We chat to Gabrielle about performing in Bath twice this year, how she was discovered and how she coped with the success of her debut hit 'Dreams'.
We are very lucky here in Bath to see you twice this year. Once at 'Pub In The Park' and the other at the Bath Forum on 4th November. What do you have planned for the shows and how does an outdoor show differ to a venue?
The audience seem more free at festivals maybe because it’s outdoors and there are no seats so you get more dancing. Pub In The Park is a wonderful family day out with amazing food, music and hopefully the sun will come out too. The show in November at the Forum will be celebrating 30 years of Dreams and I’m hoping to add some new music in too which will be amazing.
I can’t wait to come back to Bath, both shows will be a lot of fun! I’ll be performing with my band so you can expect lots of high energy and all the hits. Singing and dancing is always encouraged, I just want people to come along and have a good time with me.
It’s been 30 years since you released ‘Find Your Way’. How vivid are the memories of making the album and did you know that you had recorded something special?
When Dreams went to number 1 I hadn’t written the album yet, I don’t think anyone expected it to be such a massive success so there was a no album ready. I was promoting Dreams, doing interviews, performing and writing the album all at the same time. I was just so excited to be making a record that was mine and am very proud of it to this day.
How were you discovered and who gave you your big break?
Dreams was released on a white label on vinyl and the A&R of Go Beat records Ferdy Unger Hamilton heard it and came to find me basically, at that time I was performing in night clubs. He signed to me to the label and we released ‘Dreams’ which went into the charts at number 2 and rose to the number 1 position which put me in the Guinness World Records for the highest charting single by a debut female artist.
What did you listen to growing up and how has that influenced your music?
I grew up listening to a lot of Tina Turner, Womack and Womack, I was also a massive pop kid in the 80s, I loved Haircut 100, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Spandau Ballet, I love a lot of different genres of music. Some people describe my music as Soul or RnB but I’d say I also mainly make pop and I suppose that’s partly because of what I grew up with.
Your first single release was ‘Dreams’, which was an instant hit entering the charts at No2 and spending 3 weeks at Number 1. As a 23-year-old, new to the business at the time, how did you cope with the immediate success?
My label actually shipped me off to a spa for a few days to hide from the madness when Dreams went to number 1, I literally went from no one knowing who I was to my face on billboards and the sides of busses, It was a lot to take in but was just amazing! I didn’t have that long to take it all in because I then had to get straight in the studio to make an album to follow up with.
"I grew up listening to a lot of Tina Turner, Womack and Womack, I was also a massive pop kid in the 80s, I loved Haircut 100, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Spandau Ballet, I love a lot of different genres of music."
In today's world of aiming for perfection, filters and social media, what advice would you give a young boy or girl who may have issues over their appearance?
It’s so hard to not get drawn into the pressures of social media but we have to remember it’s not real and we have to remind each other it’s not real, we all have moments of self-doubt for one reason or another so I think it’s important to try and surround yourself with people who will be there to help pick you up when you are down and to also be that person when someone else needs it.
Was music, therefore, a release for you and did it empower you at all?
When I was younger, I never wanted to be famous, I just wanted to sing so being able to do that for a living was more than I could ever dream of, especially as I didn’t look like your typical ‘pop star’. Image back then was so important too, me being able to come out with my eye patch and own the fact I have a lazy eye lid was empowering.
You have dedicated the past couple of decades on being the best mum you can be. Now that the children are grown up, is it great to be able to be back out on the road?
I always made sure I wasn’t away from home for too long when my kids were younger but now they are that bit older I actually love that I can tour without that guilt or worry and they love it when I’m away too so everyone is a winner. I still don’t go for too long and sometimes they come to shows with me with which is amazing, my son especially loves to make a night of it and brings ‘the boys’ out with him.
You’ve recently recorded an album of covers ‘Do It Again’. How did you come to selecting the tracks and are there any others that you would love to record for a follow-up?
Some of the covers were songs I performed on The Masked Singer, like Harry Styles ‘ Everything I Wanted’ and the others were songs I just love, Teardrops by Womack and Womack is on the album, I perform that live as part of my show because that song is incredible and has such amazing energy. I’m writing a new album at the moment so I don’t think there will be any more covers for a while as writing and creating songs that are mine is where my heart lies.
How can readers keep up-to-date with the tour and buying tickets for the show?
All the information for dates and tickets is on my website www.gabrielle.co.uk
My facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all GabrielleUK
I’m really looking forward to being back on the road and hope to party with some of your readers at a show!