ON THE COVER: SING THROUGH YOUR HEARTBREAK WITH A FINE FRENZY
ALISON SUDOL (AKA A FINE FRENZY) IS NO STRANGER TO HEARTBREAK. But that’s not surprising coming from a girl who delights in rescuing lonely teddy bears from flea markets. As she opens up about her past, her future, and her experience with love, it becomes apparent that this talented songbird likes rescuing lonely hearts, too.
The first thing I notice is the loud click of porcelain spoons in bowls. Then there’s the smell of steamed rice and something a bit more…meaty in the air. Busy waiters fly past us as fragile elder women push stainless steel carts from table to table, stopping to put steamed dumplings, rice balls, and a few things we can’t quite identify down in front of the sea of hungry diners. Soon enough, we are herded through the buzzing, feeding masses to a corner table by the window that overlooks the bustling Chinatown street below.
My lunchmate, in her quiet, observant way, has her eyes trained on the other diners. I see her taking everything in: the somber businessmen, the rowdy elementary school kids with their white-haired, Mandarin speaking grandmothers. Everyone is talking and everyone is eating and it feels like we could just as easily be in Hong Kong as Downtown Los Angeles. Did I mention we’re the only blondes in the establishment?
More importantly, did I mention that Alison Sudol, aka singer/songerwriter/musical wunderkind of A Fine Frenzy, a woman famous (until recently) for her fiery red locks, is the other part of that we? Just checking. And yes, she’s blonde now.
Ali has an insanely accomplished resume for such a soft-spoken, unassuming lunch companion. The singer, 25, has released two major albums (One Cell in the Sea and Bomb in a Birdcage), opened for singers like Rufus Wainright and toured the world, most recently with Lilith Fair. Besides all that, this busy girl has acted in television shows and just launched a new career as a children’s book author and blossoming screenwriter. Balancing all that is enough to make anyone hungry. Good thing I’m going to ply this talented artist with dim sum while grilling her about heartbreak. The best part is that she’s game. We dig in.
Ladygunn: How would you explain where we are?
Alison Sudol: We are in what appears to be a massive conference center of dim sum. [Laughs] It’s a dim sum conference and we are partaking. We have fried rice wrapped in a leaf situation, we have soft buns with red bean paste and of course, we have shrimp smoosh.
LG: Shrimp smoosh?
AS: Yes. And we have a gummy bean thingie, too.
LG: Translation: we have a lot of stuff.
A stern-looking woman deposits a small, porcelain teapot on our table, along with two delicate tea cups. I reach across Ali and start pouring tea into her cup. Along with the steaming water come dark and angry leaves, storming around in a whirling mass. Oops. Ali is gracious, as always.
AS: I think there’s an apparatus missing from this teapot.
LG: Maybe if we wait long enough, it’ll settle down.
AS: That’s something we could all learn from.
LG: Okay, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the word “Heartbreak?”
AS: I think of finally feeling the best way you hope you can feel, finally getting a glimpse or taste of it, and then losing it. That to me is heartbreak. Because you know what you’ve lost and what could have been. You have the feeling you’ll never find that again.
LG: What was one of your earliest heartbreaks?
(article continues inside magazine)
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