Interview: Gabriella Cilmi
Published on October 28th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
We were pickled tink by Gabriella Cilmi’s recent “The Sting” single, awarding it four quails in a recent round-up and commending it on its “compelling husk of a voice, sultry jangle of guitar, heaving shuffle of a beat and lyrical hooks like ‘if the Devil were a woman, maybe she’d understand me’“.
Her third album, also called The Sting, is forthcoming, to be teed up further by the release of new single “Symmetry” on November 11th; so it felt like an opportune time to wing over some questions for one of those interview things we like to do…
Do “The Sting”, “Sweeter in History” and “Symmetry” give a good indication of what we can expect from the album?
Yes, although “The Sting” and “Symmetry” are probably the most uptempo of the lot. I was going for an ethereal soul type of vibe…I was listening to a lot of trip hop and my favourite soul and blues records for a little inspiration. The lyrics were influenced by however I was feeling on the day… They unintentionally became quite confessional.
You’ve mentioned that your previous album Ten didn’t really represent the person you are. At the time, did you feel as if you were being coerced into something you weren’t comfortable with?
I felt I was being encouraged to do something I knew I wasn’t 100 per cent about. I just didn’t feel natural. I have three left feet and somehow I was doing dance routines dressed as a sexy alien from out of space haha don’t ask me how!!!
How did you go about writing the new songs with the various collaborators? Was it a case of bringing ideas to each other, or sitting down and working them out from scratch?
It all happened very differently each time. I initially began writing with my live band…sometimes my guitarist sent me loops or my keyboard player sent me some whirly parts and I would write a lyric, then we’d all get together to finish it off.
Other times I used my autoharp to write or it might just happen in the room like it did with Tom Fuller and Eliot James. Depends on the day really.
Would you recommend going through the PledgeMusic route?
I’m not actually going through PledgeMusic’s fan-funded model. I’m only running my pre-order through the Pledge site.
The industry is changing rapidly. Musicians and fans need to be creative and open to new ways of funding and buying music.
Did you play any festivals over the summer? If so, any personal highlights?
I’ve played a lot of radio events! I love travelling the UK. The Great Escape was fun, I love Brighton. It was one of the first gigs playing the new stuff.
Are you still living in London? If so, what brought you here, and how are you finding it?
I came here to write my first album and I actually spent my 13th birthday in London… I’ve been living here properly for almost seven years… I’m 22 now so feels like I’ve been here for ages.
Finally, have there been any albums from 2013 that you’ve particularly enjoyed?
I’m listening to the new John Legend, just discovered St. Vincent, and …Like Clockwork by Queens of the Stone Age.
Gabriella Cilmi, thank you.