Dance With The Stars
artist reflections and album review
more Gabrielle Angelique:
Celtic Mystique (1999)
review and interview © Russ Elliot 2006
click on images to visit artist's website
all photos used with permission
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Last updated: 29 December 2006
Initially discovered by many through her widely acclaimed recording of "Ancient Souls" on the 1999 album Celtic Mystique, Gabrielle Angelique has amassed a loyal following of listeners to her Celtic-influenced recordings. The artist's earliest recordings demonstrate her talent on the harp. Singing and songwriting followed.
Gabrielle's latest release is Dance with the Stars, a collection of original recordings and her own interpretations of traditional tunes and covers of tunes by The Rolling Stones, Enya and Kate Bush. Learn all about Gabrielle in our comprehensive interview conducted in July 2006 and our album review presented below.
Musical Discoveries: Was the release of "Ancient Souls" on Celtic Mystique was your musical breakthrough?
Gabrielle Angelique: Oh yes. It was such an honor to be placed among the ranks of Darby Devonn and Laura Powers. It opened up a whole new world for me, and taught me what true professionalism is. Graham Way was such a good producer and gave me a lot of creative lee-way, but he also made sure I gave it my best. I was so young and nervous at the time and I was intimidated by the microphone because it was so powerful and would pick up every little noise so I tried not to move because my clothes would crinkle and Iíd try not to breath loudly when I needed to gasp for breath to belt out a particular part and I remember getting dizzy a few times from holding my breath and trying to be so perfectly still. Eventually I loosened up with the song but the first couple takes were pretty stiff. But I feel the song was a success because I wanted to do the song so badly that eventually I tuned out my nervousness and tuned in to the song and gave it my all.
Can you give us a more complete story on how you got involved with that track?
My mother who is a Celtic harpist had sent my Echo CD to him for professional feedback and after listening to it he felt I had a lot of potential. His Celtic Mystique album was already in the selection stage and at the time he thought I might be a potential singer but he wanted me to take some voice lessons so he invited me out to Vancouver to take lessons from Jan Cooper a phenomenal vocal coach.
While in training Jan and I tried out many different songs and many different styles. I was really into Sarah McLachlan's Fumbling towards Ecstasy and Delerium's Karma music so I kept bringing those albums in to warm up to. While in session one day Jan paused and said, "I want you to listen to this and tell me what you think."
From the moment the driven Celtic beat began I was hooked. Than the sweet piano interlude sang with such sadness and than the chorus was so powerful I got shivers. It wasnít that I just liked the song, I loved it. Later I found out it was one of Jan's students who co-wrote the song with one of Jan's engineers. Well, a month passed way too quickly and I had to go back home. Before I left, Graham asked me to sing that song for him and once I performed it he said heíd like me to sing that song on his Celtic compilation. I was thrilled!!!
When I went back to the states I practiced everyday and when I felt I was ready we set a date and I flew back to Vancouver for ten days. Unfortunately I caught an awful cold on the plane so I wasn't able to do much the first few days but than I got really worried that I wouldn't be able to sing the song but soon my voice deepened and my voice sounded older and more mature because of the cold so it actually helped. I was taking a lot of Day Quil too so I was a little loopy but we pulled it off. I think the cold and Day Quil also helped me from getting to nervous once I got use to the microphone situation.
Did you receive a lot of correspondence following the release?
I did. What was exciting is I got mail from all over the world. Many fans said "Ancient Souls" was their favorite song. My personal favorite is "Homes of Donnegal" performed by Sharon Murphy. Also a lot of bands contacted me to ask if they could cover the "Ancient Souls" song. I was so flattered but would regretfully tell them I didn't write the song so I'd redirect them to Graham Way. I also had a few labels approach me about signing with them. That was really exciting but as flattered as I was I wanted to stay an Indie.
Did the response to your first studio album Echo increase afterwards?
Ahh, Echo. Echo is such a touchy subject for me. I loved writing the music and recording it and everything was such a whirlwind at the time, but it was my very first album and I was so young and new to everything with production and recording. I was on a very low budget so there were a lot of takes I should have done over but at the time I had had no vocal training except choir at school and I was just discovering my voice and what kind of music I wanted to portray.
