Hitting the high notes
Meet Iona Fyfe and Florence Jack, two Aberdeenshire singer songwriters with big ambitions
Scots Language singer Iona Fyfe was born in Huntly and is now based in Glasgow after graduating from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She’s known for her renditions of Scottish folk songs and now writes her own songs in Scots. It’s a language she’s passionate about, having persuaded Spotify to add Scots to its list of languages and campaigning for Scots, Doric and other dialects to be given protection and promotion. In 2021, she became the first ever singer to win the coveted title of Musician of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards and has been featured on Radio 2, Radio Scotland and on TV.
‘My music is rooted in tradition, especially the traditions of the North East of Scotland, like bothy ballads.’ Iona explained. ‘My first album featured several bothy ballads, but with modern interpretations. I’m really interested in taking the Scots language into new genres and contexts – our native languages don’t need to be tied to our traditional music. There are Welsh language songs performed in several different genres, but with Scots and Gaelic language, it seems to be intrinsically linked with our
‘As a performer, the pandemic was difficult to navigate. We’re rescheduling performances and releasing new music. The Blue Lamp is probably my favourite North-east venue. I’ve been singing there since I was 16. It’s an incredibly welcoming, inclusive and supportive environment.
‘I’m very excited about performing my first US west coast tour in September, so I’m looking forward to an exciting opportunity to bring my music, language, tradition and culture to new audiences. As a musician with
no record label or agency, it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to release music on my own and build a following.’
You can find out more about tour dates or buy Iona’s work at ionafyfe.com
‘When I was really young, my mother taught me a couple of tunes on the piano and my older sister was a keen violinist and pianist. I took classical piano, cello and singing lessons throughout my time at school and now I write, record and mix all my songs up in my loft,’ Florence said.
‘My first proper appearance was at a charity ball for Friends of Anchor. It was in a large gazebo in Duthie Park and I played on a beautiful glass piano from Gordon Bell Pianos. Stonehaven Folk Club have been very supportive and performing there really gave me a buzz and fulfilment out of performing my songs.
‘Currently, I have been focusing on creating music to release this year and have been collaborating with other musicians and songwriters. I have been very excited as recently I have had a number of my songs played on BBC Introducing Scotland and BBC Radio Rapal, part of the Gaelic station. I’m really looking forward to lining up some gigs this summer and I’m hoping to release an EP at some stage.
‘My music is a mixture of Pop and Lo-fi with hints of jazz/folk too. As well as writing songs that get people up dancing and feeling good, I love writing piano ballads. I want people to relate to my lyrics and go through their own emotional journey when listening to my songs. I find songwriters like Taylor Swift, Tom Odell, and Sara Bareilles inspiring. Their song writing is a form of poetry.
You can hear my songs on Spotify, SoundCloud and lots of streaming platforms, or find videos of me singing on my Instagram @FlorenceJackMusic, TikTok or YouTube.