Stay for the Night
Stay for the Night is available via:
8th May, 2018
I am always looking around for artists...
who fulfil all my needs and give me something to get excited about. I will talk about GAZELLE in a bit but, before I come to her, I wanted to address a few things. I want to talk about musicians who have a spark and true personality about them; bonding with sounds and curiosity at a young age; the music and legacy of Liverpool; fascinating stories that compel stories and interest; artists who are the complete and real deal; female artists and embracing sounds that are perfect for where music is right now. You look at GAZELLE and read her story and there is something about her. Not only is she arresting and stunning but there is a command and sense of confidence that leaps out and hits you. I will talk about her current single in a bit but, when you look at GAZELLE’s biography and where she has come from; you are drawn in and hooked. I am seeing a lot of artists come through but, for the most part, they are not staying in my mind. It is hard standing out from the pack in such a busy and crowded market. Every day, we are exposed to fresh artists and expected to take it all in and understand what they are about. I wonder whether the fact music is so crowded means we do not retain as much as we should and move on to the next artist. You do not want to move on from GAZELLE! She has a blend of cheekiness and vulnerability that implores you to finds out more and get behind her. There is a certain look and sound the Pop market looks for from its new artists: more and more; new acts are rebelling against that and going deeper and breaking with convention. We are seeing fewer processed and generic artists emerge; acts like GAZELLE add an original spin to the genre and put in bag-loads of personality. I have learnt a little about her but so much is delivered and revealed in the music.
One of the main reasons I feel GAZELLE is bound for big success is the way she adds her personality and spark into the music. Instead of copying someone else or aiming for a certain market; you get a pure and determined artist who dominates her own territory. Apart from a natural beauty and an immense sense of confidence; there is the music itself – it pops from the page and gets right inside the heart. Although Stay for the Night is new from GAZELLE; she has been around a bit and cut a few songs. In the conclusion, I will look at where she might head and what she can achieve this year. I am listening to a lot of older music because of the character and colour I get from it. I love some of the new artists making their way into music but, more and more, my mind shifts back to the music of the past. I look at GAZELLE and see is someone who wants to go very far in the music industry. One receives a real physical expression and delivery from the young artist. It is interesting listening to her voice and the music being produced…you know there is room for manoeuvre and mobility. I hear her sing and one can imagine a natural step to Hip-Hop or Rap; GAZELLE has that love of Jazz so something smokier and more alluring might be possible; she has the ability to step into club-based music and create a Dance smash. There are very few artists around who are able to step into various genres and project so many nuances. Right now, with her single; you have an Electro-Pop smash that is turning heads and getting into the public forum. Maybe my demands are too high but I am disappointed about the lack of real energy and depth coming from artists now. GAZELLE’s history and her present ambitions mean she is truly unique and bound for greatness.
I will come back to GAZELLE’s past and her story in a bit but, right now, a look even further back. We all get involved with music at different stages in life. For me; I think I heard my first piece of music at around two or three – the sounds of Tears for Fears coming from the radio in my first home. It is a spotty memory but the sound of their biggest hit, Everybody Wants to Rule the World, is lodged in my brain. In fact; those twinkling and evocative introduction notes still elicit magic and kiss after hundreds of listens! From there, I fell for bands like T.Rex and was exposed to a lot of Beatles vinyl – building to where I am now and the passion I have. GAZELLE, like many musicians, got involved with Jazz and greats like Nina Simone. In fact…do THAT many people have that great a taste so young? Even though her music departs from the silky and enraptured vocals of Simone; the musicianship, sense of feel and confidence one gets stems from her exposure to Jazz. I can imagine the young girl curiously sat back drinking in all the beauty and genius of Nina Simone. Simone, when you listen to her being interviewed, is a bold and, at times, spiky presence who certainly speaks her mind. I am not saying GAZELLE is anything like that – she seems incredibly sweet and lovely – but being drawn to such a strong figure has influenced what she does not and how her music sounds. The aspiring artist played piano and clarinet at school and fell for all the liberty and opportunity music provided. In addition to Nina Simone, I can imagine other artists coming into GAZELLE’s life. Not to get ahead of the game, but I feel a bit of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday was there; some Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington. I can hear the sexuality and fire of Nina Simone; I get hints of the vulnerability and emotion of Holiday; the experimentation and brilliance of Ellington and Fitzgerald.
