Following on from the release of his brand new single, ‘Feliz Navidad (She Stole My Heart)’ Fredrik Ferrier took the time to chat to Lisa. It was good to learn a little more about the musician, singer/songwriter, and star of E4’s ‘Made In Chelsea’, and find out what’s in store for him in the future.
EP: You’ve just sung your song ‘Feliz Navidad (She Stole My Heart)’ on ‘Made In Chelsea’. Has there been a good reception?
FF: Massively – amazing. I think people were quite shocked – they knew I was a musician and some people remember me back in the day singing some classical music, but now this is much more me. And the show have actually asked me continuously to sing on the show, because they want that sort of storyline, they want to tell my life, but I wasn’t ready yet. I think this was the first song where I could say yes, this was the perfect timing, during Christmas, it’s a Christmas song, it just made total sense.
EP: So MIC – is it a documentary or is it scripted?
FF: No. It’s not scripted, everyone plays their own character, and they follow your lives. Not in a Big Brother style sense, they understand what you’re doing, and for instance, next year will be about my journey as a musician, and that kind of thing.
EP: Oh that’s very very cool.
FF: Yes! It’s really exciting!
EP: You’ve been involved in music for a really long time, haven’t you, that’s been your thing right from the word go?
FF: Absolutely, right from the age of 6 years old I started on violin and then I was a chorister, and if I’m to be totally honest, at that particular time I didn’t really enjoy it, because as a 6 or 7 year old boy you want to be messing around outside, and going to a cathredral and singing two masses on a Sunday and four rehearsals a week and doing all these things; I didn’t want to do it, but I’m so grateful to my parents because they persevered, and they said you’ll thank us for doing this one day.
EP: They knew that you had the talent!
FF: They knew! And I had this realisation when I was older, that “Oh my God, my parents were right about everything”. I’m so happy that they did.
EP: How did it come about that you’re now working with Simon Climie?
FF: Mel Scott introduced me to him, and although I knew his songs, because I’d heard them thousands of times on the radio, like ‘Love Changes Everything’, and ‘I Knew You Were Waiting’, and these other sort of giant hits that he’s written, but the name Climie Fisher, that didn’t ring a bell, and so Mel introduced me to him, and it was when I went into the studio with him that I thought, “he’s a genius”. I’ve had so many songs I’ve written, and he’d listen to it and tweak it, and he’s also (in my opinion) one of the greatest living vocal coaches. So he can get you to work with the mic, and every single mic is different, and he taught me to unlock different parts of my voice.
EP: And with you being a chorister, you’ve learned to sing in a particular way, that’s all projection…
FF: Absolutely! And there were a lot of times when I was recording with Simon and he’d say, “Now that was a clinically perfect take but…” then there’d be other times when I’d have a cold, or I wouldn’t be a hundred percent, but the emotion would be there. It’s really interesting to find out the past couple of years, how the perfect take, with every take you capture something different, like more emotion, or what you’re feeling that day. It’s like a round of golf, sometimes you’ll play something that’s totally unique and you’ll never replicate that again. When we recorded the vocals for this first song, they were incredibly rushed, we walked away from it. Then I went back to re-record it, on a proper mic and a much bigger studio, they just weren’t as good. I think it’s really fascinating and also quite comforting to know as a singer that you don’t always have to be fighting fit to record a killer vocal.
EP: It’s quite good to know that not everyone’s a one-take wonder, it is like, little slices from here there and everywhere.
FF: You hear lots of stories – another thing I liked about Simon is that he’s worked in the studio with people like Stevie Wonder and George Michael, and hearing how they are, and what their warm up techniques have been, and how some people take one second, other people take more time, it’s really interesting to hear.
EP: You’re learning from the greats!
FF: Learning from the greats! Exactly right!
EP: You’ve lived all over the world – how? Why?
FF: We were following my Dad’s job around, and he works in the oil and gas sector.
EP: That explains Syria…
FF: But that’s everything from oil rigs and lots of other different companies. So if you look at where we’ve lived, it’s all oil capitals. People always said to me, “your parents are in oil or your Dad’s a diplomat…”
EP: So not Australia then!
FF: No, but I do absolutely love Australia! We’re hoping to do some promotional work over there!
EP: ‘Feliz Navidad (She Stole My Heart)’ – it reminds me of ‘The Look Of Love’ – you know, the Dusty Springfield song? It’s got that whole Burt Bacharach vibe.
FF: Great! Yeah it’s got that whole jazz, blues feel.
EP: It’s got a very laid back, romantic, sexy kind of sound, you could see it in a Bond film, it’s got a real Bond feel about it.
