Distraction recently got “up close” with local musician and UM music major Joni Fatora, who graduates this year. We headed off to shoot the session near one of the art buildings on the UM campus and chatted about her music, what it’s like to play gigs in Miami and on campus, and more..
About Her Music:
Joni Fatora’s songs are serious. The songs are seriously good, but also just plain serious. She says friends, classmates and even Reynaldo Sanchez, who is director of the Bruce Hornsby Creative American Music Program (in which she is a student) at the Frost School of Music, have described her songs as “dark” and “haunting”.
“I guess the sad things are what draw me, they’re more emotional.”
But they can also be tongue-in-cheek, and provide a contrast to the sometimes obnoxiously upbeat and bubblegum-y music that usually flows out of the mainstream these days. Take for instance the title of one of her songs: “No Good with Love Songs”.
The Miami Music Scene:
On the list of gigs that Fatora mentions as her favorites, she brings up mainly shows organized via UM, such as the Songwriter’s showcase and the Cat 5 Breaking The Surface compilation showcase.
As is the case with any up-and-coming musician, however, not all shows produce big, supportive crowds.
“But you have to go through that. Then you really appreciate when you have a big audience that’s paying attention to you,” Fatora said. “That’s precious.”
Still, Fatora says that sometimes that aspect which inevitably comes with trying to get your name out there can be disheartening. Still, thinking of giving up the battle for musical success just isn’t an option, and can’t be replaced with some other, perhaps more realistic goal.
“I’ve tried getting a job, it didn’t work out. I’ve tried waitressing, it didn’t work out. I think I need the freedom to do anything I want to do. I couldn’t do anything else other than music, it just wouldn‘t work.”
On The Impact of UM’s Frost School of Music:
Fatora’s choice to come to UM was sort of a risk. She says she didn’t tour the campus, but had been drawn to the music school thanks to its reputation of the caliber of its music students. According to Fatora, what she learned from studying at the Frost School of Music was derived more from the pressures of a diversity of musical styles and the pressure that comes from that kind of environment. She’s says that it’s important for students in that situation, one where they are exposed to so many different styles and have people perhaps pushing them to play styles different from the one they play, to keep in mind what they want to do musically and stay true to that.
“You need to know who you are as an artist before people can understand you as an artist.”
For our live sessions, Joni Fatora played original song “No Good With Love Songs” followed by “Two Birds“, the video for which includes our Q and A with her. Check it out below!
Then, comment with your thoughts + suggestions on the next local musician we should get up close with.
words_hyan freitas. video_hyan freitas and taylor sperring.