2 Dec 2023

The Mixtape: Fiona McDonald

From The Mixtape, 5:00 pm on 2 December 2023
Fiona and Paul, Strawpeople

Photo: supplied / Strawpeople

Turning the creative taps back on was like "the sweetest liquid you've ever tasted", singer Fiona McDonald says.

The 58-year-old has been singing her whole life, but is best known for being in Strawpeople and Headless Chickens.

McDonald, along with Paul Casserly, have released their first Strawpeople album in 19 years -  Knucklebones - to great acclaim.

For the first time ever, Strawpeople are going to be playing their music live, planning their sets for Splore and Womad.

McDonald joined Music 101's Charlotte Ryan for The Mixtape.

She said she felt "amazingly good" about the new album and that it was a "long time coming".

"It took us a long time to do, we lovingly laboured over the songs, and we love them. It was great to write again after so many years.

"I'm 58, so it's an unusual place to be to find myself able to be back in the createasphere, you know? And I was really grateful for it. I'm friggin' lucky to be able to do this and people give a shit."

When the idea of a new album for Strawpeople came about, McDonald said it took about six months for her and Casserly to really get in the groove.

They were trying to work out why they were doing it, what was it for and what was their sound.

When they started writing, they started realising what they liked and the direction they would go in.

But it took eight years for the album to come into fruition.

McDonald said Covid-19 was a big part of that - but life was happening in a different way that it did when they were in their 20s and 30s.

"Life is just different, isn't it? Life is different."

Over the years, McDonald said she had been constantly asked if she misses performing.

She would reply honestly, saying she did not - but it was not until she was back on the stage, in that environment, that she would realise she really did.

Turning the creative taps back on after them being off for some time was like "a gush".

"It's the sweetest liquid you've ever tasted".

McDonald said it was tricky to pick the songs for her mixtape, but decided on ones that had meant a lot to her over time.

Watch Strawpeople on NZ Live on RNZ Afternoons

Her Mixtape playlist: 

Beck -  Morning

Taylor Swift - Cardigan 

Cocteau Twins - Cherry Coloured Funk

K.D. Lang - Save Me 

The Weeknd - Die For You 

Portishead - Sour Times