Fantine is set to be one of the most interesting artists to come out of Down Under. A singer of quality and highly memorable, she is more than just a beautiful voice, her talent extending to songwriting as well. With a musical style that is very hard to categorise but has sometimes tentatively been described as ‘indie electro soul’, last year saw her touring with Space Invadas featuring as a guest vocalist and co-writing too, in addition to support slots with Lupe Fiasco.
Born in Moscow to a Russian dad and a Dominican mum, Fantine has lived the life of a globetrotter, moving home regularly, and she now calls three countries her home; Russia, Dominican Republic and Australia. Her background and lifestyle have shaped her into the person she is today; quirky and vibrant. An artist with a highly individual and unique sense of style that has caught the eye of publications such as ‘InStyle’ Australia, and ‘No’ from New Zealand, she is about to feature in a shoot for ‘Vogue’ Australia.
Having studied law and accounting at university, she decided to put these qualifications to the side and focus on her true passion, music. The single ‘Rubberoom,’ is set for release in the UK In August. Fantine is currently in the UK to work alongside Gorillaz producer Jason Cox on the 3rd single for the EP, which will be out in November, also featuring her 2nd single ‘Eleven,’ which is currently out in Australia.
What would you say your three strongest characteristics are, and how do they affect you as a person?
I’m quite socially and environmentally aware, I’m vegetarian. I like to get involved with a lot of charities, and I’m quite proactive in the way that I try to reduce my carbon footprint. I suppose I’m quite nerdy, I’m very bookish and I like reading. I do a lot of Sudoku puzzles and puzzles in general as well. I have a fascination with words, and sometimes when people use strange words in their vocabulary, I pick it up straight away. I think that helps to write lyrics.
Rubberoom’ is being released in the UK in August. I understand the idea behind the single, but can you explain it in more depth? What is the Rubberoom exactly, and why is it called that?
So Rubberoom is the place where lost ideas go, I mean maybe they haven’t come from there, or there not lost, but found ideas. It’s that dark or bright hole when you wake up in the morning and have this brilliant thought and you think to yourself that you couldn’t possibly forget it, and then you do. You think where did it go?
So you’re in London to record your 3rd single. Can you tell us more about it? You seem to be a person with unique ideas, so what can we expect from this and your EP?
The next single that I’m working with Jason on is called ‘Perfect Stranger.’ It’s literally about perfect strangers meeting at a bus stop. I think even this particular song is quite conceptual as well. It’s about meeting in a big city, and what are the chances of meeting someone? Not even someone you fall in love with, just meeting a person and connecting with them. The EP will have a lot of stuff I mentioned, it’s going to have Eleven on it, and Rubberoom, and all the different versions, Latin, Russian and Spanish. It will have a few remixes of things, which should be exciting. It should be out November, November 11 would be kind of cool.
What brought you and the two London producers Alex Gray and Jason Cox together? Is it because you like the sounds coming out of London, or is it the distinct talent of the individuals themselves?
I like the sounds that are coming out of London; you guys are doing great and keep up the good work. You know sometimes people ask you what is a song you wish you had written. I wish I’d written ‘Rolling In The Deep,’ why didn’t I write that? With Alex Gray and Jason Cox I don’t think I choose them, they gave me the opportunity to work with them. So I’m very pleased with that. I love Amy Winehouse, Florence and the Machine, Adele, Coldplay and Radiohead.
A lot of artists when they start out have a vision of their future in terms of their path, creativity and idealistic expression. This is something that can sometimes be compromised by success and external influences, for example, record labels. How do you intend to stay true to your current idealism and vision of your future?
Well I’m going to try and stay independent for as long as I can, obviously it’s quite financially taxing. When you are independent you have a lot liberties, the way you portray yourself, the way you release things when you release them and how you release them and who has a say in it. At the moment I have a say in everything in relation to my career, and I think I want to be able to keep it that way for as long as possible. If you are good you will rise to the top as cream often does.
Words by Shireen Fenner