It was very difficult for customers to purchase my music because I had no website and no order catalog so until I found CDBaby I only sold them through art fairs. So Echo sales did not increase drastically from the song "Ancient Souls" but performing that song did give me a lot of exposure and helped get my name out there. I did have a good response from people who did purchase Echo through the art fairs and CDBaby. I got a lot of fan mail telling me which song was their favorite and why.
I made an executive decision do discontinue printing Echo and it was a very hard choice to make. I went back and forth because I didn't want to let go of the songs I wrote but there were a couple songs I wasn't happy about or I wished I'd tried harder. The neat thing about the album is most of the songs were one-takes meaning I sang it once and kept it which is very rare for recording artists. So Iíve come to a compromise I've decided to redo some of my favorite songs from that album to the caliber that I wished I had done before. And there are only 1000 Echo CDs in circulation so now they are collector items.
We understand that you were picked to do the final version "Ancient Souls" in lieu of another vocalist. Can you compare the earlier version to the one you finally recorded?
The original singer and songwriter of "Ancient Souls" sounded a bit more like Celine Dion where I felt the song needed a softer Sarah McLachlan feel to it. I think I connected to the song so well because it's about two lost souls trying to find each other and at the time I was searching for my own soulmate--which I have found by the way--and I did feel a little lost at the time so I was genuine and made the song a part of me.
The song is very close to the original. I changed a few parts of the vocal arrangement to fit my personality a bit more, but the musical background and chorus stayed very much the same.
What would you say has contributed to the successful sales of your solo albums?
I'd have to say the bulk of my sales come from art fairs. I'm very lucky because my target market is the type of person who enjoys art, paintings, sculptors, jewelry, clothes, etc. They are the people looking for unique hand crafted items. They don't want the same run-of-the-mill type stuff. They like originality and a large percentage of them love Celtic/New Age/Easy Listening music.
I do sell my CDs online and in some record stores and gift shops and various online record stores but my best sales still revolve around the art fairs. I love the fact that I am able to meet each customer and individually answer their questions. It's a connection you just don't get when you're on stage or selling out of stores. Many people also attend art fairs because they want to know the artist. Most artisans are very friendly which make their product that much more special. So in a way when someone buys a painting or drinks out of their favorite pottery mug they remember who it was that made it and in a sense they have taken a part of that artist home with them.
My home is filled with art and fine craft and I remember every artist who made each piece. I found that it seems to be that way with my music at the shows. Almost every person who buys from me smiles and gets excited and says they'll think of me when they're playing my music and the following year they come back. You form friendships with your customers and that's just gold.
How has your family business influenced your musical direction and the publicís interest in your material?
When I was young I made jewelry for my parents and I had the opportunity to travel the country with them and attend art shows where weíd sell our jewelry while my mother and I took turns playing the harp. Now I help design jewelry for Harp Stone and I do my own shows with my husband with our own jewelry. We usually rent out a 20 foot space which is called a double booth at the shows. It allows enough room for me to set up my music and listening station where customers can sample each CD. We sort of treat the booth like a gallery.
The jewelry is displayed around the music. Often times I play my harp in the booth and serenade people with my harp music while they shop for our jewelry and music. Sometimes shows hire me to play at the entrance of their shows by greeting each customer with cheerful harp music. Other times there are shows with stages for their entertainment and than I perform on stage. My favorite is just being in my booth and talking with customers. It's much more laid back and not at all stressful.
Now let's turn to the your release, Dance with the Stars. How many songs did you demo prior to the final recording process?
Last year I had four orchestrated songs that I burned to a disc so when I performed on stage last year I'd sing and play the harp to the musical background, between acoustic vocal and harp songs. Unfortunately I only had my two solo harp albums for sale at the time so when people would approach me after the performance they'd say, "I'd like to buy your vocal album with the songs you just played," and Iíd pause awkwardly and say, "I'm so sorry but that album isn't released yet." And than while they'd buy my harp CDs they'd grumble saying, "you really shouldn't perform songs that aren't available for sale yet," and they'd make me promise to come out with the vocal album soon.
