With a new single and a new image, Gabriella Cilmi is a one-woman mission
The Independent Music Magazine uncovers a softer more vulnerable side to the 18 year old Australian
Wednesday 27 January 2010
Gabriella is hoping to top her last successful record at 16 ‘Nothing Sweet about Me’ selling 2 million copies. At such a young age with already such remarkable achievement, this Saturday night fever fan enters into a new chapter planning to take over disco and even the ‘world’...
Let’s take a look at the beginning of your stardom journey, or mission if you prefer, how did it all begin?
I started at 13 I was signed to Island Records here in the UK. I wouldn’t say singing was something I knew I wanted to do from an early age. I started playing piano but my teacher told me to burn my books as I had no musicality which was appreciated at eight years old! I went on to sing more and at around twelve I joined a band with some older boys next door. We were inspired by artists like Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin, I thought I was totally cool.
There has been this rapid persona change from the playful innocent girl shown in ‘nothing sweet about me’ to this strong sexy female in your new single. What is this change all about it seems a bit sudden even forced?
Well I think all my favourite artists have evolved and changed, I wanted to change the sound of my music, which went hand in hand with an image change, it’s not forced. I am so much older, I don’t feel completely and totally different but I know what to expect this time around. I come from an Italian household where everyone says exactly what they think, and I have become better at just that! Partly due to my mum’s breast cancer, I see how courage and maturity gets you through.
Physically and emotionally you have changed, but musically where is the change most visible?
It’s tackling different subject matter now lyrically. My first single was tongue and cheek and fun, my new album is more serious. It is inspired by disco which is kind of the genre I am heading into. One of my band mates gave me a Donna Summer album Four Seasons of Love. I listened to it and thought wow there are so many different sounds that I want to try. That album opened my mind. I want to reach a new audience but at the same time I don’t want to alienate my old fans, because the one similarity that disco music has in common with my old track is the soulfulness.
Is your new material written solely by you?
No it’s co- written, it’s collaborative
Do you think your younger female fans that watch your video and see you being overtly sexy but still stressing the importance of independence may feel confused?
Look at Destiny’s Child they where so successful because they show that you can be sexy but at the same time a strong woman in control. I think my message is balanced, I hope to be a good role model.
You have a futuristic disco-tastic sci-fi themed video for you new single. Was this a metaphor for your mission/ life journey, or for other reasons?
Yes it is to highlight my journey but more so it was inspired by Barbarella. I watched it with my Granma the first time and was like what in God's name, I loved it. So I have always had a weird fantasy to create a video like that, it’s edgy but fun.
Keeping with the futuristic theme, if you could create your own uber-cool spaceship what would it look like, what would it be called and what would be your mission?
(laughs) That’s a cool question… I would call it the Cilmi machine. It would have special powers to freeze people. I would use it on uptight people to chill them out, get it? (laughs). My mission would be to be president and take over the world.
Oh, only a small mission then! Talking of presidents, Obama has a Twitter page, did you know?
No way! that’s hilarious.
I have also been stalking you on there; yes I have joined this new craze of cyber stalking. Do you have time out from your hectic one woman mission? (Which in the space of one minute has moved from music to taking over the world)
(laughs) I know ambitious, oh my god I love Disney movies, my favourite is Pocahontas, I love the soundtrack. I make time to relax; I have a Nintendo DS which I am always on. Oh, I would love to stalk Paulo Nutini!
Do you think in the future musically that your new found feisty persona will take a back seat to allow a more vulnerable side to appear, maybe something like a Beyonce alter- ego?
A softer side does appear on my new album, there is one track called Defender, which is about looking after yourself and fighting for what you believe in. As for the alter ego I don’t think I want too many of me, I may turn mental if I tried.
What’s the most played track on your album?
(Laughs) probably something like Shaggy…
Who would you like to work with in the future?
I would love to collaborate with Eminem; I like his work with Dido. I like how he tells stories.
From being thirteen when you first signed your record contract to ‘Nothing Sweet About Me’ at sixteen, to the present day standing as a strong female at eighteen, what is the most vivid and overwhelming experience you have had?
Playing on Later with Jools Holland just after my sixteenth birthday, best present ever! Also playing main stage Glastonbury, amazing! I am so clumsy - there are some embarrassing memories, I nearly knocked out Lemar on the red carpet at Brits choice awards, oh and I slammed right into JLS’s Aston the small one, head first...so that was fun.
Well I wish you the best of luck on your one woman mission in your Cilmi spaceship; I just hope it’s a smooth landing!
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