Talking Shop: Gabrielle
Gabrielle’s single Why? is based on a sample of Weller’s Wild Wood
Soul star Gabrielle, whose hits include Dreams, Rise and Out of Reach, is returning with her fifth studio album Always.
She admits her last album “failed” – but is hoping to bounce back, and has been helped by rock legend Paul Weller on her latest single Why?
Q: Paul Weller appears on your single – how did that go?
A: It’s fantastic because he’s iconic, talented, gorgeous, everything. And he was so lovely on the day. Mega-talented and so personable. I’m totally privileged. I’m glad my producers were brave enough to ask him.
It certainly gelled. He is different [to me], he can be rocky in parts, but he’s also got his soulful side. Both our styles were able to blend – his music and my voice over his track. We were able to marry the two very successfully, so I was chuffed with that.
Q: What question are you asking in the title, Why?
A: Basically, it’s about ‘why have you got me working so hard and you’re breaking my heart?’ It’s about being in a relationship where you’re not being appreciated. Where you don’t know where you stand with this person and if you want to make a move out of the relationship, you at least want to know why. What is it I’ve done wrong?
But although you ask why, sometimes do you really want to hear the truth about yourself?
Q: The single has had a special remix to make it sound as good as possible on MP3 players. Have you got an iPod?
We’re in the 21st Century and I’m the only person who hasn’t arrived
A: My mum and my son both have and I’m actually going to get one. I was one of these people who said ‘what do I need an iPod for? I’ve got my car stereo, I’ve got my nice Bose system, I thought that was good enough’. It’s not good enough any more.
My son is going to start putting stuff on there for me because he did that for my mum. My mum’s got an iPod and is computer literate and does all my computer work. I should be embarrassed.
I’ve never really been into it – I’ve been the reluctant one who’s now got to learn. We’re in the 21st Century and I’m the only person who hasn’t arrived.
Q: So you’re not into MySpace and blogging and all that type of thing?
A: I’ve got a friend who did her MySpace website from my house. She wanted to show me and I thought ‘great – but what is it for?’ It’s complicated – whatever happened to going to clubs and seeing if people can sing or not?
Again, I’m still not in the 21st Century. But I’ve never gone on the internet – if I’ve wanted to look at anything, my mum’s had to pull it up for me. My mother is the trendy one and I am so behind.
Q: This is your fifth album in 14 years – do you take a break between albums or is that just how long it takes to make a Gabrielle record?
Gabrielle scored her first hit in 1993 – long before the days of MySpace
A: I can’t just start writing as soon as I’ve finished promoting one album. I’ve got to take time out after being on the road. After this promotion, I tend to go back home and on the treadmill of being a mother and all the things that entails – being Gabby’s cabbies to my son. His social life is just ridiculously fabulous in comparison to mine.
In between that, you’ve got to fit in trying to write material for a new album. Thankfully, the pressure wasn’t on for me to do that immediately after the last album, which kinda failed. It happens. You pick yourself up and get on with it.
It took a while longer to write this album, and at the same time I feel more comfortable with it. I needed that time. I think it’s about quality control rather than quantity.
Q: Why did your last album fail, and have you approached this one differently?
A: The last one had a bit of a country vibe going on, and a bit of an indie vibe in parts. There were quite a few of us doing the music and writing.
I guess in the grand scheme of things it didn’t quite work out and so you kinda have to go back to the drawing board. I’m not afraid to take risks, but this time round it was a case of going back to being classic Gabrielle.