When I finally felt ready to go into the studio I ran a few songs by my dad who is a very good music critic and my mother because they are both very honest and supportive when it comes to my music. I didn't send any demos for reviews or radio stations though. I wanted all my attention focused on the album and I only had 18 days to record the vocals and harp and mix down the songs. I'm on the road 10 months out of the year so time is very special and limited so each moment counts when I'm home. So I was really on a time crunch to polish the songs.
I decided to make an EP of my three favorite songs from the full album because I wanted to have it available more to my loyal harp customers to reintroduce them to my Celtic/Vocal album. Also, I noticed a lot of children can buy my EP for only $3.00 which makes them happy because it's something they can actually afford and take something with them from the show.
How did you make the selection of the tracks that were included in the finished product?
I had a lot of different choices for this album but the chosen songs just seemed right. They seemed to belong to each other, and the order just seemed to fit into place. There are a few more I wanted to record but I ran out of time so I'm filing them away for my next album.
You chose to cover some remarkable songs. What led you to cover "Wild Horses"? Please describe your unique rendition of this classic track.
The very first time I heard "Wild Horses" was in high school. It was covered by The Sundays and I thought it was such a beautiful bittersweet piece. Than about a year ago I was carousing Borders Books and Music store when I came across Charlotte Martin. So I sampled a few of her songs and thought, "Wow! She has a really cool voice!" So I bought her CD and while we were driving to our next show we listened to her awesome album. When it finally reached "Wild Horses," I was so moved by the heart breaking piece that I kept repeating the song and finally after the tenth time my husband ejected the CD and said, "Gabrielle, I am so depressed we have to stop listening to this song!" So the song just stuck with me and when it came down to recording my album I had to cover this song.
I easily get disappointed with an artist when a musician covers a song and they perform it exactly the same as the original. I want to hear something new. I want to hear the musician's interpretation of a beloved song that everybody already knows, and that's what I tried to do with this piece. I tried to make it my own.
During the recording of this song the strangest thing happened to me. While I was singing, there's a part where I really belt out the chorus and I completely lost myself in the song. I don't even remember singing that part. I just remember almost waking from a dream and tears running down my face. My engineer and Dustin my husband were both shocked and silent. I got worried and asked if it was OK and they said, "Donít you dare touch a thing. It's perfect." I'm still dumbfounded at how it turned out.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Well I have to say Mary Black, Loreena Mckennitt, Sarah McLachlan, Joni Mitchell, Jewel, Tori Amos, Enya, Delerium, Milla Jovovich, Kate Bush, and Sarah Brightman. I feel they all sculpted a part of my sound and what I am today.
And who do you find yourself listening to all the time?
Lately I have been listening to Sarah Brightman's Dive album. I purchased it shortly after finishing my album as a treat to myself and I was surprised that my recording was very similar to hers. She was more experimental with this recording and a lot less pop/classical sounding. This recording sounds more New Agey. I also love Rhys Fulber's Conjure One. The singers he chose are exquisite and it's very ambient sounding. I also really like Anggun Snow on the Sahara, Hayley Westenra's Odysey and Pure recordings, Courtney Jayeís Traveling Light and Kate Bush's The Whole Story.
My husband and I both purchased iPods and I don't know what we did with out them. Since we travel often 10-14 hours at a time we like a variety of music. Dustin needs fast paced punky/metal music to keep him awake while he drives where as I like gentle pretty music while I make jewelry on my tray on my lap while he drives. He calls my music sleepy and I call his music harsh. So we put on our headphones on and smile lovingly at each other both in our own little worlds.
Tell us why you picked "Wuthering Heights" and describe your rendition of this hit.
I discovered Kate Bush at a Barnes and Noble bookstore. I sampled a few of her songs in the store and really liked her edgy sound. So I popped her CD in while we drove and my husband was a little skeptical at first because she has a very different and very unique sound. But when we got to the song "Wuthering Heights" he played it again and again. So by the fourth listen we were both singing the crazy song. Itís so unique and so corky, I love it! I also liked Hayley Westenraís take on her Pure album.
I chose to cover this song because I really like the classic novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and I loved the 1970 film version starring Timothy Dalton and Anna Calder-Marshall. Kate Bush's lyrics really relate to the classic story.