In terms of my evolution as a listener; I moved from the 1980s best – and the tastes of my parents – the music of the 1990s. The Dance and club classics of the day are the ones that stick in my mind the hardest. Throw in Grunge, Britpop and all the majesty of the 1990s and you have a broad and eclectic palette. I am not sure how GAZELLE developed from Jazz – she is younger than me – but I can imagine some of the 1990s’ best were thrown into the mix. Like me; the young and hungry artist seems discontent doing anything but music. I can see her, as a girl, sifting through C.D.s and listening to her parents’ music; sitting by the radio and listening to the chart rundown. As the new century broke; she must have been excited to see all the changes in the industry – from the rise of British Hip-Hop artists (like Dizzee Rascal and The Streets) and the more emphatic and bold Dance music that was coming along – like Darude (Sandstorm), Spiller (Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) and ATB (9PM Till I Come). That mix is a sweatier and more explicit form of Dance/Electronic than one got in the 1990s (where we had everyone from Dr. Albarn, CeCe Peniston and Basement Jaxx keeping us entertained. If you link the two together – GAZELLE’s love of Jazz and the music she would have experienced as a young girl (looking back at the 1990s, too) then you have a heady and rare brew. What I have noticed with a lot of musicians who pick up instruments young is they often move into other genres and dispense with that earlier teaching. I am not sure whether GAZELLE will go more into Jazz in the future but, seeing the talent she has, it would be possible to create an E.P. with traditional and smoky Jazz songs and sunny, rousing Electro-Pop songs. The world is open for GAZELLE and she has so many chances to rule and command.
I will come back to GAZELLE’s timeline but, before then, I will go to Liverpool and have a chat about the music there. I am, in the next few months, moving to Manchester and leaving behind the South. I am looking for the buzz and excitement of the city and the friendliness of the people. Some people do not look beyond London for new music and quality: eyes tend to be blind and we do not quint enough to see the brilliance available in the North. I will chat about GAZELLE and local exposure – it seems Liverpool is a great place for her to make music. Maybe she will sojourn and relocate to London – when artists get big; so many of them come to the capital – but I hope she remains where she is. Liverpool is a great city that mixes cultures, nationalities and tastes. One can easily see the teenage GAZELLE swaggering down town in some new webs and jibbing off some scuzzy lads; having a bifter and ignore the plazzy girls spitting and giving full attitude (I shall dispense with my attempts at Liverpool slang as it sounds completely fake coming from a southern softy!). My point is she has mixed the realness and character of the city with the beauty and culture that stems from every rose, pub doorway and historical monument. I will tip my hat to romantic exposure and song inspiration but, when I was mentioning musical tastes; I was remiss for not mentioning some of the acts based out of Liverpool. More modern – sort of – acts like The Coral (Hoylake lads) and The Cheap Thrills; Clean Cut Kid and Aystar; She Drew the Gun and Life at the Arcade. There are a tonne of boss (sorry!) bands and artists keeping the pure red of Liverpool gleaming and ecstatic. Look at established and legendary Liverpool acts like Cast, A Flock of Seagulls; The Lightning Seeds and Echo & the Bunnymen and there are obvious reasons why Liverpool holds such merit and reputation.
I have not mentioned the biggest Liverpool band of all time: Atomic Kitten…only kidding! The Beatles MUST have been part of GAZELLE’s early life: not because she is in Liverpool but because it is a unanimous and universal taste! When I listen to GAZELLE’s music and the way she expresses herself; I can hear her native tongue and shades of the mop-haired foursome. That might sound like a stretch – my ears are Vulcan-like! – but listen to an early slice of vinyl like Please Please Me (an underrated work of genius from the boys!) and there is SOMETHING one can compare between the 1963 release and what GAZELLE is doing now. Look at all the experimental bands and acts of Liverpool and the great Pop and Rock being made right now - ALL of this goes into her work and demeanour. I sense the young artist can go in any direction she likes. Her Jazz background, tied to Electro Pop could take her down one path; she could easily score a modern Pop jam or something impossible sensual and smoky; some fierce and knuckles-to-the-ceiling rave; a princely Dance banger that has people jumping and hemisphere shifting - the world, as I say, is her oyster! You look at great venues in Liverpool such as The Zanzibar Club, 02 Academy Liverpool; Kazimer, The Caledonia and The Shipping Forecast and there is a solid local foundation. Whereas many venues are closing in London and other parts; it seems the economy and loyalty of Liverpool is preserving venues – apologies if my local knowledge is flawed and any of these spaces have had to close their doors! I can imagine GAZELLE has played these spaces – or some of them – and is keen to explore everything the city has to offer. Toss in Sound City 2018 (that ran between 5th and 6th May) and it seems, I hope, a lot of eyes are turning the way of Liverpool. The aspiring artist has little reason to leave the people and passion of the city…maybe London’s assets and musical wealth will tempt her down?
