Gabrielle in Abu Dhabi

Soulful pop stalwart Gabrielle is in the capital this week

Interview

How has the industry changed since you were topping the charts in the early ’90s?
Oh my God! I think it’s barely recognisable now. It’s downloads and iTunes and stuff like that, whereas in my day it was all records and CDs. I know we all have to move on and I’ve had to be dragged kicking and screaming into this whole thing, but it’s cool!

Has the way you make music changed?
No, I still make music the same way, but you have to think about how you promote it now. It used to be just TV; now you’re doing podcasts and people say you’ve got to get on Twitter if you want to let people know about stuff. And I’m like, ‘Me? Twit? I am not a Twit!’ It’s just not my bag. But it’s something I now apparently have to do, so I’ll go with the flow. It probably won’t be me; I’ll have a Twitter ghost writer. I’m a mum! There’s not enough hours in the day for me. You can tell I’m a biddy now, can’t you?

Any plans to collaborate with any of today’s chart-toppers?
Honey, I think they’ve got a world of artists they’d go to before they'd consider me! I’m just doing my own thing and just being excited by what’s happening out there. So collaborating is probably not for me right now.

What’s the latest news on your new album?
I’m currently writing material for it. But I can’t see it happening before the end of next year. I take a long time, I know. But it’ll be a journey and I’m really excited about it.

Are you an F1 fan?
Yeah, and I’m a big fan of Lewis Hamilton. I bought his book and by the time I’d finished it I felt like a proud parent. It’s amazing how he came to be and rose through the ranks. That’s talent for you.

Are you more excited by the race than seeing the other artists perform?
I’m staying a couple of extra days because I want to see Prince, Corinne Bailey Rae and the Sugababes. I’m excited about the racing, but I can’t wait to check out the other bands. Prince is old school and I completely adore him. And I’m watching Kanye West – he’s playing the same day I am, so it’s going to be heaven for me. It’s going to be a busy weekend, but I’m really looking forward to it and Abu Dhabi’s the perfect setting for it all.

Where does the Ivor Novello award that you won in 2008 rank among your career achievements?
I think they’re all equally important. The idea that someone’s taken time out to consider me for an award is an amazing feeling. But the Ivors are very prestigious, so I was very excited about that for a long time. It was the guy who signed me all those years ago who went up and made a little speech before I collected it, so I had a tear in my eye.

Have you ever heard any weird interpretations of your lyrics? We’re sure you’re singing ‘Valerie’ in your song, ‘Out of Reach’…
Yes, somebody came up to me once and asked ‘what exactly is it that you’re singing? ‘Dreams can come true, dah dah duh duh dah duh duh duh.’ I can’t remember exactly what they thought it was, but it was hilarious. I think they were quite disappointed when I told them the correct lyrics. Somebody should make a collection of songs with alternative lyrics so you can have a laugh, like a karaoke version.

Gabrielle plays an intimate acoustic set at Longitude Bar, Yas Hotel at 11pm on November 12. Tickets are available from www.thinkflash.ae

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