Alison Sudol (born December 23, 1984), known professionally as A Fine Frenzy (formerly Alison Monro) is an American alternative singer and songwriter and pianist. Her debut album, One Cell in the Sea, was released on July 17, 2007, and peaked at number 91 on the Billboard 200 chart. She has been in the charts in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, and France, amongst other countries. Her music has been featured on television shows, and on the soundtrack of the film Sleepwalking.
Born in Seattle, Washington to two dramatic arts teachers, Sudol and her mother moved to Los Angeles after her parents divorced when she was five years old. She didn’t see her father often while she was growing up. She grew up listening to a wide range of music, including Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, and swing.
She graduated from high school at the age of 16, and considered herself “nerdy and quiet.” Sudol did not “drink or smoke or do anything like that.” She stated in an interview, “I was so nervous about going into college like that and super young. I figured I would take two years and try to find out what I was doing with music. And when I was 18, I was just so deep into it that I didn’t want to stop.”
At age 18, Sudol started her first band, Monro.
Sudol had a passion for literature, and immersed herself in the works of C. S. Lewis, E. B. White, Lewis Carroll, Anthony Trollope, and Charles Dickens. Her artist name, “A Fine Frenzy”, is taken from a verse in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Theseus, Act 5, Scene 1: “The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven”). After teaching herself to play the piano, she began putting her creative energy into writing songs.
The short demo she sent out received attention from EMI’s Jason Flom, who signed her after visiting her house and “listening to her play.”
In March 2007, Sudol appeared at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, opening for The Stooges. Shortly after, her debut album, One Cell in the Sea, was released to generally positive reviews. The first single, “Almost Lover”, peaked at number 25 on Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. In mid-2007, she secured another opening spot, this time for Rufus Wainwright on his tour. In March and April 2008, Sudol headlined her own tour in the US and Canada, and in April she toured France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. In September 2008, she was the star act on the opening night of the ‘New Pop Festival’ organized by the German broadcaster SWR3. She returned to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland on a headline tour in November 2008 and played in the ‘Super Bock em Stock’ festival in Portugal in December 2008.
Her song “You Picked Me” was featured on iTunes as the “Free Single of the Week” for August 14, 2007, and VH1 featured her as one of their “You Oughta Know” artists. Additionally, in October 2008, “You Picked Me” was chosen as network theme by SIC, a Portuguese television network.
One Cell in the Sea has sold 300,000 copies. In 2008 it was released in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Poland. In each of those countries, the album peaked within the top 30, with the first single, “Almost Lover,” reaching number eight in Germany, number ten on the Swiss Charts and number five in Austria.
Sudol’s second album, Bomb in a Birdcage, was released September 8, 2009. The first single, “Blow Away”, was released on July 17, 2009, followed by two more singles, “Happier” and “Electric Twist”.