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Fields
Fields

Perth artist, Fields, has just released debut EP, Gracefield Avenue.  Named after the street she grew up on in Dublin, the songs on the EP are evocative of an idyllic childhood that were, “honestly the best days of my life.”

Gracefield Avenue should see Fields’ audience grow as more of us realise that sitting among us is a singer and song writer or extraordinary talent.

When an artist creates songs as deeply personal as the tracks on Gracefield Avenue and is instinctively willing to pin them to a time and place that has great significance for them, it often signals the start of something momentous.  So it is with Fields.  This EP telegraphs an irresistible period of forward momentum for an artist who has already achieved so much.

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“I wanted this EP to reflect everything about me, starting from where I came from.  I never usually sit down and say, ‘This is a song that I want to write,’ it usually happens organically, because I hate being generic.  But I wanted to write something that was really specific to my childhood and Gracefield Avenue came to mind because it literally has all of my best memories from as far back as I can remember.  My Mam grew up on that street, all of my family did so, just from that alone, the song came together and then I decided it was going to be the title track for the EP.”

“I want it to trigger a memory in people.  It could be a road or a place or a person, something that brings back all the good memories for them.  And freedom.  No worries.”

When (if) you ever get a chance to speak to Fields, you’ll know that last part, ‘no worries’, means something entirely different to the Aussie vernacular.  Those two words and the voice that deliver them conjure visions of the kind of freedom from burden that is incredibly rare in today’s chokkas times.  Fields is a rare entity, not only as an artist, but as a person, too.  She’s one of the last living sprites, unsullied by the woes of the modern world and the prevailing fashion of everything being and feeling more than just a little bit shit.  And, when you get to know her, even just a little bit, you see pretty quickly that it’s not just a front.

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“I’m very carefree, a free spirit.  We have to learn to just let stuff go.  I have a huge Irish family, they’re all very different.  My Mum is very grounded and my Dad is ‘whatever’, so I’m a little bit of both.”

And that’s now coming through in Fields current output and how it engages with her audience.

“It’s (‘Gracefield Avenue’) one of my most asked about tracks and I wasn’t expecting that, because I wanted to relate to my childhood and I wanted my EP to just be about that.”

The resonance that true artists strike with their audience when they are being their most authentic selves is an uncommon joy, but it doesn’t just happen   No artist ever tries to be inauthentic (well, there may be some examples), but connecting with yourself and, thereby, parcelling up the thoughts, dreams, worries and preoccupations of your audience in three minutes of lyricism and melody so that people say to themselves, ‘That’s me’; that’s a rare and precious thing.  And that’s what Fields has done on Gracefield Avenue.

To some degree, the Fields you get on Gracefield Avenue may at first seem out of kilter with the persona that the artist often puts out in her performances and, particularly, her social media.  There’s a brashness and raw humour about these aspects of Fields that makes openness and vulnerability seem outside her immediate range.

“I am spontaneous.  Too spontaneous.  I never rehearse my shows.  I practice my songs, but I love to work off who’s there.  Anything can happen.  I’m unfiltered.  It can be a bit dangerous these days.

“I’ve never started anything, but it can get quite rowdy.  A bit cheeky and bantery. I’m very reactive and it can get me into a lot of trouble.”

Listen to the songs again, and then hear the glint in her voice as she talks with reverence about what inspired her to write the songs on Gracefield Avenue, and you begin to understand that this EP is just the next stage in the revealing of the artist to her audience.

It was a journey that didn’t start that long ago, although it could have been quite a few years ago, or even from birth, depending on which nuance of the story you pay most attention to.  And, in what Fields said next, there’s also some encouragement for the millions of three-chord hacks out there (like this writer).

“I started out looking for a guitarist to help me write songs, because I didn’t play guitar at the time.  This was about five or six years ago.  That’s when I met Andy (Brunn) from Brufield (Fields’ previous band) and we just organically formed into a band.  Brufield just happened by accident and that took over from my solo thing.  I wouldn’t be able to do what I do now without Brufield, I wouldn’t have the confidence, the experience.  Everything happens for a reason and I think that developed me as an artist.  I had four people backing me, and the things I’ve learned from that…  And, the last year, because Fields has only been around a year … the end of last year, I decided I needed to put a hundred per cent into Fields.  All the guys were so brilliant, they understood that this is what I’ve got to do.  Some things just end. We were all a big family and everybody realised that we’d come to the end of the road.

“I only learned to play guitar three years ago, if even.  I hated it and we still have a love/hate relationship, me and the guitar.  I’m not a natural.  But I can’t play solo unless I have an instrument.  I know four or five chords and I know them well.”

So, hang in there people, because Fields can really play, though maybe she doesn’t make it cry or sing like some others; but she doesn’t need to, she has her voice for that.  There’s also another thing that a little bit of experience has brought Fields, and that’s perspective on what making it means in an industry that’ll chew you up and spit you out a hundred times every day before you’ve even had breakfast.

“I’ve been trying to make it in this industry since the age of dot.  As I’ve gotten older, my perception on success is really different now.  If I’m playing for people that are listening to me, whether its two, or 10 or 600, I’m doing what I love doing.  And if I’m writing songs that I like and I’m not getting pigeonholed into a certain genre and being told I have to fit a certain stereotype, that’s success to me.”

There’s not much else to say, except we agree.  Fields is a person and artist who will always do things on her terms.  That’s a core part of the attraction.

Gracefield Avenue should see Fields’ audience grow as more of us realise that sitting among us is a singer and song writer or extraordinary talent.

We finished up by asking what comes next, an obligatory question that, this time, got a beautifully lyrical answer.

“I don’t know.”

“There’s a full album, which I’ve already started recording for.”

“I just want to keep playing and see what happens.”

And we just want to keep listening.

Fields launches Gracefield Avenue at Kidogo Arthouse in Fremantle on 18 May.
https://www.facebook.com/events/245347879743116/

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