I was listening to Mediaeval Babes around the time I was recording this song and I loved the harmonies of that band. So I tried to capture a similar sound and in the chorus Kathy is already a ghost yelling out to Heathcliff so I tried to make the back up vocals sound more ghosty. I had the most fun singing and recording this song. It's my mother's favorite. She said it reminds her of a Tim Burton movie like it should be playing in the background of The Nightmare before Christmas, or Corpse Bride.
Why did you cover "May It Be" from Enya's vast repertoire? How would you say your version differs from Enya's?
I loved the Lord of The Rings trilogy. I think Peter Jackson did such a phenomenal job. I watched Fellowship of The Ring over and over. I thought the acting and cinematography was exquisite and Enya's song "May It Be" fit the movie perfectly. The song is such a beautiful melody full of hope through despair that the song really reached me. I thought it a perfect ending to my album sort of a farewell until next time sort of piece.
I didn't cover the song to make more money or become more popular because I'm very aware that so many musicians are covering this particular song right now. I chose the song because of its sweetness, hope, and peace.
When I was writing the musical background for this song I heard the melody in my head and just followed my heart. The vocal arrangement just came to me once the musical background was finished. I sang it how I pictured a mother would sing to her lost suffering children trying to give them hope and the music just poured out of me.
Tell us about the three tracks you wrote for this album. What was your inspiration?
I dedicated the song "Dance with the Stars" to my Aunt Nancy who is part Indian (Ojibwa). She passed away from cancer. She was a very spiritual person and we were very close. She was such a strong beautiful woman and I really looked up to her. I sang at her funeral and performed a song that she wrote. After the funeral Nancy's close friend pulled me aside and said, "Gabrielle, you have a gift that no one else can fill. You have the world in your hands." And since that moment this song began to unravel before me. When I was finally ready for this album the song was polished.
"The Fairy Realm" was really fun to do. I wrote the song on Friday the 13th and normally I am very suspicious about that particular day because so many strange things happen but the song begged to be written so I went ahead anyways. I was playing around on my Korg Triton when I came across a giggle sound effect. So I recorded it and than came across a water sound, than I found some nature sounds. What was really strange was my lyric papers kept flying around and falling and I kept seeing sparkles out of the corner of my eye so I think I may have had a wee bit of help on that song.
"A Mermaid She Was" was inspired by the Disney Movie A Little Mermaid. I was obsessed with that movie as a child and I probably watched it 100 times. So I sang the songs quite a bit. I use to sing "Part of Your World" to my Girl Scout troop but I had everyone turn around while I sang because I was really, really shy.
So when I was writing "Dance with the Stars" I had already written "Fairy Realm" and decided the album was turning into a fairy tale so why not add a mermaid song.
How did you choose the traditional tracks for the album?
I do a lot of Celtic, Scottish, and Renaissance fairs and it seems like "Skye Boat Song" is always requested. I've always loved this piece but I didnít realize the historical meaning of the song until I told my mother I was thinking of using this particular song on my album. She told me the sad tale of how Bonnie Prince Charlie a very young prince the true heir attempting to become King of Scotland in 1746 caused one of the bloodiest battles ever in Scotland known as "The Battle of Cullodenís Field" where most highlanders lost their lives to the English. Prince Charles nearly escaped and lived in Exile in France. So when I recorded this song I tried to sing the song as a lament through emotion because oftentimes people miss the lyrics of a song but they can relate to the melody.
I chose "He Moved through the Fair" because I've always enjoyed performing this song on my harp and I enjoy the tale. Diehard fans of the traditional version of this song might not like it because the original version is "She Moved Through the Fair" and it's really a man singing about a maiden he's in love with who turns out to be a ghost. I changed it a bit because I felt more connected to the song by picturing myself singing about my true love and it seemed to be more truthful by singing it that way.
I chose "Anachie Gordon" because I grew up listening to Mary Black sing her version of this ancient tale and she sang this heart wrenching song so beautifully. Loreena Mckennitt also did a stunning job performing this song. "Anachie Gordon" is one of my parents' favorite Celtic songs so when I told them I chose it for my album they were thrilled. I remember my engineer assistant saying, "Wow, this is such a beautiful song, but it's so sad. Does it get better? Do they end up together?" I sighed and laughed at the same time. I explained to him that this was a tragic tale similar to Romeo and Juliet and no they both die. Than he goes, "Oh, now I'm really depressed!" I repeated the intro at the end to give the song a little hope. I pictured her spirit looking down at him while she sang the ending and that's what I tried to capture.
