ARTS AND FEATURES — 01 November 2013

By David Hennessy

Now that November is here, and although it may flood with rain, The Irish World caught up with Gabrielle Aplin as she headlines her first UK tour…

“This is the first headline tour I’ve done since I released the album so it’s gonna be good to see which ones are people’s favourites,” Gabrielle tells the Irish World. She has long been talked about as the next big thing and was nominated for MTV’s Brand New for 2013. And as the year draws to a close, Gabrielle Aplin has certainly lived up to expectations with her debut album English Rain going to number two in the UK as well as charting well around the world.

Gabrielle came to many people’s attention around this time last year when her beautiful cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s The Power of Love featured on the John Lewis Christmas adverts. The single went to number one and subsequent singles Please Don’t Say You Love Me and Panic Cord have reached the top 20 and added to the album’s success.

The singer has just celebrated her 21st birthday last month. Was it a particularly satisfying party after the successful year it had been? “Yeah, it was amazing. I wasn’t gonna do much but I had a gig in a brewery on the night before my birthday, so that was sorted, so I had all my friends up and we just had a very happy time. It was amazing. It was great to celebrate everything.”

Gabrielle is in Amsterdam supporting John Mayer when The Irish World catch up with her. This comes just ahead of her UK tour which begins at O2 Academy, Newcastle on October 29. The summer has seen her playing many of the country’s big festivals: “I think Glastonbury was probably a highlight for me. It was my local festival and it’s just one of those amazing festivals that I’ve always wanted to play. I played the same stage two years ago and I opened the stage and I penultimately headlined it this year so it was amazing to see the same place but with just more people and more family and friends. It was just a great day and it was great to see the progression of the last two years really.”

Gabrielle’s latest single Home was chosen to accompany the adverts for the recent biopic, Diana: “Yeah, I haven’t seen that yet. I am a bit crazy when it comes to the Royal Family, I quite like the whole thing. I love the queen. I’d love to meet the queen. I think she’s hilarious. I reckon she’s got a great sense of humour. I’d love to have a glass of wine with her,” she laughs.

“Luckily, it’s just on the trailer. I didn’t want to get too involved with it because I hadn’t seen the film at the point that they asked me to do that on the trailer. I think when it’s a film based on someone as important as Princess Diana, if it wasn’t a great film or it wasn’t made correctly or anything, it could be quite negative. I didn’t want to be involved with anything that I wasn’t 100 per cent sure was perfect so it was great that I was able to be on the ads for it but not in the film.”

This proves to be a good choice given the film’s reception. Her music has been a popular choice for many soundtracks in the last year but Gabrielle herself doesn’t always get to see these programmes: “I haven’t got a TV so I don’t even know. I should get one really, shouldn’t I? It’s a nice compliment really and it’s always on such a wide variety of things like dramas or adverts or reality TV. It’s on so many different things so it’s great that they think it can go across all these different genres.”

Hudson Taylor, the duo which includes Gabrielle’s boyfriend Alfie (left) and Harry

Gabrielle’s boyfriend Alfie is one half of Irish sibling duo, Hudson Taylor. Gabrielle herself has Irish roots and says she could be a “tour guide” she spends so much time over there. On Hudson Taylor, she reveals “they’re recording an album at the moment. It’s going to be very special, I think. And they’ve just released a single so it’s all very exciting for them. I’m very excited about their project.”

Are the song writing couple always the first to hear each other’s material? “Yeah, I guess so. He’s usually the first to hear mine and I’m always around when they’re writing so I kind of hear it in the very early stages. We write a lot together as well so it’s very cool.”

Has her now elevated profile had any drawbacks for Gabrielle such as over the top fans or Twitter trolls? “I’m actually incredibly lucky. I’m able to tour and sell albums and live just doing music just for my job, which is incredible, but I’m still able to walk down the street and go into Waitrose and do my shopping and all these different things so it’s a nice balance. I don’t think I’d like it any other way really. Now and again I get recognised but it’s not weird. It’s not like I’m Harry Styles or something.”

Gabrielle Aplin is currently touring the UK. For more information, go to: http://www.gabrielleaplin.co.uk/.

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