Who’s New: Fiona Culley

Who’s New: Fiona Culley

From: Staffordshire, England
Lives: Nashville
Age: 25
Singles: “Anywhere With You,” “Act Like A Lady”
Twitter: @FionaCulley
Website: fionaculley.com
Influences: Rod Stewart, Phil Collins, AC/DC, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Alison Krauss, Dixie Chicks

fiona-culley-anywhere-with-youINSIDE SCOOP

British born Fiona Culley, the middle of three children, got her love of country music from her dad. Raised in Staffordshire, England, “the country side, the middle of nowhere of England,” Fiona’s father enjoyed listening to strong country female voices—Alison Krauss, Linda Ronstadt, Trisha Yearwood—that influenced his daughter’s choice of music.

After finding her way at boarding school, Fiona moved to the United States to begin her country music career. She recently recorded a duet with Grammy winner Darius Rucker called “Life on the Line,” which she co-wrote and is also the theme song from the movie on the same name starring John Travolta, Kate Bosworth and Sharon Stone. Her current singles,  “Anywhere With You” and “Act Like a Lady,” can be found on iTunes and will be featured on her upcoming debut album.

NAUGHTY BY NATURE

“I went to boarding school at 7, because I was the naughty kid. We all went to boarding school, I just went a little earlier than the others because I needed to be reined in. I was the middle child and a little bit of trouble. That was my childhood, but it was the best. I feel like, in America, when you say you went to boarding school, they’re like, ‘What did you do?’ I was pretty lucky, because it meant that I got to do so much and to learn so much. I feel like if I hadn’t done that, I never would have moved to the other side of the world on my own. I just wouldn’t have known what to do. I feel like, at the time, my parents definitely knew what they were doing. They were like, ‘She needs to go and find her way.’ And I’m glad.”

THE NAME GAME

“I’ve only met a couple of Fionas in my whole life. Obviously here in America, the first thing people are like, ‘Fiona? Like Shrek?’ Or Fiona Apple. I’ll go for that one over Shrek, but yeah, that’s like the go-to. In England, no one ever puts those together. Fiona Culley is a relatively Irish name. Mum had Fiona for me, and Stephanie for my sister. She always had those names. We don’t have middle names. The girls in the family don’t have middle names. Only the boys. It’s like, ‘Well, that’s sexist, where’s mine?’ I used to make them up when I was younger. Annabella was one I used to give myself. One time I changed my name completely to Alexis. That was me. I used to live in this bizarre universe and name myself different things.”

PATH TO NASHVILLE

“About five years ago, I met my now management and they literally came and watched a show that I did in London at The Troubadour. They said, ‘You need to be in Nashville. We want to move you there for six months.’ That was now nearly five years ago. They said, ‘Would you want to go?’ I was like, ‘Well, yes, my bags are packed, let’s go,’ And then I’m like, ‘Hang on a minute, where is that again? Let me look on the map. Is it the desert?’ I felt the same way as everyone else [in England], which is funny now, because now when I go back to England and say I live in Nashville—because of the TV show which does so well over there—I could not live in a cooler city now. Back then, they would be like, ‘Oh, do you have to wear a cowboy hat? Are you in the desert?'”

THE HOOTIE CONNECTION

“I met Darius [Rucker] in London, the same time as I met my management. We met and he’s been supportive the whole time that I’ve been here. There was an opportunity for me to write songs for this movie [Life on the Line] and I wrote a couple of songs. Two of them are in the movie. When we got the theme song opportunity, it was the movie company idea for it to be a duet. I said to Darius, ‘Will you sing it with me? Can we do this together?’ I think my parents were right when they said, sometimes you don’t know unless you ask. Even if it sounds really crazy to ask someone like [Darius] if he’s going to sing with me. I was shocked, but he was like, ‘Yes, I’ll sing with you.’ He really is so calm and so polite. He works really hard. It’s very inspiring to be around somebody that is that successful, and has been that successful for so long.”

ACTING LIKE A LADY

“This song [“Act Like A Lady”] came to me—it was sent to me—and in the subject title, it said, ‘This is Fiona.’ I was like, ‘What? This is Fiona?’ Then I listened to it, and I’m like, ‘Wow, this is me.’ It’s like a lady thing, like a man—it’s like I’m ladylike and you can take me home to your mother, but, cross me and I’ll . . . you know . . . make the pain. Bring the pain. It’s also about just knowing yourself and never settling for anything other than what you want.”

HEART OF THE MATTER

“I feel like sound wise, it’s more when I put all the songs together. Like in a live show, I feel like it goes through a ton of different emotions. It goes from happy to super sad to uplifting to let’s lock myself in a room and drink red wine and cry and yell, mascara everywhere, you know. I’ve got a ton of those. It’s just my heart, basically. The songs are just my heart. The album is my heart—it should just be called My Heart on a Plate to Be Cut Up by Everyone.”

photos courtesy C2C Media Relations

Daily Dose

CMA Awards

CMA Awards

Hosted by Carried Underwood with special guests Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire, the CMA Awards will air live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 13 on ABC (photo by Tammie Arroyo).