Are there more Gabrielle Angelique originals out there?
Yes. I have about fourteen originals and I'm saving five of them for my Illumination CD but that album isn't ready yet. I haven't found all the songs for that album. I am thinking of re-doing Echo and adding three or four4 new originals to the mix.
Did anyone else work with you on this album?
I have four beloved keyboards. Two are workstations (Yamaha Motif ES8, and my Korg Triton 76 key Pro), and two are arrangers (Korg pa50, and my Yamaha PSR-550). I also have a Korg D1600 which is a digital recording mixer. I start with a basic melody with lyrics and map it out by chord progressions. I love my arrangers because it's like having a band at my fingertips. I sort through styles and sounds until I find the right one, I begin recording and the guitar, drums, bass, and strings follow my lead. The arranger is sort of the basic ingredient. Than comes the fun part. I listen back and in my head I hear a sound that would fit the accompaniment perfectly so I swivel to my workstation keyboards and start finding sounds to add element to each song. I layer each sound and sometimes they add up to 40 and 50 tracks!
Workstations are nice because you can internally record up to 16 tracks at a time so when I feel it's ready I send it to my D1600 mixer. So all the musical orchestration I get to do at home, and because it's all internal I don't have to worry about any unwanted noise filtering through. Recording voice and harp is tricky though so I really wanted to go to a professional studio for that and after browsing the internet I found the perfect place, "Fuzzy Slippers Studio." I don't have a soundproof studio, or any vocal processors or compressors or really cool recording equipment so I figured it best to leave that part to the professionals.
I'm glad I attended HTC recording program because it taught me how to record music and made it easier to talk with Brian my engineer, especially during mix down. That was probably the most fun because the pressure was off me to get a perfect take because I was already done! The mix down part felt like the final touches of a painting. You get to play with all sorts of sounds, echoes, and reverbs. Brian was really fun to work with and very accommodating to my mix down requests. Also, levels are really tricky. You want the listener to hear each instrument and sound effect but you don't want anything overpowering the vocals. Originally the harp was a lot louder so we pulled back the volume. I think on my next album I'll add a little more harp.
I can't say it was all me. I did write the arrangements, the musical orchestration, sang the choruses, played the harp, and got to call the shots but I did get a lot of outside help as well. If I wasn't sure of a certain take Iíd ask my engineer Brian Ricke and my husband Dustin for advice and they were both very helpful. I also ran a lot of things by my parents but all in all it came down to me and what I wanted and because I had the freedom and power to truly express myself in each song I wasn't afraid of letting go and I had no boundaries so I think that allowed the album to unfold the way it did. I gave each song my heart and soul.
What are you trying to connote with the title and imagery used in the album's artwork?
I wanted a dreamy, starry, fairytale looking album. I chose a really great photographer. Her name is Dawn Glesener. I explained that I wanted a Lord of the Rings effect and she really captured some great pictures. It's a little embarrassing at the shows when a customer picks up my new album and looks at me than looks back at the album and asks, "Is this you?" I suppose because I'm not glowing without shadows and I don't have an otherworldly look like the picture it's a little disappointing to some to realize that I am only human and I do look very ordinary in real life.
I'm also thrilled with my graphic artist Laurie Sugiarto. I sent her my gold master of the recording and asked her to design an enchanted fairy tale theme throughout the album and boy did she ever! She chose Arthur Rackman illustrations and blended them into the background of my lyrics. I wanted this album to be a work of art, so she placed fairies and mermaids and trees throughout the ten page foldout. I invested a lot of time and money into the print because I wanted people who purchased the CD to feel it was worth while and I wanted the art to reflect my music. I have to admit that when I am browsing a music store the album cover of a CD catches me first and than I listen. If I pick up a CD with a cheesy cover I think, "Well they must not have invested a lot of time in this project," and I put it back. So I wanted every part of this project to be special.
Do you perform live? If so, how has the audience response been?
I occasionally perform live on stage but it still terrifies me. I can't sleep the night before and I get knots in my stomach right before I go on stage. I have to take deep breaths and close my eyes. It's such a strange phenomenon. As soon as I walk on stage I feel as though everything is in slow motion. The audience becomes silent and I can hear my breathing. I start speaking in the microphone and it echoes back to me through the speakers and I think, "Is this really me talking to all these people?"
