I was lucky enough to have the chance to attend a small intimate gig and signing at a record store locally with rising star Gabrielle Aplin, and then have a chat with her afterwards. And I fell in love a little bit…
Witnessing the growth of a talented artist, and watching them break out of the local scene is fantastic to watch. Oxford has always been a thriving hot bed of new musical stars, with recent big selling acts like Stornoway and Foals following in the footsteps of Radiohead and Supergrass etc. But recently, Wiltshire has produced some home-grown talent that is really starting to fulfil the potential that has always existed. As well as Swindon’s Jahmene Douglas coming second on TV Karaoke behemoth The X Factor the town celebrated a number one single not long ago from Josh Kumra (with Wretch32) and folky band Colour The Atlas have toured with Newton Faulkner and been on Radio 2 in recent times. But most recently Sutton Bengers greatest export, Gabrielle Aplin, had a number one with her cover of “The Power Of Love” recorded for a TV Commercial. And her new single “Please Don’t say You Love Me” is at number three in the midweek charts as I write this.
With a debut album out soon Gabrielle has been out on the promotional trail, which brought her back to Wiltshire and an in-store performance and signing at independent record store Sound Knowledge. Exhausted from an early morning TV session in Copenhagen, she nevertheless bounced onto the small stage, grabbed her acoustic guitar and launched in to a short set of her delicate yet deep songs. Taken from across her burgeoning YouTube launched career she included a taster of the forthcoming album. Her voice was clear, strong and captivating, effortlessly gliding from hushed whispered tones to soaring passages of emotion. And despite the simplicity of the stripped back songs the overall effect was haunting.
Once the singing was done and she had signed a procession of mostly teenage girls freshly bought 7” red vinyl copies of her single with impressive approachability, I grabbed a few minutes to chat.
So how did you feel tonight went? Do you enjoy these sessions?
It went well, considering my hectic schedule, I am so tired! But these sessions are important, it is good to connect with the audience and do something for them. It is great to get such a nice reception. I wasn’t really expecting much because of the weather!
So are you spending some time back in Wiltshire, catching up with your family?
No, sadly I go straight back to London tonight, which is home now. But a lot of my family were here tonight, so it was nice to see them all as I don’t get the chance to much these days. I have been to Marlborough plenty of times before though, so it is nice to be somewhere familiar. Although I grew up in Wiltshire I spent a lot of my free time in Bath.
Did growing up here influence your writing? How do you create the songs?
Not really, I don’t have a particular way to write songs, they just happen. They are often anchored in emotions.
How did the forthcoming Please Please Me Beatles covers album come about? Did you get to pick the track?
The radio DJ Whispering Bob Harris put it together. His son is a fan of mine apparently and insisted I get involved. Yeah I got to choose. I went with “There’s A Place” because I thought it was the one most suited to me, that I could do something with.
And what is next for you Gabrielle?
Well I have Australia next week, then I do a UK Tour to support the album, which is all finished and nearly ready to put out. It is very exciting.
And with that, this fragile looking but massively confident young singer was whisked off back to the maelstrom of promoting her fast rising career.