Interview With Gabriela
Today we have the pleasure to chat with Nashville, TN-bred r&b singer-songwriter Gabriela. The 20 years old rising talent was born and raised in McAllen, TX, where she started singing at a very early age and started writing down her lyrics when she was only 8. The beautiful and talented young artist has been actively pursuing a music career since she was 10 years old. However, her debut single, the soulful and heartbreaking “Grow Up,” speaks about her struggle moving forward from her past. As a follow-up, Gabriela dropped her new song titled “Sun & Earth,” and we can’t wait to learn more about the promising artist and her new release.
First of all, congratulations on your new release ‘Sun & Earth,’ can you tell us a little bit about this song? How is it different from your debut single ‘Grow Up’?
Thank you so much! ‘Sun & Earth’ is a song really close to my heart and a release I have been looking forward to since writing it. The general theme of it plays through the idea of habitually taking care of everyone else before yourself but moreover the way that becomes overwhelming when you are in a rough time or in other words “pulling from an empty cup”. The song goes through the motions of me realizing the ways in which I can tend to ignore my own needs and how natural or comforting it may feel to be the kind of person who cares for the people they love over themselves. Eventually though concluding that too much of even a seemingly good thing can be bad; just as the sun is necessary and good for the Earth yet it can also be detrimental to the Earth. I think differentially ‘Grow Up’ was a really fun song that implied need for growth but in a lighthearted way that would make it feel easy for anyone to say those kind of things to another, whereas ‘Sun & Earth’ really dug deep into why a person can put themselves in a bad place on purpose and forces the listener to question that in their own nature. ‘Sun & Earth’ is definitely more emotional and has a darker undertone while still eliciting the same tone of universal feelings/circumstances as ‘Grow Up’.
How did you decide to record your songs both in Spanish and English? There are not many artists who go for bilingual lyrics.
Coming from Latin heritage, my culture is something that I connect with and similarly draw inspiration from. When I started making this song it was entirely English and I felt it needed a more personal aspect. As well, while writing it I had a lot of influence from Spanish artists I had been listening to at the time like Mana and early Shakira. I felt like blending the world between this new era of dark R&B/Pop and the Latin music I grew up with. Doing this made the song have a more well-rounded feel. It also added a dimension of myself that I felt was really necessary to the meaning, as well as to introduce as an aspect of myself early on in my music career because I am proud of my roots and they have a place in my musical background.
Your music is very emotional and lyrically poetic, where does that come from? Is it from your personal experience?
In music, I have always been drawn to lyrics that are either unique or challenging no matter what the genre. That always makes me want to have the same effect in the music that I make, I want it to mean something so I try to always have thoughtful lyrics. The poetic part probably just comes from reading so much because I’m a bookworm. As for where it all comes from, it’s usually a myriad of things revolving from what I see in the lives of those around me, in the world, books, movies, and history but generally, I root most songs in things that I have experienced or that I can relate to from one perspective or another. Songwriting can either be an outlet for me or a medium to understand something as I try to write from that angle. It’s all relative and one song can be pulling from multiple things.
How is your artist-music persona Gabriela different from the normal Gabriela who is not creating or performing?
As an artist I find my persona to just be a version of myself in a bold font. I am naturally a person who wears their heart on their sleeve, likes to have fun and be outgoing, and isn’t afraid to call things like I see them for the most part. Outside of music a lot of my life is still very creative oriented. However, the normal Gabriela might be more shy at times, I definitely keep a close circle, and while I am all of the things I just stated most people don’t see all those sides of me unless you’re family or like family to me. I carry myself as I am normally as a musician just less restrained and more confident. My music is me if I could say everything I’m thinking so as an artist the persona reflects that, in that I feel very self assured and able to be exactly what I am at my core in a lot of ways. My artist persona is able to accentuate areas of my personality or life that only people who really know me might have ever seen before now.
How would you describe your sound? Which artists would you like to collaborate with in the future?
My sound is something that is hard for me to put in a box and that can be really difficult at times when trying to put together a cohesive set of songs but also makes for better music in my opinion. I like so many different styles of music so I try to incorporate a lot of different sounds or ideas into what I create. If I had to describe it I would say the music I make falls into the category of Urban R&B/Pop music with ties to 90s contemporary Hip-Hop as well as modern era Pop and modern R&B. It’s a very genre-fluid sound in many ways which I believe most artist’s sounds are nowadays. From a songwriting aspect, I would love to work with someone like Taylor Swift, Anthony Kiedis, or Max Martin because I love their storytelling which might seem really unfitting considering my genre but I think that would be so interesting. As for a music collab overall I would enjoy working with similar artists like SZA, ROLE MODEL, Daniel Caesar, Rosalia, and Jhene Aiko. It would be really exciting to entertain the idea of working with artists who paved the way like Brandy or an iconic rapper like Kendrick Lamar
What are you currently working on? Can you tell us more about your upcoming projects?
I am currently recording a body of music that encompasses my vision for the music industry right now. It’s keeping me very busy as well as entertained and I am eager to finish/release it. A lot of it is coming out very soon. Other than that I hope to leave much of what is coming as a surprise until it is out, but you can follow me on my socials to keep up to date and follow the journey. I do a lot of daily/weekly updates.
2020 got us all pretty though with the Covid-19 world crisis, how did it impact you and your creative process?
Covid-19 caused a whirlwind of ripple effects in my life. For one it put a pause on most areas of my life like my in-person education at Belmont University, touring, and on the typical musical collaborations, I was used to as well as in-person business opportunities. For another thing after contracting the virus and experiencing the terrible effects personally, it made me very empathetic to people suffering and caused me to reevaluate a lot of things in a time of isolation and an inability to actively make music. This pushed me as a creator to want to take another look at a lot of music that I was set to release and forced me to reinvent my brand to mirror what I had come to grow into. In having to accept everything I needed to use this time and circumstance as an outlet and to connect with people on a more personal level. It changed the guidelines for what it meant to collaborate with other musicians and that pushed a lot of boundaries as well and set forward a wave of music that I am extremely proud of. I hope to take advantage of the time we are in if nothing else, to continue to make more music and work harder. I am excited for the future.