By my second or third song I begin to relax. I usually start with a solo harp song and when I'm ready I switch to a ballad with my harp and by about the third song I play a musical orchestrated song that's pre-recorded and I play along with my harp and sing live. I have always had a great experience with my audience. I've had a few standing ovations at a few concerts. I get really embarrassed and thankful when that happens.
I love it when people approach me after my performance and often times they tell me their story and how one of my songs reminded them of that moment. Many people who approach me end up in tears because it's a sad story and they need a hug and than we're both teary-eyed.
How do you feel when you are performing in front of an audience?
All my senses are heightened on stage. I think that I'm more articulate and maybe a bit more ethereal on stage. I also try to connect with the audience. I look at each one and silently thank them for their presence and that seems to calm me down. I try to treat most people like family and friends rather than a mass of people I don't know.
I'm still very shy on stage. When I'm performing a song I'm out of my shell and singing my heart out but as soon as the song ends I curl back in my shell and peek out while talking to the audience.
How would you characterize your audience?
The majority of my audience is usually Yanni, Enya, Sarah Brightman, Celtic fans. The age group is young and old. Because the harp is such a soothing instrument many people are attracted to it and are searching for peace in their lives, and that's what I try to do with my music.
I've had a lot of babies born to my CD Light and I've had a lot of people pass on in hospices to Light.
I also have a lot of artists from the shows who create to my music so that's really uplifting. I have noticed that ever since Dance with the Stars has been released more and more young girls and teenagers have been purchasing my CD.
It's inspiring to know that my album is being played by young women because that's how I got inspired to write my music when I was young.
Whatís your fan mail like?
I love getting fan mail. Now that e-mail is so popular it's mostly just e-mails but I still prefer the hand written kind. The most touching letters are when children draw a picture of me with my harp and write a sweet letter thanking me for my music. Iíve also had some very moving letters about Echo. One was a teenager in the middle of a divorce and she said she listens to Angel Answer Me everyday. I had a young girl who wanted to become a harpist someday and told me her favorite album was Light. I've also had a lot of fan mail for Celtic Twilight and "Ancient Souls."
I appreciate every letter that is sent to me but my favorites are stories when fans tell me a little bit about themselves. I had a loyal customer stop by my booth this year and told me she plays my harp CDs all the time and loves our jewelry. She recently lost both her legs in a car accident by a drunk driver. While she visited me she told me she was never angry with God for changing her life so drastically but she wondered why it happened sometimes. She is a teacher who works with disability children who need special care. Well one of her students who was also in a wheelchair was having problems in school and didn't have many friends, but when he saw how much she pushed herself and accomplished so many things he really branched out to her and because she stayed so optimistic through her tragedy she gave a lot of hope to that boy and now he has friends. She found other students reaching out and now her classroom is like a family to her. She told me she now feels that she can relate to each student so much better because she knows exactly what they're going through and she feels she makes a bigger impact in their lives. So after a great big hug from her I donated a bunch of my new CD and she'll be giving them away during class games.
It's stories like that which make you reflect on your own life and make you thankful for each and every day because life is so incredibly precious and fragile.
What inspires you when youíre making and writing music?
In my studio I have a large glicee print of the "Lady of Shalot" by John William Waterhouse, among other beautiful paintings. I also have some exquisite fairy and mermaid handcrafted sculptured dolls. The fairies hang from my ceiling and the mermaids hang out on my speakers.
I have tapestries of deep red, wine, gold, and burgundy that I drape over each keyboard and my mixer. I also have a hand sculpted miniature castle that looks like the Neuschwanstein Castle.
My studio looks very enchanting and whenever I walk by it pulls me in. So definitely the environment of my studio helps. What's interesting is the woman who created the dolls and mermaids that are in my studio creates her work by listening to my music, and I look at her beautiful work and get inspired to create my music.
Also a movie sometimes will inspire me if it's really moving. Being outdoors helps to. Sometimes I just need to get away and in to nature to tap into creativity. And lastly I am an avid reader. I am addicted to fantasy novels. While I'm stuck in a story I reflect on it throughout the day and often times that sparks a melody.
