“Paul Dixon might be a name familiar to some...but none [are] finer than this new project, Fyfe” - NME
“Grandiose...erupts into a warm, forceful patter and swelling horns like the onset of a tropical rainstorm” - Pitchfork
“Fyfe is rapidly blossoming into something quite special...off-kilter pop music with a bittersweet heart” - Clash
“Tugs at the heartstrings before becoming more rhythmic and symphonic...[Fyfe] is still proving hard to categorise” - Guardian
“All of a sudden, London has become a hotbed for additive, glitchy R&B...our favourite purveyor happens to be Fyfe” - Nylon
Fyfe will release a new single, the beautiful ‘For You’, on June 23. This follows a breakout year for 24-year-old Paul Dixon, with tracks like ‘Solace’ and ‘Conversations’ picking up over one million plays on Soundcloud, a hat trick of Top 10s on Hype Machine, and additional support across Radio 1, 6Musicand XFM. Having supported the likes of London Grammar, Foxes and Cloud Control in between recording his self-produced debut album - which he is currently putting the finishing touches to - Fyfe returned to the live arena with shows at Great Escape and Dot To Dot festivals in May.
A confident and idiosyncratic return, ‘For You’ is a maze of pianos, double-time hip-hop beats and Fyfe’s near-falsetto croon. About two thirds of the way through, the song is suddenly interrupted by a playfully epic saxophone solo, a testament to the symphonic, occasionally-classical textures that persist through Dixon’s work, and his continual willingness to take risks. “I just thought it would sound bloody great! There’s a lyrical emotiveness to Jazz which doesn’t require vocals or lyrics. It’s a guy called David Turay from The Hics on sax, and to me that solo says so much about the euphoric nature of love.”
‘For You’ is a thrilling step-up in the musical evolution of Fyfe. A prodigal young talent, his childhood was spent learning the violin, piano, trumpet and playing in youth orchestras. Having gotten his hands on his brother's Logic set-up, Dixon shifted from classical compositions to writing his own songs under the alias of David’s Lyre whilst studying Economics at University. Suddenly the two worlds were colliding and something had to give: halfway through his course he dropped out and signed to Mercury Records (“There was a period where I was in an exam and I just wasn't able to focus”).
Focus is a massive buzzword in the world of Fyfe. It's what made the fallout from the end of David's Lyre and the parting of ways with Mercury easier to handle (“the majors are publicly listed companies, and as much as anyone in that building is a music fan, it boils down to profit. I knew this when signing, but not to the extent upon which time and momentum is so critical within these institutions”). The idea of Fyfe, then, was conceived as an expression of freedom and simplicity in the short months after David’s Lyre. Without a manager, label or publicist, Dixon emailed the appropriately-isolated sounds of ‘Solace’ alongside a picture of the back of his head (and no other information) to a handful of music sites. It was to become one of the biggest blog hits of 2013, with the likes of Childish Gambino coming forward as fans (“I wanted to capture the feel of those Lauryn Hill or Neptunes productions I loved growing up,” says Dixon. “It’s beats-y, but also very much vocal-focused”).
Older, wiser, but still just 24, Fyfe is a journey in self-discovery from an artist who has picked himself back up and come back stronger. What started life as a project about reasserting control has blossomed into the intimate, personal romanticism of tracks like ‘For You’. This is pop, but pop with a working brain and a beating heart.