WITH the weather brightening and people…
in a better mood; we are all looking for music that grabs the senses and elevates the soul. GAZELLE has released the exceptional and alluring Stay for the Night into the world. I ask the Liverpool-based songwriter what it is about and whether there is going to be any more material arriving later in the year.
She reveals what the scene is like in Liverpool right now; which new artists we need to get involved with; the sort of music she grew up around; if she gets any time to relax away from music – GAZELLE shares a great memory from her time in music.
Hi, GAZELLE. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m really good, thank you. This week’s been filled with a lot of music: two festivals in Liverpool at the weekend and then, finally, the release of my track yesterday.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a singer and writer of soulful Electronic tracks. I think that’s the best way I can describe it for now…
Stay for the Night is out. It is a powerful and potent introduction. Did it take a while to put together – or was it a natural and instant creation?
It was very natural. I invited my friend round, who isn’t a musician, but I remember being particularly good at writing at school, to help me write a new song. I figured I could do the melody and guitar chords and she could help with the vocab. It all happened pretty quickly from there really; then, I got into the studio and converted it into what it is now I suppose.
I believe there is that love at first sight sensation. Is it true it is based on a friend and an instant click with someone at a festival?
Definitely, yep. My mate met her boyfriend at Leeds festival a few years ago when we were there together. I find it so much easier to write about very specific experiences. The lyrics tend to be far more descriptive that way.
I think the exact story was that he spoke to her in Welsh in the middle of a crowd and she happened to know one phrase in Welsh which was “Shut up and go to bed”, which she replied with (and the rest was history). Pretty funny. I didn’t manage to get that bit into the song, unfortunately.
Have you experienced that buzz and sensation yourself? How much of your own experiences go into the song, would you say?
Yeah, absolutely. Festivals are a magical thing. I’ve met many a people I fell in love with at a festival. I never saw them again, mind! But, we were definitely in love in that moment anyway.
Do you have other material in the tank for this year or are you keen to let the single get out there and make its mark?
I’m working on a few different songs at the moment. Just working out what’s best to follow Stay for the Night. Hopefully, my next song will be out in about a month. I didn’t release a song for six months - and I’m never doing that again!
You recently played The Secret Place. What was that gig like?! How were the crowd on the night?
That was an interesting gig. The crowd were really great. They always are. We weren’t too far from a chef, who was ringing his bell in time to the music. Everyone was getting involved.
I am interested to know when you got into music. Did you from studies to music – or was that flame alight from a very young age?
Well. I played piano and clarinet from an early age; at eight, I composed a song called ‘Jazzy Chocolate’, and had a few singing lessons, too. I then stopped music for a long time and went to university to study Chemistry. It was during a research year abroad during my degree that I decided to take a gap year and moved into an illegal underground arts commune in Paris (long, crazy story).
I then taught myself guitar, started a band and my love for music was reignited then and there. On returning to Liverpool, I decided to immerse myself in music and it's been onwards and upwards since really.
Can you give me a taste of the artists you grew up around? Which musicians compelled you at a young age?
My biggest inspiration has been Nina Simone. We used to listen to her on the way to school and back. I could have sung you the one-minute piano solo note for note in My Baby Just Cares for Me. Since then, it’s artist’s like Erykah Badu, Jessie Ware; Jamie Woon, Rhye; Tom Misch and Jorja Smith.
Liverpool is your home. Is the city still alive and teeming with musical talent? Do you pick up inspiration from the people and sounds of the street?
Liverpool is unbelievable for talent.
You think you’re just about getting to grips with the scene and all the people at the top of their game, then you’ll discover a load more you’ve never heard of. I’m really lucky to be from Liverpool; there’s so much going on and the Soul and Jazz scene is slowly but surely expanding too.
Can we see you tour this year? What gigs do you have coming along?
Mainly (just) local gigs coming up in the next few months: 19th June, Camp and Furnace; 22nd July on at Liverpool International Music Festival; BBC festival of firsts on the BBC Introducing stage in August.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Ideally, I just want to release an E.P. that I’m unbelievably proud of and introduce people to the type of music that makes me so passionate about music itself.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I supported Soul II Soul about a year ago, which was amazing. They’re one of my dad’s favourite bands and he came to soundcheck and saw them sing Back to Life. I think that made his life and in turn made my life.
Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?
The Internet – Ego Death
Miles Davis/Robert Glasper – Everything’s Beautiful
Jamie Woon – Making Time
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Do your thing: don’t do what anybody else wants you to do. You gotta be you.
IN THIS PHOTO: SG Lewis
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I’ve recently developed an obsession with SG Lewis - also, Yellow Days. I saw them at Sound City this weekend. Also; listen to XamVolo. He’s the king of Electronic Soul in Liverpool and his voice is insane. Listen to him.
I could go on…one more! KWAYE!
IN THIS PHOTO: XamVolo/PHOTO CREDIT: Robin Clewley
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Yoga is a big part of my life at the moment. I’ve recently realised how important physical and mental-health is and how both are so deeply connected. It took me a while but I really make sure I get a good balance and try not to party toooo much!
Trying my hardest to be sensible anyways…
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Oooooooh. It’s gonna have to be SG Lewis – Aura.
I just can’t cope when the bass line comes in at the start. I have to do a lil dance when I’m walking somewhere every time. Whole track is just effortless