What experiences do you draw on when creating the lyrics?
Sometimes a song is written because of something that happened to me personally but often times the lyrics just happen. A melody starts to haunt me and I better run in my studio to record it or write it down. Once I have the melody solid enough the lyrics begin to follow. I also have a thesaurus which is very helpful if I canít find the right word but want to keep the meaning of the phrase that I've chosen. For a while my songs came upon me randomly like in the middle of the night but now they seem to wait until Iím ready.
Where do you think youíll take your music in the future?
I am in the discussion stage right now to book some private concerts for the fall but right now I'm so busy with the shows I'm not sure what my immediate future will be. I would love to develop a theatrical concert with a Cirque du Soleil atmosphere. I also love Yanni and Sarah Brightman concerts so I would love to develop a stage presence like that with lighting and back up singers and gloriouse costumes. But first I would have to conquer my stage fright! I do have my eye on an electric harp specifically a David Kortier electric harp. He builds little transducer microphones into the sound board for each string so each note rings pure and true.
I would like to come out with three more album and music books and maybe book ten private concerts--separate from the art shows--a year. I think harp will always be a part of my repertoire but the focus will be on my voice. I feel harp gives me a little uniqueness otherwise I'm just another blond singer in the world of entertainment, and whatís the fun in that? Graham Way gave me the best advice ever. He said, "Find your style and find you voice." I feel like I have done just that.
In addition to music, what other interests are you pursuing?
Well my mother and I are both jewelry designers and now we are in the discussion stage of developing a clothes line. I really like whimsical lacey colorful looking fabrics. I really like Spencer Alexi's clothes. So right now we are in the sketching phase.
I also love to write. I'm working on a music book for Dance with the Stars and adding cliff notes for each song. I've already had quite a few performers approach me about covering some of the songs on my album which is very exciting. I'm thinking of having a disc adjoined to the book containing all the tracks of the songs but without vocals for those musicians who are solo but would like to use my tracks to perform live. Some artists are so protective of their music but I would rather have my songs be performed by many musicians and spread to people I can't reach. I donít want my songs to die with me I'd rather they live on.
I also love to paint and draw. I bought a sketchpad so when we travel I'm able sketch ideas of things I'd eventually like to paint.
My husband and I are also talking about a recording label for indie artists. A place sort of like a record store but more in the musicians favor.
And lastly, I've been collecting fine art and fine craft from all over the country because I would like to start an online store that is linked to my website, so people can purchase from my favorite artists. Hopefully that online shop will be ready by January or earlier.
Do you think music can become a full time career?
Absolutley! If you're driven enough and know the proper outlets for your music than you have potential. I highly recommend David Wimbleís 27th edition of The Indie Bible for artists who aren't signed or don't have a manger. Managers and labels are great for someone who doesn't have lots of money or doesnít know where to start because those professionals do have all the contacts and know where to plug your music.
It's exhausting sometimes having to where all the different professional hats but on the flip side you get to own all your music. I get to call my own shots, choose my own look and style, and I get to choose who I want to work with. You have a lot of freedom being your own boss and in todayís world there are so many outlets and resources catered to unique indie musicians. Most managers want you to sign a five year contract and I've had to turn down a few because five years is a very long time.
But I do recommend a label and manager if you really want to be famous and you're willing to do what other people tell you to do. Also they're not all bad. Some labels truly love their artists and do what they can to support them and encourage them to grow and create and then it's a win win.
How is your husband involved with your music?
We are two peas in a pod. He is absolutely wonderful and completely supportive of my music. He often helps me pick out songs to sing and when I'm in the studio he comes with to lend me moral support and to give advice when asked. Heís also extremely creative and has really good advertising skills. He's my web designer and he's always drumming up new ideas on where to sell my music. He also designed a collectible playing card size advertisement that advertises my new album with a free song download. We slip it in every bag at the shows whether they bought music or jewelry and now I have ten times the visitors to my website since the card was created. I love that he thinks outside the box.
How has the internet influenced your career?
My website allows customers to know where I'll be next so they can come visit me at the shows or if they weren't able to buy my CD at the show they're able to purchase it online. So my sales have gone up by having the availability of purchasing online.
