘Lateline’, which ran a feature lifestyle piece on her life and music. (https://youtu.be/6RCTtmkwdSI)

    Fiona’s song “Grace” was chosen for a GRAMMY®-winning album that also reached #1 on the Billboard charts, and in 2013, her evocative piano and ethereal vocals earned her the global broadcaster’s choice and honor as the Best Instrumental Piano Album for 600 Years in a Momentat the ZMR Awards,whose airplay charts she also graced at #1 for several months with Signature Solo. Fiona Joy also placed as Runner Up for Best Instrumental Song in the International Acoustic Music Awards, nominated alongside Pete Seeger for Best LIVE Performance Album in the Independent Music Awards, and she was an ARIA Finalist in Australia in 2008.

    Fiona is interested in pioneering new musical concepts and recording techniques to better serve her highly-interactive fan base. She frequently appears at audiophile conferences, and is signed to Blue Coast Records for high-fidelity recordings; owner/producer Cookie Marenco is considered and leader in the field, partnering with Sony Music to deliver hi-res music to discerning audiophile consumers. Marenco says, "Fiona's melodic solo piano and masterful performances are the perfect music to debut the kind of clarity double DSD audio brings to the home listener".  

    Producer of 4 of Fiona’s albums, Will Ackerman, founder of both Windham Hill Records and Imaginary Road Studios, embraced and encouraged Fiona’s music years ago, stating, “Fiona’s Blue Dream album was the most ambitious project of my entire career and resulted in one of the most remarkable collaborations this genre has ever known. Blue Dream is unique and I’m as proud of it as anything I’ve ever worked on in my 35-year career of GRAMMY® Awards and Gold/Platinum records.” 

    As a collaborator, Fiona has worked with Will Ackerman, Lawrence Blatt, T-Bone Wolk (Hall & Oates), Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, Dire Straits), Jeff Haynes (Pat Metheny), Eugene Friesen (Paul Winter Consort), Heather Rankin, Charlie Bisharat (Shadowfax), Rebecca Daniel (ACO), Jeff Oster and many others. In 2014, she and Ackerman co-produced the successful debut album of Jennifer DeFrayne, who won Best New Artist in the 2015 ZMR Awards for her album By A Wire.

    “What I appreciated most was being able to listen and watch Fiona at the piano. The passion and elegance in her performance was breathtaking, as her flawless technique combined with pure emotional expression.”  Music Reviewer Michael Diamond

    When not recording or touring, Fiona is busy directing the entrepreneurial side of her music business, an effort which is crucial to the success of every independent artist. She manages her growing record label, Little Hartley Music, and promotes Fiona Joy Jewellery, her new line offering the upscale Swarovsky crystal-adorned bracelets and foot jewellery that she wears while performing barefooted in concert.

    When not on the road, Fiona escapes to her peaceful home in a small rural village in Australia.

    “One of the brightest lights in contemporary instrumental music, Fiona Joy is poised to move into stardom.”

    - Will Ackerman, Founder of Windham Hill Records

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    Global Media Relations: Beth Hilton, The B Company: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (310-560-8390)

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    Online: http://www.fionajoy.com*www.Facebook.com/fionajoymusic * www.Youtube.com/fionajoy *

    Twitter @fionajoymusic *https://www.instagram.com/fionajoymusic/

    Earlier Quotes.Fiona’s Blue Dream album was the most ambitious project of my entire career and resulted in one of the most remarkable collaborations this genre has ever known. Blue Dream is unique and I’m as proud of it as anything I’ve ever worked on in my 35 year career of Grammy Awards and gold /platinum records.” Will Ackerman (Founder Windham Hill Records)

    “Blue Dream represents the very best of this music genre and follows in the great tradition of artists such as George Winston. This beautifully crafted album has already been hailed in the US as a work of pure genius”. ABC Music Australia

    “Hawkins enters the realm of masterfull” Smoothjazz FM.

