Callie Moore: Murdering old dreams, feeding new ones

my fair fiend
Callie Moore fronts the band My Fair Fiend, a name she said signifies the release of her own inner fiend. (Photo by Zac Bryant)

She took her place on stage, dressed casually with her curly hair pulled back. Her large eyes took a quick inventory of the audience then flicked down as she approached the mic.

“How do you murder a dream?” she sang, her voice delicate and gentle. “Wrap your long fingers around its small throat, watch the light fade away.”

The voice of these lyrics, Callie Moore, won Muse Music Cafe‘s most recent Songwriter Showdown.

Judges at the showdown evaluated each contestant’s chords, melody, lyrics and song structure. Moore said she strategized by choosing songs of hers with the most impressive chord structures and deeply resounding lyrics.

And resound they did. Moore injects a dreamy, sing-song quality into haunting subject matter. But her sound hasn’t always been this dark.

Moore used to write milder, acoustic folk music as a solo artist. Now she fronts an indie alternative-rock band, My Fair Fiend. The band creates dark, contemplative music charged with wit and raw emotion. Moore made this shift in songwriting style after emerging from a turbulent divorce in 2012 and reaching self-actualization.

“My music was suddenly raw and deeply true,” Moore said. “It was no longer tamed or molded into an image I thought I should fit. It was just the pure expression I needed to help me survive the darkest and loneliest time of my life.”

Moore claims music is nothing but a manipulation of emotion, and she strives to create emotionally relatable music.

“I am so addicted to connection with people,” Moore said. “This world is full of humans who feel complex emotions but pass each other on the sidewalk with their heads down, staring at phones. Art must exist to remind us of the many ways in which we are not alone.”

My Fair Fiend drummer and vocalist Zac Bryant noted that Moore manages to writes her songs so they sound specific to her experiences while remaining universally relatable. But although Moore values connection to her audience, she doesn’t sacrifice her will to gain a listener’s admiration.

“She’s honest,” said Austin Cross, My Fair Fiend guitarist and vocalist. “She writes the way she wants to and doesn’t always cater to the listener, which is good. That way her songs end up as art instead of just ‘something to sell.'”

The band views its collective artistry as more than just a current project.

“Every member of My Fair Fiend has a dream to make music their life,” Moore said. “We are all dedicated to taking this project as far as we can. We’ve all been musicians for 13 or more years and can’t seem to shake the fever — can’t seem to give up and pursue other career paths.”

Upcoming shows

By winning Muse’s Songwriter Showdown, Moore won her band a headlining show at Muse (date TBA). Moore will perform an online concert on April 7 featuring her set list from the Songwriter Showdown, along with other new songs. She will also play solo at a Friday, May 2, Muse show, and My Fair Fiend will play a live set on PCTV Mountain Views on May 12.

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