FF: People have actually said that about some other songs I’ve done as well! I think what it is, there’s a real emphasis on the music, and the chords, I think the time period in the genre you’re talking about, it was almost 50/50, whereas these days, some songs it feels like they’re too simple, a cycle of fifths, chord progression – there’s a YouTube video of someone on the piano playing the same four chords and singing all the hits – it’s easy enough to do – the chords are simple enough to be catchy but they are very musical as well.
It was the genre I was brought up with, Burt Bacharach, Jack Jones, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole.
EP: It’s an interesting way to approach a music career – you’ve always been in music but now you’re also on TV. Do you think that’s the way music is going these days, in the industry, people are looking at unique ways of promoting?
FF: I think that the music industry is one of the most competitive industries, and it’s so difficult to crack it. And I remember I had a few experiences where I was meeting musicians that have been writing their own songs and singing for years and years – they were still gigging and releasing songs, but they were working two jobs to get there. I was like, wow, this is such an amazingly tough industry. It’s great because it’s not like you’re doing something you hate, all musicians love to perform, and they love to write songs – it’s one of the nicest feelings in the world to write a song, and if you’re lucky enough as an artist to get people to hear it, then that’s great. But I wasn’t sure about going on the show (Made In Chelsea) and singing the song as well, it took a lot of “am I going to do this”, but eventually I thought, it’s an amazing situation where I’m standing on a stage, getting my music out there. I never for one second thought, “right I’m going to use the show as a sort of tool”. I’ve always been a musician and did the show because I was asked to do it by Francis (Boulle) who’s my best mate, and who was doing it for separate reasons, and it just sort of made sense, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have this opportunity.
EP: Use it! Definitely use it! It’s handed to you on a platter, take it!
FF: Thank you!
EP: What have you learned so far in your career that you’d like to share with anyone else who’s trying to make it in the music industry?
FF: One thing I’ve learned is that you shouldn’t ask for advice from too many people. Everyone’s an expert. What’ll end up happening – and I’m guilty of this – they’ll all tell you different things, and they’ll all be adamant that what they’re saying is the right thing to do, and eventually you’ll end up more confused, and no matter what you do you’ll think, “I’ve let down X, Y, Z…” so I really think that obviously, writing your own songs, and performing, you should do what you feel is right, because then the best thing is, if you get it wrong, then you can know that at least you’ve been honest with yourself.
EP: It’s important too to have that passion, and not be in it to think you’re going to make money…
FF: Exactly! And to know that it’s an honour to be able to do what you love. There was a time where I was working in the art business, which is a far more lucrative business to be in, selling fine art – but when I first wrote this song and people were listening to it and loving it, that outweighed any financial reward I got while working in art.
EP: The experiences are worth more…
FF: Absolutely! And obviously it’s an easy thing to say that, but I can genuinely say with one hundred percent confidence that writing music is one of the purest forms of enjoyment in life, it’s just a great thing to do.
EP: What’s next for you?
FF: Well! I’ve just released this song, but the good thing about all of this is I’ve spent the last year writing songs which are ready for release, and initially we weren’t sure which would be the first song to go out, but then ‘Feliz Navidad’ came about and we thought, oh it’s a good song and it’s Christmas so we’ll release that. I have lots of other songs ready, which is a really good feeling to have. People are very impatient, and Simon said that as well, once you write a song, people want another one right away, and you can’t say “hey guys can’t we just enjoy this one for a second” because they’ll respond, “No we want more”. So luckily I feel like the whole of the last year wasn’t wasted, because I was so desperate to get these songs out – now I’m glad I didn’t just throw one out there. That takes me back to your first question about advice to musicians – I think you have to be really happy with the first song that you release, and only you will know if it’s the right one. And I’m sure you’ll have loads of other people, whether it’s your parents or best mate and so on saying they like it, but if you don’t one hundred percent believe that it’s the right song to release, then don’t do it. Don’t upload it on YouTube, don’t put it on Spotify, until straight away you know, this is the one. And I knew that with ‘Feliz Navidad’.
EP: I’ve got one more question! What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
FF: That’s a great question!
EP: That’s my *favourite* question!
FF: Hmm well a few things have made me really happy recently, some people compared my singing style to that of George Michael, he’s my biggest inspiration, and I love how he sounded, and you mentioned about Burt Bacharach earlier…so really you’ve answered that!
EP: Thank you so much Fredrik for talking to us!
‘Feliz Navidad (She Stole My Heart)’ is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon. You can find Fredrik Ferrier online on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and his official website. The 14th season of ‘Made In Chelsea’ screens on E4, Monday nights at 9pm.