It was announced in 2012 that you would no longer be performing as A Fine Frenzy but would still continue to write music. What influenced this decision and how have you evolved as an artist?
In some ways it was a slow outgrowing of the name, the aesthetic. But also, after Pines, I realized that most people associated A Fine Frenzy with my first record, which I wrote between the ages of 19 and 21, and every time I tried to step away from that and grow, it was like I was letting people down because there wasn’t an Almost Lover Part II on there. I felt like putting the name to bed was necessary in order to find who I was as an adult, but also to allow that phase of my life to really be what it was, something I’m proud of for what and when it was.
Musically, I’m much more confident and less worried about what people will think of me now. I think that’s also a product of getting older and realizing how bad that is for the creative process, and for your confidence and wellbeing as a human. I’m much freer, more attuned to my voice and what feels good to sing. I take more chances and I am more comfortable with mess and mistakes. I’m no longer worried someone is going to bamboozle me into becoming a pop star, which was a constant fear in my early days on a major label; I’m having more fun now.
In 2017, you released “Enough Honey,” your debut single under your own name. What influenced your decision in timing to release the single after nearly five years since the last album release (Pines) as A Fine Frenzy?
It was completely emotionally driven, as we really didn’t have the infrastructure up and running yet to support it; I just had to get it out. It was right after the stories around Harvey Weinstein came out, the early days of the #metoo movement, and I had just shared my own story live on Instagram. I was fired up and inspired, and it seemed like the right time to put the song out into the world.
It was a long time before the rest of the music was ready to come out, and the EP that Enough Honey is on (Moonlite) won’t be out until early spring, but I don’t really mind that. It’s part of why we started our own company, so we can be light on our feet and follow our instincts.
You began to explore more of the acting world after your departure from A Fine Frenzy, landing a reoccurring role in the first season of the Amazon Video series Transparent and a reoccurring role in the Harry Potter prequel film series, Fantastic Beasts. What has been one of the best learning experiences transitioning between music and acting?
It has been such an unexpected gift, getting to be a part of these projects. They are both very different, but so beautiful in their own ways. I think I needed to tell someone else’s story for a while, I was tired and burned out after Pines, and too sad to get on stage. Acting gave me the ability to create, to walk in the shoes of very different women, explore new emotional territory and gave me the confidence to return to music. Balancing both has been tricky time-wise, but I managed to record most of Moon and Moonlite during the making of the first Fantastic Beasts film, and there was something about the craziness of that schedule that I really needed in order to get out of my own way.
While both acting and music allow you to constantly evolve as an artist, have you been able to take anything away from acting that helped you discover a new music identity separate from AFine Frenzy?
There’s so much going on behind the scenes in my psyche that I probably have zero idea about, just from stepping out of my own experience and thinking about what life would be like for someone else with a very different story. Acting pretty much shoved me into emotions I really didn’t want to explore, and by doing so, broadened my willingness to experience life. It cracked my soul wide open. Acting reminded me that I was courageous, that my imagination was still alive and working, and it kept me from hiding out in some treehouse somewhere and disappearing into a wall, which I wanted to do post-Pines.
You recently released your EP Moon in late 2018 and will soon be releasing another EP Moonlight in early 2019. Why was the decision made to release these as two separate EPs as opposed toa singular album?
Musically, it flowed better as two. The songs on each have different qualities; it happened naturally in the process somehow - Moon was more introspective, dreamy and sweeping, Moonlite is a bit grittier, the vocals are dirtier, less sing-y, more spoken. When it was all together as one record, it worked, but it felt a bit unwieldy, like holding too much stuff in your hands at the supermarket. It was definitely better split up.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second installment of the five-part “Fantastic Beasts” series, was recently released in November 2018. What has it been like to be a part of the magical world of Harry Potter and what do you look forward to in the upcoming films?
It’s been life-changing. It was the single best, most uncomplicated thing that had ever happened to me career-wise, when I was given the role of Queenie. It has brought such goodness and growth into my life, and stability, which is pretty much unheard of these days. I am curious and excited to see how she evolves as a character, as her evolution helps me evolve too.
With being able to express yourself creatively through multiple outlets, is there anything you’re looking to dive into that you have yet to explore?
All the forms of storytelling I can get my hands on. Working on a book right now, and will hopefully direct another video or two this year, as well. But also, I’m trying to learn how to live more artfully, which means cooking, self-care and working on just being a better person. It’s all a work in progress!