    Discography:

    1. PORTRAIT OF A WATERFALL
    2. ANGEL ABOVE MY PIANO
    3. ICE - PIANO SLIGHTLY CHILLED
    4. BLUE DREAM CD AND SA-CD
    5. MUSIC FOR MASSAGE
    6. CHRISTMAS JOY CD AND SA-CD
    7. LIVE at THE Q with the Blue Dream Ensemble
    8. SENSUAL JOURNEYS
    9. 600 Years in a Moment (CD/SACD/Vinyl)
    10. Signature - Solo (Blue Coast Records) DSD, SACD and CD
      1. Signature - Synchronicity - CD, DSD
      2. Into the Mist - DSD, SACD, CD (due mid 2016)

    AWARDS:

    2016 Album: Song 'Fair Not' (Signature Synchronicity) Fiona Joy (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: FINALIST - Best Instrumental Song

    Award: International Acoustic Music Awards

    2016: Song Calling Earth (Signature Synchronicity) Fiona Joy (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: WINNER - Best New Age Song

    Award: Independent Music Awards

    2016: Album: Signature Synchronicity Fiona Joy (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: WINNER - Best New Age Album

    Award: Independent Music Awards

    2016: Song Little Star (Signature Synchronicity) Fiona Joy (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: FINALIST

    Award: USA Songwriting Competition

    2016 Album: Signature Solo - Fiona Joy Blue Coast Records

    Status: WINNER

    Award: ZMR Best Piano Album

    2016 Song: 'Grace '

    album: Winds of Samsara (Ricky Kej/Wouter Kellerman)

    Status: WINNER

    Award: GRAMMY Best New Age album.

    2015 Song: 'Ceremony' (Signature- Solo), Fiona Joy (Tiny Island Music/Blue Coast Records)

    Status: FINALIST

    Awards: International Acoustic Music Awards

    2014 Song: 'Tango on Wednesday (600 Years in a Moment) Fiona Joy Hawkins (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: RUNNER UP

    Awards: International Acoustic Music Awards

    2014 Song: The Journey (600 Years in a Moment)

    Status: FINALIST

    Awards: Independent Music Awards

     

    2014 Album: 600 Years in a Moment

    Status: WINNER

    Award: ZMR International voted Radio Awards Best Piano Album with Instrumentation

    2014 Album: 600 Years in a Moment

    Status: FINALIST

    Award: ZMR International voted Radio Awards Album of the Year

    2014 Album: Sensual Journeys Fiona Joy Hawkins (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: FINALIST

    Award: Independent Music Awards

    2014 Album: LIVE at the Q Fiona Joy Hawkins (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: FINALIST

    Award: Independent Music Awards Best LIVE performance

    2011 Album: Christmas Joy Fiona Joy Hawkins (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: FINALIST

    Award: ZMR Radio Voted Awards Best Holiday Album

    2009 Album: Blue Dream Fiona Joy Hawkins (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: WINNER

    Award ZMR Radio Voted Awards - Album of the Year

    2009 Album: Blue Dream Fiona Joy Hawkins (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: WINNER

    Award: ZMR Radio Voted Awards - Best Piano Album

    2009 Album: Blue Dream Fiona Joy Hawkins (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: WINNER

    Award: ZMR Radio Voted Awards - Best Contemporary Instrumental Album

    2009 Album: Blue Dream Fiona Joy Hawkins (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: Finalist

    Award: ARIA (Australia) Best World Music Album

    2009 Album: ICE - Piano Slightly Chilled Fiona Joy Hawkins (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: Winner

    Award: NAR Radio Awards Best Dance/Dub/Club Album

    2008 Song: Blue Dream (Blue Dream), Fiona Joy Hawkins (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: WINNER

    Award: MusicOZ Awards - Best Classical.

    2007 Song: Frosted View (ICE - Piano Slightly Chilled) - Fiona Joy Hawkins (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: FINALIST

    Awards: MusicOZ Awards Best Instrumental Song

    2006 Song: Dance of the Penguins (Angel Above my Piano) - Fiona Joy Hawkins (Little Hartley Music)

    Status: FINALIST

    Awards: MusicOz Awards Best Classical Composition

    Other Awards for Finalist include: Just Plain Folks 2009, Unisong Awards 2009, NAR Music Awards 2008,

    Hollywood Music Awards 2008, Australian Songwriters Awards – 2007, LA Music Awards – Frosted View – Dance category2007, John Lennon Song Writing Competition 2007, Piano Heaven, One World Music. All Stars Radio Best New Age Artist 2013.

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  • Review: Into the Mist by Mediaversal (hires reviews)

    Fiona Joy - Into the Mist - SACD 2.0 hi-res review by Mediaversal

    It is hard to imagine that the path of least resistance is typically the most rewarding, and put in audio terms the least processed music often sounds the best. Yet this is precisely what listeners will experience when hearing Fiona Joy’s latest release "Into the Mist" which has been superbly recorded by producer and engineer Cookie Marenco. Utilizing the high-fidelity format called Direct Stream Digital (DSD), Marenco has employed her proprietary technique called Extended Sound Environment (E.S.E.) by which she has directly recorded each unedited take to Quad DSD256.

