by Andrew Coleman, Birmingham Mail | originally published @ BirminghamMail.net
BRIT Award-winning singer Gabrielle is making a rare appearance on stage in Birmingham – and she hopes it will prepare her for a full UK tour next year.
The 41-year-old star admits she gets so nervous about performing, she’s happy to stay out of the limelight.‘‘You have to literally drag me on stage,’’ she admits before adding that once she’s singing she has a great time.‘‘Then you have to drag me off!’’ she laughs.
It’s been some time since Gabrielle, who had hits with Dreams and Rise, has toured, so she sees the brace of Rock With Laughter shows at Birmingham’s LG Arena on December 16-17 as a good way of easing herself back into the groove.
Also on the bill are Graham Norton, Marti Pellow, 10CC, Jimmy Carr, Dara O Briain and Sarah Millican.
‘‘I’m actually looking forward to doing the Rock With Laughter shows,’’ Gabrielle says. ‘‘It’s a different audience and it means that it gets me out there again. It’s almost like brushing up on your skills. It’s fun and it’s scary at the same time. And it prepares me for next year because I’m doing a new album so this is a good time for me.‘‘I think everybody’s thinking if we get her to do this she won’t be such a scaredy cat when it comes to touring next year.’’
Gabrielle has another reason for her lack of showbiz activity. She’s been busy at home with children Jordan, aged 16, and Patricia, eight.‘‘It’s a full-time job, completely,’’ she says. ‘‘When I was on the road all the time my mum used to look after the kids. I think you take it for granted, then when you actually have to do it yourself – run a house and look after children – oh my god, mum, I salute you!’’
With Gabrielle taking time out from touring and her mum moving to the Caribbean to live there were big changes in the singer’s life.‘‘I stayed home and looked after the kids, did the school run, all the stuff that people take for granted,’’ she says.‘‘I’ve enjoyed it but it is time to kinda get my mic off its hook and start performing again. ‘‘I think the Rock With Laughter shows are about reminding me how much fun it can be. And because it’s a Christmas event I think you can look forward to it even more. The audience is there to have fun. ‘‘It’s not about me being afraid, it’s about going out and having a good time, having a Christmas party. I’m always up for a good Christmas party!’’
And she has her children to thank for keeping her up to date with today’s music. ‘‘My son is very much into music, he likes Drake, he likes his RnB. It’s funny, I had to remind him of when I had to take him to Wembley to see Busted.‘‘My youngest likes loads of different stuff and she’s very much a Jessie J fan. I’m listening and I’m thinking these are all mega current people and my music’s not going to be like that.’’She added: ‘‘I started writing the new album and I was thinking ‘am I up for this? It’s been a while, music’s changed so much’.
‘‘Everybody was saying just be yourself and the good thing is I’ve hooked up with a couple of great producers who’ve allowed me to be me but they’ve come with this flavour which is kind of retro in parts but still very Gabrielle and I’m having a ball.
‘‘I’ve actually gone to the studio and been dancing. I never dance in the studio! So it will still be Gabrielle but hopefully an up to date Gabrielle.’’
* ROCK WITH LAUGHTER
December 16 & 17: LG Arena, Birmingham. Tickets: 0844 338 8000, rockwithlaughter.com