What did you do in your teens then folks?
For Birmingham’s Gabriella Jones her answer could include impressing crowds at festivals such as Wireless, Isle Of Wight Festival and Hard Rock Calling, as well as playing support slots for Beyonce, Bryan Adams, Jay-Z, Pink, Bon Jovi and Roxy Music!
We caught up with Gabriella at the end of 2013 as she released her latest track, Losing My Baby, to find out where she’s come from and where she’s hopefully going next….
BL – Many of the articles written about you concentrate on your age. At 19 do you think you’re finally getting to a point where the music becomes more of the focus?
GJ – A lot of young artists do use their age as a selling point but, unless your like Adele where you’re naming albums after your age at the time, you don’t really find out how old they are. I think I’m holding on to my last teen year and then I’ll have to start acting like a grown up!
BL – After playing so many impressive gigs, is it difficult to going back to playing the smaller club gigs again?
GJ – It’s been good cos I’ve always done a mix. I literally went from doing open mic gigs when I was 13 or 14 to being invited to play the Wireless Festival after I played at a family bar-b-q where there were a lot of other musicians just jamming away and this guy was saying “I’ll get you on at Hyde Park” but I didn’t really know what that meant until after my GCSEs when he asked if I wanted to play before Jay-Z! It was really weird but really exciting. And in between I’d be playing local gigs in Birmingham at venues like the Jam House or the Asylum.
BL – Do you play some covers when you play live?
GJ – Yeah, a couple. I do Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters and Rihanna’s Rude Boy. I think when I say I’m gonna play a Metallica song everyone’s expecting something like Enter Sandman but I love playing that one live. It’s a real emotional one. And then Rihanna for the Grans!
BL – So, are you touring to promote this new single?
GJ – Yeah I’d love to get some tour dates together soon, especially now with having the band. I’ve got five tracks that have been produced by John McLaughlin who’s worked with Echo & The Bunnymen and people like that and I’m looking to get a full album together and a video for Losing My Baby. I started writing songs when I was about nine and I’ve got 50 or 60 now so it’s just having to narrow them down to the ones that are still relevant now. I’m not gonna keep singing about the guy on the bus! There are still some old tracks that are quite basic but often they’re the ones that people remember.
BL – The songs that you wrote acoustically as a solo artist, has it been easy to take that towards something that now includes the full band?
GJ – Yeah, I think when I’m writing the songs I’m imagining it as a full band anyway and we click quite well so they know what I’m going for, which is really lucky. IF they’re not sure, we just reference old Free and Zeppelin and we go with that.
BL – Is that classic 70s rock something you grew up listening to?
GJ – MY Dad was always paying Black Dog around the house and I love Paul Rogers’ voice. We saw him not long ago and he still sounds amazing. A lot of my friends don’t know any of that music so I’m also bringing in some of the poppier R&B stuff that’s around today. There aren’t that many girls playing electric guitar so we need to show the boys how it’s done!
BL – Of the newer bands, what have you been listening to recently?
GJ – I love Paramore. I think they’ve got me through my teen years. And I do like your Beyonces and Christinas; those powerful female voices.
BL – If you could choose an artist to open for now and you think their fans would be into what you do, who would you choose?
GJ – I think maybe Joe Bonamassa. He does a lot of pop music but mixed with the blues. so maybe someone like that or John Mayer. But then I’m also inclined to say Katy Perry.
BL – So the new single’s just come out. What’s next?
GJ – A lot of radio and getting the music out to as many people as possible. And then a gig at the Jam House, hopefully with Ben Drummond who’s been so important to everything I’ve done. I met him when I was walking my dog who’s called Hendrix and we got chatting. He helped get me into the Jam House and has played bass on my songs before. Then hopefully I’d like to do some festivals with the band. I’d love to play Glastonbury.
Looking at what she’s accomplished before she hits her twenties, only a fool would underestimate Gabriella Jones.
Words & photos – Steve Gerrard