    Into the Mist is the second album to be released on Blue Coast Records, and we’ll explore the previous album "Signature - Solo" here too. I received both as Hybrid SACD’s which contain a CD layer and of course a SACD stereo DSD layer which is what I’ll write about here. These are both solo piano releases, performed on a seven foot 1885 Steinway grand piano. Much of the secret sauce to the sound quality can be attributed to both microphone selection and placement, but surely the signal path and ESE proprietary process adds the magic that defines these incredible audiophile recordings.

    I was first introduced to Fiona Joy Hawkins when she released “Blue Dream” back in 2009 and subsequently her 2013 album titled “600 Years in a Moment” both produced by Windham Hill Records founder William Ackerman. It is no wonder how she came to work with Blue Coast Records as founder Marenco had been part of the production team at Windham Hill back in the 80’s. Continuing the neo-classical genre, also known by some as New Age, Fiona Joy has written ten delightful pieces for her 2017 release Into the Mist.

    Unlike many of the discs I have, there is plenty of headroom, allowing me to push the amp further without the possibility of maxing out at the top of the dynamic range. I think we can safely say that an acoustic grand piano will not hit the peak of 120db, the technical dynamic range of an SACD. Of course as you know it is the sum of all of the parts, which include the levels set at the time of recording, plus any adjustments made during mixdown and mastering. I found a level that approximated what I felt an actual live piano in my listening room would sound like based on my previous experiences as an audio engineer, and sat down for a listening session.

    The piano spreads across the stereo channels, staying comfortably within the limits of the image, not being narrow, but not being excessively wide either. The lower octaves are weighted toward the left channel, while the upper octaves are weighted towards the right. For recording novices, the acoustic piano is one of the most difficult instruments to successfully capture, as it often yields imbalances across the range due to microphone placement which cause phasing problems and issues related to microphone sensitivity. You won’t hear that when listening to all of the tracks on Into the Mist. Instead I literally felt as though Fiona Joy had brought her Steinway and incredible talents right into my home and provided a personal performance for me.

    Do I need to even mention how transparent, open and well defined these pieces sound? The top range glistens while the mids and lows warmly draw out the picturesque movement of these emotional songs. Fans of George Winston should instantly love the music of Fiona Joy, which by no means is a direct copy of his talents. Rather Joy’s music goes into a new dimension which is akin to classical and evidenced by the three part Opus which starts with the album theme.

    I sense the piano is turned slightly allowing me to see across the keyboard and feel the depth especially as the harmonics shimmer after each note is struck. I can’t say enough about the immediacy to the top end as Joy elevates to the upper octaves. The brilliance of the keys strikes so perfectly and with such clarity it is difficult to admit that she is not right in front of me. I don’t think I have ever said this, but there is absolutely nothing I would change about this recording, meaning it is perfect from my perspective. This is a five star release, and deserves every accolade for sound quality, performance, and composition. Musically it is her most accomplished work, guiding you across landscapes and interweaved with emotions. There are delicate moments and playful sections as she cascades across the keyboard. Pieces flow and ripple with a modern voice that gives classical music a new touch.

    Joy’s first release on Blue Coast Records in 2015 titled "Signature - Solo" also contains ten solo piano recordings. However, this album was recorded to analog tape, and Marenco used the ESE process to mix direct to stereo DSD, which yields a different aural quality. The overall stereo image is wider and there is a distinct use of room ambience layered into the mix which places the piano in a much larger space. This doesn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of Signature, but it feels a little less intimate. I have now been transported to a hall where she is performing these uplifting pieces, and it is easy to close my eyes and envision her on a stage. The upper range is angelic and I feel a greater roundness to the low end. Unlike her latest release, the piano appears flat across the speakers, minimizing the depth. An occasionally characteristic aspect to Joy’s pieces are her vocal additions that soar among the duet “Once Upon Impossible” featuring guitarist Lawrence Blatt.

    Blue Coast Records has done an excellent job at making various formats available to satisfy every listener, including CD’s, SACD’s, DSD, FLAC or WAVE downloads in various resolutions. Yet it is their continued push forward through the use of new recording technologies which makes them a pioneer and role model for other audiophile releases.

    A must have for fans of Fiona Joy, listeners who enjoy engaging with elegant acoustic music, and purists that seek the best audiophile recordings in the world. I advise opting for the highest quality DSD download your system can handle before considering the SACD or PCM file formats. Regardless of the format you select, it will be an amazing listen, as these are by far the highest quality releases recorded with the best quality equipment known to human kind.

    • Stereo DSD, WAVE, FLAC downloads, or on Hybrid SACD.

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