Name: April Rose Gabrielli
Occupation: Singer, pianist, songwriter
Current release: April Rose Gabrielli's new single "Bad Habit (Don’t Make Me Bad)" is out now.
Recommendations: Ebony Stewart’s ‘Bloodfresh’ & Rudy Fransicso’s ‘I’ll Fly Away
If you enjoyed this interview with April Rose Gabrielli and would like to know more, visit her official website. She is also on Facebook, Instagram, and twitter.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started playing piano and singing music at about four years old and by about twelve I was writing my first songs and producing them on my laptop!
My mom taught me all of the basics on piano and coached me on my singing! I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I was drawn to music as I cannot remember a conscious moment that I did not love it.
Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?
When I listen I see and feel different colors throughout the songs.
I gravitate toward more lyric driven, dramatic and emotional music, so that’s the same kind of music that I like to make.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
My personal voice has always been pretty clear in my mind, being able to assert my thoughts and feelings to others is a different story.
I’m learning bit by bit that asserting my thoughts and feelings in an honest way (whether it be in business or creativity) is immensely important to your success. Tell them how you feel.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
I’ve always felt like an outsider or an “other” in terms of identity. In that sense I feel a little picky with my creative and personal interests and on the flip side feel really out of the loop with the rest of the world.
At this point, I just make music to feel better and hope people like whey they here.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
I still see myself as a wandering twelve year old girl who needs an outlet instead of screaming or hitting other children. Except now having an outlet is my full time gig. Kind of like a wall.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I think it’s all pretty illusive and time sensitive in terms of what matters, what’s original and what’s innovative when it comes to creating art.
I think the only timelessness and tradition that still exists in all music is that it makes us feel something or aims to when being created. I’m just interested in making something I feel good about - as long as I commit to that mantra in that moment I feel that i can both continue a tradition and make music of the future.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
Friends and family are great tools. I also love my first upright piano, a brown Wurlitzer from 1958 - out of tune, wrote songs on it for almost twenty years and it’s just got this feel I cannot find anywhere else. Brings me back to that central “why” of creating.
In terms of DAWs I love logic and I over use Mellotron. I don’t know if any of it is promising but that’s how I do it!
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
I wake up, take my epilepsy pills and vitamins, take my dog out, work out / run and / or get a shower, then get some coffee and breakfast, start working (writing, producing or communicating with my team) - break for lunch, work more until dinner, make dinner when I have the time, take more epilepsy pills and vitamins, then wind down or work more until I get sleepy.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
I did my first live show in about two years in July of 2021 at the Bitter End in NYC to celebrate the release of my first single “Do You?”
This was my first show since COVID cancelled events and the first show I had done after my epilepsy diagnosis. I was in the hospital a week before with some seizure complications and the night somehow went smoothly. Great sound, family, friends and supporters cheering me on and here I was playing 12 new songs no one has ever heard live before.
Prior to that moment I took performing for granted. This changed the importance entirely. I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to be on a stage again.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
I prefer writing alone, producing alone and then once my vision is mostly there - I hand it off to my creative partner KULICK to reign it in and elevate it. I trust him entirely with my songs and sound. There are only a handful of artists I connect with, trust and see eye to eye with.
I also love writing and brainstorming with my family. My mom and I have written a handful of songs, my brother is an incredible writer and producer and my dad has a really unique outlook on life. He comes up with some great one liners I use from time to time.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I never know how my work relates until other people listen and tell me their perspective of it. Like I said, I kind of feel like an outsider. But maybe one role of music is to help bring the outsiders in a little bit.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
Music has definitely helped me reminisce and process a lot of my past while listening. More often, I need silence to really come to terms with the heavy stuff.
Music can come after, I go through phases and breaks with listening deeply.
There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Nothing is rational about making music.
I also think science is less streamline and technical than we assume it to be. We know next to nothing about the human body, all while we know so much. Maybe technology can help bridge some efficiency gaps when recording music and following some patterns in song structure.
But other than that I’m no expert in either so I can’t confidently say what they might reveal.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
Some days I make better coffee than songs. A lot of life is creative and improvisation, which people divert to artists as the experts but, if you watch a mother of five get all her kids to school on time … that requires a level of creativity and innate skill that many do not possess.
I suppose the difference in the mundane and musical expression is that it is more orchestrated, you can choose your words carefully and you get to relive the emotion every time you listen to the song you made - it requires us to be more present. In the mundane activities we are often on autopilot.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
I don’t have an explanation, but it makes more sense when saying “music makes me feel something” as it is a physical vibration. Everyone’s state of being is as similar as it is different.