Interview with Gabrielle Wortman

With training in blues guitar, classical piano, and gospel singing, Gabrielle Wortman’s extensive musical education is nothing short of a unique combination. This unique combination, however, has earned her a 2009 Los Angeles Music Award nomination for her debut album, provided her with thousands of fans across the country, and allows her to continue recording and performing. Described as “haunting and captivating”, Gabrielle Wortman is one that “stands out in the LA music scene.”  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Gabrielle about her music and her upcoming third album.

Mike Gencarelli: How you always wanted to pursue a career in music?
Gabrielle Wortman: Actually I have been always pressing a career in music.  I have been a classically trained pianist from the age of kindergarten.  If it wasn’t song writing, it was classical piano.  There was some gospel singing in there and some blues guitar as well.  I have a heavy background in musical education.  It wasn’t until middle school and high school that I really started writing songs.  I found that my own music and song writing career was really where my passion lied.

MG: What is your process when you sit down to write a song?
GW: Usually, the best songs are born in five minutes.  I kind of hear music in my head all the time.  For example, right now as we speak there is a construction site behind my apartment and when I hear the jack hammer, I can start to hear a beat.  I either have the emotion already or I have the melody and then I try to make the other sound like what you already have.  If I want to write a song about heartbreak then I want my piano to sound like its heart is breaking.  You try and keep everything really pure and in the same veins so it is a coherent song.

MG: What is your main inspiration for your music? Favorite artists?
GW: I really have an eclectic taste in music and combined with my music background is what creates my sound.  It is like an original fusion of different genres.  I have been really influenced by my classical piano background.  There is elements of Tori Amos in the way I play the piano.  Then I was also influenced by gospel singing and that shows in my vocal training.  All of my voice lines are very soulful and sensual and they have that southern kind of blues feel.  Then I grew up addicted to Radiohead and I love the way they do their drum tracks.  I have been very experimental with percussion.  I think the fusion with those three types of genres is really where I get my sound from.

MG: Tell us about your latest EP, “The Voodoo”?
I wrote it inspired by New Orleans.  It is so hard not to walk down the streets of New Orleans and soak up the flavor and the music.  It feels so haunted and heavy.  I wanted to release a two song EP, so that my fans could see the direction that my style was going in.  That is really what drew the two songs that I did.  The rest of my next album is going to be in the same vein.  The Voodoo EP kind of ended up being like a sneak peek on what is to come.

MG: Did you enjoy doing the music video for “Don’t Let Me Lose Control”?
GW: Oh my God, yes!  I did it with a really good friend of mine, who is also a great filmmaker.  I told him I had a deadline and needed to make a music video.  I think he saw it as a very pretty music video and we would go in the singer/songwriter vein where the girl looks really beautiful.  I told him “No, no, no”.  I wanted to it be kind of creepy and dark.  The whole song is about the dark side of love.  Everybody always writes about the happy side of falling in love.  There is a darker side, it is called angst, worry and unrequitedness.  I wanted that tension captured in the video too.  So we actually broke into an abandon insane asylum out here in LA.  There was no way for that music video shoot to be less glamorous.  I had glass embedded in my feet for a week after we shot that thing [laughs].  Honestly, it was so much fun and we pushed all of the limits.  It was a visual masterpiece.

MG: What do you like most about signing to a crowd?
GW: I actually just had a debate with my friend who is a musician.  For me playing live is literally the most important thing about my music career.  I can write a song, record it and put it on a album and sell it to a fan.  That fan is going to take that song, listen to it and experience by themselves.  But when I can play in front of a crowd.   I am actually experiencing my songs with my fans.  That is why I think it is such a precious bond between the artist and their fans.   That is the most powerful way to connect to somebody through music.  Honestly it is what I live for and it is definitely my favorite part of being a musician.  I have pretty have high standards for our live shows.  We are perfectionists and we rehearse and work so hard to deliver a good live show.  I think that live shows tend to get neglected nowadays but it should because it is the most important part in anyone’s music career.

MG: What can we expect might? Are you working on a full album?
GW: Yes actually all of the song for the next album are completely done.  We just need to record them.  So expect a new album in the next six months, I would say.  We are really excited about the new material, it is the best I have ever written.  We have been hearing some wonderful things about it.  So, expect a tour in the next year and then the new album in the next six months.

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