California-bred songstress Joni fills us in on her move to London, her greenhouse studio, and why “Orchid Room”

Joni (formerly Joni Fatora) is as talented as they come. Never have I heard someone sound so powerful, yet hushed. Take a listen to “Orange”… you’ll know exactly what I mean.

You’ve probably heard Joni’s timeless tune “Blueless Bird” whether you know it or not. Whether it was on the radio, top Spotify playlists, or random Urban Outfitters, it’s that universal (~2M streams worldwide). The multi-platinum singer songwriter has amassed quite the fanbase and recently rewarded them with a brand new EP called Orchid Room.

Orchid Room is a journey into Joni’s being; intimate, vivid, and full of vibrant energy. I love this collection because each song conjures up something different…an emotion, an environment, maybe even a different memory. “Lost in Space” is different from “Orange,” which is different from “Never Going Back”. It’s difficult to do, and Joni makes the task so effortless.

We got a chance to chat with Joni on a laundry list of topics. Most importantly, her gem that is “Orchid Room”. We appreciate her taking the time to speak with us in such an open manner and attitude.

“Joni writes with such poetic ambiguity, but her vocals remain earnest” writes her label. We feel this same energy in her answers below.

Deviate: Hi Joni! It’s great to have you at Deviate. How’ve you been?
Joni: Good! The latest lockdown in London has been brutal but the days are getting longer and it’s feeling more like Spring, so that really helps.

Deviate: How’s Laurel Canyon treating you? It’s been a cold and snowy winter in Chicago this year unfortunately. 
Joni: I actually moved to London last November! I was ready for a change and really missed the seasons. There’s a strange sameness to Los Angeles where the days bleed into each other. I feel like I blinked and 4 years passed. I think you need the Winter to appreciate the Spring more deeply.

Deviate: Do you primarily do most of your song writing and production at home? Or do you work with an in-house studio team?
Joni: Yes, I primarily write at home and start the main ideas there. If I need to track live with a band or do drums I’ll usually go to a studio. I feel like there would be a lot of unnecessary pressure if I was sitting in a fancy studio trying to write something that felt personal. 

Deviate: I want to talk about your new EP Orchid Room. It just dropped last week… how’s the reception been so far?
Joni: It’s hard to say without going and playing shows live. That’s where you really see how people are reacting and connecting with the songs. But I think people are enjoying the music. Some radio stations have started to play  Never Going Back which is cool and new for me.

Deviate: Like most people, your 2015 “Blueless Bird” was the first Joni I was exposed toI feel like Orchid Room has a different aura to it. In your own words, how has your sound evolved from then to now?
Joni: Blueless Bird was actually a song from a previous project of mine. I was making more folky / Americana music and Blueless Bird was kind of the oddball track from one of my EPs. I think that song was actually a big turning point for me because I started to experiment more with synths and drum machines and amped vocals. With the new music, I wasn’t just confined to writing on acoustic guitar. Sometimes ideas would start on synths or with random sounds we found… so there was more intention in the production. Also, just naturally after 5 or 6 years, you grow and realize what you like and dislike. 

Deviate: I really love the title Orchid Room… it seems to encompass the 5 tracks perfectly. Why this name?
Joni: I was out with my friend Mary at a vintage show in LA and we walked past a building with a sign that said Orchid Room. We were just talking about EP names and she said, “What about Orchid Room?” It kind of immediately clicked. I was writing all the songs in my home studio in laurel canyon surrounded by bougainvillea and eucalyptus trees and it almost felt like we were in a little greenhouse where each song was kind of blooming into something. It’s funny because my house was literally painted green. 

Deviate: What else do you have in store for 2021?
Joni: I’m really hoping I can play some live shows later in the year. I’m also hoping to put out some acoustic versions of the songs from Orchid Room.

Deviate: If you were an inanimate object, what would you be and why?
Joni: The gnome from that movie Amelie so I could still travel and see cool stuff.

Deviate: Thank you so much for your time, Joni! We can’t wait to see what comes next!
Joni: Thanks!

Joni is forever a Deviate