I will end the introduction section by looking at female artists but, before I get there; I wanted to look at GAZELLE’s life after childhood and her time in France. I am not suggesting her time there involved a lot of drinking, adventure and wild nights – you picture a young woman moving to a new country and exploring every elicit and sexual thrill – but there was an unhappiness when she first moved there. She studied Chemistry during a university exchange of Versailles. The locally-placed Hall of Mirrors (in the Palace of Versailles) would have been an ironic and vivid revelation: the reflection staring back would have been an unhappy and displaced one. Whilst GAZELLE was acclimatising and trying to settle into a new landscape; the revelation of a desperate cry - Sauve mon âme! – meant she joined an underground art commune. This is what I mean about GAZELLE: she already has the life and characteristics of a Jazz legend! France, inevitably, plays a part in anyone’s life who loves Jazz. It seems the passion and the openness of the people embraces Jazz/Jazz-minded more than anywhere else. I could easily see GAZELLE’s life and upbringing turned into a biopic! She would spend her nights singing in a band and working as an Au Pair during the day. She taught herself guitar and fell for Electronic artists like Jamie Woon and their ilk; captivated by new beats and the language of love. This heady concoction kept her buoyant and satisfied. Rather than the cliché chemical and sexual experimentation one would associate with an underground commune – French, at that – instead; you get musical curiosity and a formative moment for the Liverpool songwriter. When she returned home and got her feet back under the table; that new exposure led her to tackle local bars and play guitar there. Acts like Lauryn Hill and India Arie – Gregory Porter and Erykah Badu, too – were new idols and helped craft that unique vocal style. That sort of takes us to now and where the young artist is. She has had that exposure and rare upbringing; an assortment of experiences that all go into her spectacular and rare treasure chest.
Before I get to the song itself; I’ll quickly touch on song inspiration and female artists. There is an ongoing argument that festivals and gigs are not featuring enough women in their line-up. I agree there is oversight and more needs to be done – are tastes and festivals trained towards men; does music favour male artists?! I feel there is that culture where we assume there are few female artists and the biggest draw will come from men. That is wrong because, as you look out, there are so many incredible female artists ready to explode! I feel there is still that sexism and naivety that means ignorance rules and so many great female artists are being overlooked. There are strong role models working away but is there enough reinforcement?! I wonder. GAZELLE is someone who can add her voice in the market and help affect real change and movement. She can handle the pressures of the big stages and has music that we all need to hear. She is getting some great gigs and opportunities right now but I wonder, when she gets proper-big; will the festivals look towards men?! I hope things change real soon. Stay for the Night is inspired by a friend of GAZELLE and a sort of love at first sight (I do not believe in that so let’s replace ‘love’ with ‘attraction’) experience. In an interview I conducted with GAZELLE; I asked about the inspiration behind her new song:
“…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”.
That is a rather charming and lovely story one does not hear too much of! I guess we all have opinions of modern love and how people come together. I asked GAZELLE whether she has had that same spark and festival attraction. She has, like so many, caught eyes and felt that rush – there is that fire but, sadly, nothing materialised into romance. Being at a festival and surrounded by thousands of people; there are countless chances to meet someone and have that blossom of love – or the one night of sex and not going from there. I am glad this story is more than sex and the physical: there is something more material and long-lasting about the festival sweethearts! I am not sure whether the two are still together but it is a perfect inspiration for a song that has a unique eye. It is fitting that a song that could score festivals and summer gigs talks about two people meeting at such an event. Love and relationships often inspire songs and fine moments: maybe, when more material is out, GAZELLE will look at her own lusts/experiences and put them into the music.
