Meet Gabrielle Aplin - the 20-year-old unsigned YouTube star whose haunting voice appears on John Lewis' Christmas advert

 

Until today, indie-folk singer Gabrielle Aplin’s fame has been limited to her army of YouTube fans. Now she is being tipped for the Christmas number one after her haunting version of The Power Of Love was chosen by John Lewis to soundtrack its blockbuster Christmas advertising campaign.

“It’s like winning the X Factor,” said Aplin, 20, after she landed a slot which is now one of the most sought after in the music industry – the musical accompaniment to a Christmas television campaign which has become more talked-about than the programmes surrounding it.

The Bath singer-songwriter’s version of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s 1984 chart-topper will be given its premiere on Channel 4 tonight. The song accompanies a heart-melting 90-second John Lewis advert following a snowman’s magical journey to find the perfect gift for his wife.

Last year, the John Lewis campaign turned The Smiths’ Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want, interpreted by Slow Moving Millie, into a mournful, surprise hit.

Aplin, who set up a DIY record label aged 17 to release her own songs and notched up 2.5 million YouTube views for her single Home, actively lobbied John Lewis to sing this year’s song.

“I always looked forward to the adverts and I’ve been pestering them for a long time to cover a song,” she told the Independent. “I think they went through every female singer-songwriter in the country to find the right person. I can’t believe it’s actually happened. It potentially could be number one - but I don’t expect it to.”

Her good fortune placed Aplin in a dilemma. The Power Of Love will be rush-released tomorrow, forcing Aplin to cancel her first single for EMI’s Parlophone label, which was due next week.

She took to Twitter and Facebook to apologise to her loyal fans, telling them “sometimes I have to do things I dont want to do and make hard choices.”

“I had to let my fans know,” she said. “I was scared a lot of people would get annoyed and cancel their pre-orders for the single but fortunately everyone has said they are very happy for me.”

Aplin, who cites Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell as musical inspirations, hopes that she isn’t seen as a “sell-out”. With music sales in decline, advertisements are an important income stream for musicians and Aplin would like to see her own songs used next in a BT campaign and on film soundtracks.

However she won’t be glued to the television when her advert premieres tonight (Friday). “I don’t have a TV so I’ll be watching it online,” she said. “Maybe I’ll Face Time my mum when she’s watching it. It’s very exciting.”

The self-taught pianist, who says she normally shuns the “industry madness”, will be whisked to Radio 1 tomorrow to talk about the single. She hopes her version doesn’t disappoint grown-up 80s pop fans, a demographic John Lewis consistently targets. “I don’t want to annoy all the hardcore Frankie fans because it’s a classic song. Hopefully I’ve made it my own.”

Aplin, who begins a UK tour at The Wardrobe in Leeds next week, may soon find herself filling bigger venues. She promises fans who ordered her intended next single, Please Don’t Say You Love Me, that they will receive it as an anti-Valentine message, in February.

Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam