Four years ago Gabrielle Aplin was one of the many contending young musicians uploading songs from home living rooms onto YouTube. Four years later and she can look back on a debut album that peaked at number two in the charts, two Top 10 singles – including a number one. This transformation from a YouTube starlet to a one of the most exciting singer-songwriters in the business comes a bit of a surprise: “I never had any expectations, I knew I wanted to do music but I didn’t think that things would turn out the way they did”.
Although only 20 years old, Gabrielle has already been on six UK tours and is still enjoying life on the road: “It’s really fun, as I’ve grown done more touring, I’ve got a nice little team together on a little bus, it’s like going on holiday with your mates for a month so I really look forward to it and I can’t wait to get back out there and play some gigs.”
This time around there’s a slight twist to schedule. In the months leading up to the tour aspiring artists were invited to enter videos of them playing a cover of their choice for the chance to support Gabrielle at one venue during the tour. She was overwhelmed by the response: “I didn’t realise that many people were going to enter so it was really hard to choose from everyone. I don’t really know why I chose to do it. I love taking people out with me for the whole tour, I just thought it would be a nice thing to do, I had a lot of fans asking to support or suggesting people locally to support when I announced the tour, so it kind of came from that I guess.”
The ability that the internet has given Gabrielle to reach out to fans and aspiring artists is something she is keenly aware of: “The role the internet is playing now is just getting bigger and bigger, it’s a really good way to discover new music and to just produce and release your own music as well. It’s definitely a side that the industry has to take seriously.”
Gabrielle’s cover of ‘The Power of Love’ was featured on the 2012 John Lewis advert; significantly enhancing her reputation and giving her significant exposure. She describes the process of writing a cover as disarmingly simple: “There’s no formula really, I just kind of play what I like. I especially like covering songs that aren’t in the same genre as me or like the music that I usually make. It’s always good to pick something a bit weirder.”
As well as covering songs, Gabrielle is very receptive to seeing her own work being used in innovative ways. She was involved with Cyril Hahn’s recent remix of ‘Please Don’t Say You Love Me’: “I quite like it when people just do it and send me them and I’m like, “Ok, that’s cool”, I’m really interested in that. I don’t think I’d ever release my own dance album or anything like that, but I think I’d like to feature on something similar.”
In terms of her own writing style and influences, she prefers to keep things closer to home: “I just write about stuff that happens. I just can’t really write a song unless I know about what I’m writing about, and that’s just how I do it. When I was recording I was listening to a lot of big anthemic bands at the time. I really wanted a big sound, but didn’t want it to sound like a rock band, just anthemic. I was listening to Coldplay, The National, Elbow. I was really inspired by their production.”
Even with the likes of Avicii and Daft Punk dominating recent chart listings Gabrielle still sees a role to be played by the singer-song writer: “I think that’s just what’s doing well at the moment and I think that after summer there’s been some really amazing dance songs with that kind of production. I loved it; coming out of summer they were really great. To be honest I think it all jut comes in waves.”
Despite all of her early success, Gabrielle offers a refreshingly modest assessment of the future: “Whether I’ll still be doing it to the extent that I’m able to tour and stuff who knows, I just really enjoy making music so I’ll definitely still be doing that. I’m always writing anyway so I’m sure some of the stuff that I’ve written between when I released my album and now is going to be on my second album. So I’m just planning on doing another one is maybe the year or so, and just seeing how it goes, but I never really look too far ahead.”
Liked reading this article? Don’t forget to share it on social media!