I'm continuously researching new ways to express my music through the internet because the future of music seems to be moving from a physical product to more of an intellectual product. Through the internet there are ways to reach millions of people rather than thousands. We're seeing a shift from a localized market to a global market.
Do you think there's any value in MySpace or is it just a bunch of hype?
I think it's a great way to stay in touch with fans, friends, and family and it's also a way to express yourself. It's also more affordable for people who donít have the time or money for a full blown website and it also allows fans to be more interactive with the artist.
What are your hopes and dreams for the next twelve months?
I want to finish my music book Dance with the Stars because I'd like other musicians to be able to cover the songs. I'm also tidying up my songs for my next album and getting ready to record. I've already started recording the musical background to two of my songs but it's difficult because we have a show practically every weekend. But soon enough I'll have some time off and than I can throw myself into the project. I'm also donating money from each sale to charities so I want to sell lots and lots of CD's so I can keep donating to my favorite charities. I always wanted to help heal the world through music and now I've found a way to help.
Is there anything you'd like to say to an aspiring musician who may be reading this interview?
I would like to say never give up on your passion. Give each song your heart and soul like it would be your last song you could ever perform and always be humble towards the people who help you along the way. Always believe in your talents and ignore jealousy or people afraid of what you might become, and donít be afraid to shine with your true potential. And don't perform your music for fame or fortune do your music because you love it and it's in your blood and everything else shall fall into place. And treasure precious moments along the way because it's all about the journey not the destination. Good luck!
Cheerio, Gabrielle Angelique
Gabrielle Angelique's third album, Dance With The Stars (Harpstone Music (USA) 7 98576 39222, 2006) is a ten track collection of original songs and the artist's own interpretation of traditional tunes and popular material originally recorded by Enya, Kate Bush and The Rolling Stones. The album has a total running time of just over and hour and is accompanied by a lovely and well illustrated ten page booklet. Gabrielle performs all of the material on the album and contributes harp, keyboard and performs all of the lead and harmony vocals. Gabrielle has also released an EP of the same title with three tracks taken from the album. The project is a significant step up for the artist but builds on her earlier work in Echo and Light. And yes, there is even a track reminscent of "Ancient Souls."
Gabrielle selected a range of diverse material for the album. She covers Enya's "May It Be" which has been popularized by other artists as well. Gabrielle's treatment with harp and sensitively sung lyrics and further unique light accompaniment provides an excellent closing for the album. Her interpretation of "Wild Horses" differs from the Charlotte Martin and Sundays versions in arrangement and is vocally delivered with uncompromising sensitivity. Her version of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" is dramatically performed atop her own arrangements, styled richly and disticntly different from Hayley Westenra and Pat Benetar and Kate Bush's original. Listeners will likely also enjoy Gabrielle's vocals and harp-based arrangement in the country-influenced "The Greatest Love".
The three traditional songs have been richly arranged on Gabrielle's album and demonstrate growth in her vocal prowess. "Skye Boat Song," is sung atop light keyboards as is "He Moved Through The Fair," to the tune of one of the most popularly performed traditional songs. Listen for the rich keyboard textures Gabrielle has added to the arrangement. The light string-based arrangement of "Anachie Gordon" includes warm keyboard washes that perfectly support Gabrielle's crystalline vocal textures.
The title track is a lushly arranged original piece that runs over seven minutes. Reminscent in construction and vocal performance of Loreena McKennitt, "Dance With The Stars," is a tremendous introduction to Gabrielle Angelique's newest work. Sensitively delivered vocals glide above the rich arrangements. Enthusiasts of Gabrielle's performance on "Ancient Souls" will be delighted with "Fairy Realm," a Gabrielle Angelique original that captures the excitement, upbeat Celtic-oriented percussion and vocal power of the artist. Lush harmonies contribute to a memorable chorus. The evocative and long-playing ballad "A Mermaid She Was" includes atmospheric soundscapes, light instrumentation and a delicately delivered vocal line.
Gabrielle's CDs are available at her website, online outlets, and at personal appearances. The artist continues to demonstrate significant talent and professional growth and has a promising future. Although the collection has no apparent central theme, her new album offers a diverse collection of freshly recorded material with tracks certain to delight a broad range of audiences. Hopefully we won't wait as long for her next release!
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