How to Make Headlines But Maintain Your Integrity

…In a town that prides itself on shaky ethical grounds, is more than a challenge - it’s an attitude! 

1/22/2016 (PRESS RELEASE JET) --  Fiona Joy is not only my sister, she’s also an exceptional singer songwriter and pianist. She dominates the world of New Age/Neo Classical and has learnt a few tricks along the way. Some of these tricks she’s proud of and others, well...let’s say they’re part of the world she works in. 

While Beth Hilton, Fiona’s PR, busies herself sending, connecting and promoting, - generally getting as much coverage as she can in the hope Fiona will make the final cut for a prestigious grammy nomination -  something dark and sinister is also gaining momentum, something that comes as a cultural shock to the average Aussie.

Fiona likes to call it “THE FLAKE RATE,” something I was witness to when spending a weekend with her in LA. My story is as observant as it is naive but in the end it has had a profound and lasting effect on both Fiona and myself.

As I fly out of Denver to join Fiona in LA, the excitement of a weekend away dominates my thoughts. I’m filled with hope for a perfect three days sans kids and hubby of course. I’m free to suit myself and indulge every whim. I ask my sister to “hook it up” – I want parties, concerts and fabulous dinners out, followed by bar hopping at all the hotspots. 

Upon our arrival at the swanky and pretentious Fairmont in Santa Monica, the SHOUT OUT begins. 

“We just checked in, what’s happening?” Fiona begins to type. A few moments later we have two dinner reservations, three people meeting for drinks, a potential party in Malibu, plus tickets to a concert downtown. 

“How can we make all that?” I ask naively. 

“Don’t worry, ‘THE FLAKE ’ will sort it out. We will keep things loose, then go to the best option,” Fiona casually answers.

Seems fair enough, no RSVP required, I think, then divert my attention to more pressing thoughts like, what am I going to wear? 

After deciding upon a dinner invite in Studio City, followed by a studio hang, we venture off on our epic drive through Beverly Hills. After going through bumper to bumper traffic, we arrive two hours later to my first encounter of “THE FLAKE RATE”. Dinner is cancelled and after a brief convo with Beth, so is the studio hang. 

“Ummm seemed so certain,” I say with disappointment. 

The next day I jump from my bed and go for a jog, before our schlep to Malibu. The day goes well and promises of dinner and gigs with backstage passes present themselves. We end up going for an intimate meal with the next big thing who happens to be recording with Fiona at Cookie Marenco’s studio in a few days time.

Whoop whoop, Japanese served with the right amount of celebrity for an intoxicating night of fun and frivolity, I am super excited! But like a wrecking ball, my dreams are shattered. We get trumped by a pre-nomination Grammy party and end up dining alone. “THE FLAKE RATE,” has struck again! 

The previous day, while on our tour of the DW factory, I asked a local musician what he thinks about “THE FLAKE RATE”? 

In a totally considerate answer he tells me he is happy when his friends cancel on him as long as it is for something that holds more opportunity. 

Pondering this response, and determined to be positive, I leap from my bed and hit the gym, readying myself for a day of shopping with Fiona plus one of the music industry’s ultimate “IT GIRLS”. 

Three hours of retail therapy and four blocks of Montana boutiques later and still no “IT GIRL” to join our motley crew. 

“UMMMM this “FLAKE” thing, sucks, a total NO SHOW,” I say. 

Fiona defends her lifestyle sharply, “you get used to it, it’s just how things work here.”

Fiona’s cell starts to ring. “Oooh” she coos, “it’s Beth. Great news the studio hang is on.”

Fiona is invited back to the famous Grammy winning musician/producer’s studio. The reason it not discussed but Fiona feels this is good networking at a crucial time for any potential Grammy nominee. She rarely has time to connect as she is either touring, recording or in Australia, her home. 

Once the date is made I ask Fiona, “does it always work like this, I mean is it ok to mess people around?” 

Seems the toxic nature of LA has seeped into the skin of it’s people. Drinking water laden with nitrate, arsenic and methane has literally infected how LA behaves. I explain how this is making me suspicious and uneasy, unable to trust anyone's sincerity. Should we not say what we mean and mean what we say? I ponder the ripple effect of this commitment-phobic culture. Like the fault line delineating Hollywood from Bel Air, I sketch a bleak picture of a town with no heart. Unable to get a response from Fiona I’m satisfied with, we accept our different points of view and get a coffee before I start my journey home. 

Unwaveringly determined to check out of my Hotel California, I remain adamant in my thoughts that this is not the place for me. Upon my return home I get a very frustrated call from Fiona. 

“After going all the way to a famous, connected, Grammy winning musician/producers studio, committing four precious hours on my last day in LA, he is not even there! He is in Chicago, he never planned to be there, can you believe that?" she moans. 

"ARRRRR, yes what did you expect?” I reply, then add, “I think perhaps he wanted something from you, not something to offer you.”

“Yes he did, he wanted my Grammy vote,” Fiona snaps. I begin to explain to Fiona my philosophy on this by quoting Chris McCandless the man the movie ‘INTO THE WILD’ is about .

“Happiness is not real unless shared.” I go on to further outline my thoughts and explain my vow to share my life with genuine friends. People who will share not just their needs but our combined happiness. 

Something very real plays out in the weeks to follow our weekend in LA. We are both united in our frustrations of “THE FLAKE RATE”, equally annoyed by how it feels to be used. 

Fiona changes her strategy, she enrolls the help of Go Kerry Go and enlists more time with Beth Hilton her trusted ally and PR and stops wasting energy on those that do not share her dream to win a Grammy, the only award in New Age music she has not yet bestowed. 

Fiona plans to follow from last years song 'Grace' featured on Grammy winning album Winds of Samsara with Signature Synchronicity, her album to be entered into next year's Grammys. Only time will tell what happens in Fiona’s dream but at least she can say she gave it a go with unwavering integrity, which is, in my opinion an award worth fighting for.


Media Contact: Annette Dunbar

Company Name: Little Hartley Music
Name: Annette Dunbar
Phone: 0428637498
Email Address:

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