I have listened to Stay for the Night a few times now and get a fresh blast of revelation each time I do. I am not sure whether there will be a music video for the track (there should!) but I can imagine GAZELLE and her friends chatting and dancing to the music whilst, across the way, her mate spots the boy – eyes lock and their seduction and connection follows the music. In fact, I can see a Michel Gondry-like video transpiring. The conversations and dance would be in time to the music and it would be a single shot – the camera never loses eye contact – with the sweethearts moving from scenes and locations (at the festival) whilst the night draws in. Rather than leap ahead and pitch the video myself – I might as well direct the bloody thing; such are the ideas coming to mind – you listen to the song and can present your own visions. The track wastes no time getting underway and making its presence felt. There are burbling and bubbling vocals captured under the jar of electronic heat. A warped and processed sound projects images of festival rush and excitement. The song has that energetic and rousing chest that struts forward and brings the heat. You listen to the first notes and get that view of sunshine and bodies enraptured by the music. When the heroine comes the microphone; you get a soulful and rich voice that has chocolate, sensual entice and commanding tones mingling together. She recounts the story: the girlfriend saw the guy as their bodies were swaying in time to the music. With her lemonade-tinged drink and coffee-brown eyes; the petite woman leapt towards the boy and made her introductions. GAZELLE presents the scene and dynamics splendidly. You get those fine details (the drink and colour of eyes) but are left to explore and wonder other details – which band were on when that meeting happened; where were they exactly. It gives the song a mix of obvious and open-for-guessing that excites me hugely.
The composition is kept fairly unobtrusive as the heroine speaks about that flame and kismet. In the sun, they “started something beauty” and danced the whole night through. That chorus implore – to stay for the night; if only for tonight – comes in and is delivered with intensity and romance. There is less of the cheap thrill – getting your rocks off and having that thrill – and more of wanting to keep the conversation flowing. They have that instant attraction and do not want to leave things. In a way, you have a modern love story that reflects classic films. There are two people natural for one another and bonding over music and common traits. They could go their own way but they do not want to squander something special. GAZELLE, as narrator, reflects this physicality and perfectly articulates the emotions evident from the off. You get funky guitar flecks alongside soulful beats and clicked percussion. The music dissipates as the man kisses the woman on the forehead – they are leaving things where they are but it seems the opposites are attracted. Whereas they danced all night; you wonder whether it was fun in the moment but things are not destined to go past that. It is fascinating seeing all the elements brewing in the song. You start with that Electro rouse and bang before mutating into Soul and Jazz. GAZELLE’s voice is the instrument that stands out the loudest. She has the soulfulness and addictiveness of Lauryn Hill and an instancy that gets into the heart. She can change her tones and projections when the music calls for it – moving from rampant and physical to heartfelt and passionate. Stay for the Night takes the listener into the scene and the dialogue between the sweethearts. In a way; the song is the start of a concept E.P. that needs some answers: did the two remain together (you assume so) and what happened after that first night? Did they start dating soon after and where are they now? The listener will have those questions and want resolve. It is a fantastic track perfect for summer and the busy festival crowds. GAZELLE has entered a competitive market and already managed to stand aside with a stunning and intense cut. Her voice is the magic ingredient that puts the song into the stratosphere! The way she handles and treats words gives the song a realness and sense of personality. You will come back to Stay for the Night time and time again; compelled by various aspects and learning something new each time!
I will end things here and leave you all be – I hope my words have done justice to GAZELLE and what she is all about. I know there have been other moments in her cannon but Stay for the Night is where she is now and her declaration into the world. She has just played BBC Introducing/BBC Merseyside and will be in London on Wednesday for a live Facebook session for Pirate Studios – I might be in the area at the time. GAZELLE has been busy being interviewed and promoting her new track. A lot of new people are turning onto her and the future is very bright. I am not sure what she has planned in terms of touring and material but I can imagine there are those great local gigs and stuff down in London. I can imagine her getting spots further afield and a proper U.K. tour coming together. In terms of material and new stuff; I would like to see an E.P. from her. GAZELLE has such a broad taste and ability – an E.P. from her could be all-Electro or throw in some Jazz and guitar music, too. The striking songwriter is getting ready to attack the summer and, with that, festival demands will be close. I would like to see more people take to her music and give her the stage to shine and resonate. There are wonderful artists out there but none that have the same characteristics and contours as GAZELLE. She is that rare type of human being: fascinating and compelling and born with natural talent and confidence. All of this comes through in her music. I am not sure whether the young songwriter will want to see how Stay for the Night fares before making her next move. Whatever she plans - maybe a quick break to recharge the batteries! – it will be fascinating to see! Stay for the Night is a song that shows GAZELLE, in a good way, is on her bill (sorry – last slang from me!). She occupies a rare space that will inspire other artists and shows, in GAZELLE herself, we have a musician who will…
BE around for decades to come.