Bulmer singer Fiona Bevan was the star of Compact Music’s open-air record store day event at St Peter’s in Sudbury on Saturday.
The singer/songwriter, who co-wrote the 2012 hit Little Things for One Direction alongside Ed Sheeran, was performing as part of a tour to promote her new album, Talk to Strangers.
Fiona’s first steps into music began at her Bulmer home, learning to play the piano and violin alongside listening to her parents’ 1940s jazz and classical music collection.
“I wasn’t brought up on pop music,” said Fiona.
“I only started listening to pop in my teenage years and it was even later when I started listening to artists such as Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Joni Mitchell – I love Joni, she is incredible.”
There are similarities between the two artists, with Fiona describing her album as “pop in disguise”, with its routes in “soulful, folk pop”.
Fiona has a voice to match the smooth, wistful, bass-led acoustics.
The double-bass, played by Fiona, is a big part of the album, guiding many of the tracks.
Proving that she has more than one string to her bow, Fiona plays guitar, piano, violin, double bass, accordion and harp.
“I love clever, interesting pop,” she said. “It’s important to me that no words are wasted. I write about real things that have happened to me or friends.”
While friend Ed Sheeran is now a global star, Fiona says she is not necessarily looking for a quick rise to the top.
“The aim isn’t to be famous, it’s to have a good successful career and to make the music that I want to make. That is a luxury in the music industry, but so far, so good,” she said.
While Fiona may now live in London, she is venturing further afield as part of her tour.
“You can play in London for ever, but it’s important to take it around the country to different people,” she said.
“Communication with the audience is the most important thing. It’s integral to meet and talk to people and listen to their stories.”
The gig on Saturday was the first time Fiona had played in Sudbury since she was a teenager with former band Rocking Horse.
It was particularly special as Fiona used to work at Compact Records as a student.
At the event, Fiona played a selection of songs, including the first single from her album, The Machine, which was released earlier this month and is available with an Ed Harcourt remix.
The album is set to be released on Monday,
“I’m very excited for everyone to hear it,” added Fiona. “Often you cringe hearing bits of your own work but I’m feeling quite good about it.”