Hiya Gemma, thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music was a thing for you?
I didn’t decide really. It was just always a thing for me, ever since I was really young. It was always the thing I was known best for and my parents could see from a very young age how much I loved singing and performing. Then when I gave it up for a few years during my undergraduate degree at university, I became really unhappy, and I realised that I didn’t want to live without it in my life. Going to Leeds College of Music to do my Master in Music Performance and Songwriting really solidified it as the thing that I wanted to do. I loved being around musicians all the time, they just brought out the best in me and I had so much in common with them.
Introduce yourself and your musical history.
Hi, I’m Gemma Felicity. I’m a Singer-Songwriter living in London. I was always obsessed with music, performing, and writing poetry from a very young age. I started having singing lessons at school at the age of 10, and then for the whole of secondary school it was a huge part of my life, but I was mostly a classical singer at that point. I was in all of the school choirs and always got all of the solo’s. During my school holidays, I would go on residential weeks as a member of the National Youth Choir performing at huge venues. So music was a big part of my life throughout those school years. I took a break from singing when I went off to university to study Public Relations and Communications. I found PR interesting, but I always felt like a huge part of me was missing. I didn’t quite feel like myself without music and performing. I decided to apply for a master’s at Leeds College of Music, and I am so glad I did, as it lead me to where I am now. I switched over from classical to singing pop at that point. I’ve now been gigging and working on a lot of my own original music for a while. So far I have released 2 singles, and I have many more to come.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
It is extremely hard. And it is slow progress! I feel like I am really only just getting started if I am honest. I’ve just been learning and growing up until this point, as there is so much to learn about music and the industry before you can do well. It is only really right now that I am beginning to feel that I might be getting somewhere, in terms of knowing who I am as an artist and what music I want to make. It takes more time than you would think, to figure it all out. I am trying not to compare myself to other artists. I think this is the only way you can really enjoy it. I am just focusing on being set on my own path and my own timeline, and I think everything will work itself out in its own time. You just have to be hard-working and patient, and focus on yourself. I’m not as successful as I would like to be yet, but I believe that with time I will get there. I am really getting somewhere in terms of my songwriting now, and I am beginning to write songs I feel really proud of now, so I am excited to be able to share those with people. It is a very competitive and tricky industry for sure, but you just have to focus on yourself and not let it all get to you.
What advice would you give to other artists starting out?
Don’t compare yourself to others, stay focused on your own path, and don’t be so hard on yourself.
Focus on being authentic, you don’t have to be like everyone else, make music that YOU love.
Don’t just focus on where you want to get to, focus on the now, enjoy every moment and step of the process, and give it time and patience.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
As an artist, I delve very deep into myself, as that is just in my nature to do so. I am very self-aware and self-reflective. I am an introvert, so I have a very deep inner world, and music is my way of expressing that inner world. I tend to write songs about really personal and vulnerable issues going on in my life. I have been in therapy for many years, so I use the content that comes up in my therapy sessions and usually make them into songs. Everything I write about has a lot of deeper meaning. I can’t really write shallow lyrics at all, it has to really mean something to me. And that is just who I am as a person, I am quite a deep thinker and I analyse things on a deeper level.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
My new single “Better Without You” came out on the 28th of October. I wrote it about a toxic relationship ending and the other person then moving on really quickly. That is always a really heart-breaking and confusing experience that I wanted to write about. However, the lyrics also talk about how breakups can be really amazing time in our lives when we learn to love ourselves on our own.
I wrote it after finding out that an ex of mine had moved on. Of course, it really hurt to find this out, and I felt really heartbroken at first. But reflecting on the whole experience, I realised that even though he had moved on to someone else and I hadn’t, the break up had been a great turning point in my life, helping me to learn more about who I was, and to value myself more highly. I realised that yes, maybe it hurt deeply to know he had moved on, but in reality, I was better off without him.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
Well, I wrote the first draft a few days after I had run into my ex, after many months of not seeing him or speaking. Everyone knows that horrible feeling when you bump into an ex, and it just feels weird and brings up a lot of emotions that you had probably been trying to avoid. We had a catch up, and I remember feeling strange because obviously after such a long time not seeing each other, things had changed between us. It felt like talking to a stranger. He told me he had a new girlfriend. It had taken so long to get over him, so it really hurt that he had just moved on so quickly. I started reminiscing on the relationship and felt really sad. I then thought back to how much I had grown since our breakup, and suddenly realised, that even though he was in a new relationship and I was not, I was doing so much better without him. That is when I wrote this song, and it just flowed.
What was the recording process like?
I actually recorded it towards the end of the lockdown in my one-bed flat in Leeds, which I’ve now moved out of. I had my own little recording space there, and I spent quite a few hours one day recording it all, taking little breaks to have cups of tea, and I then sent the vocals to my producer who lives in America to work on the track. I love recording at home, because you can take it at your own pace, and it is so relaxing.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tune?
I think writing and creating this song was a big part of my learning and growth in becoming a writer. This was the first song that I’ve released so far, that is written about quite a personal experience, and I think since writing this song I have realised the beauty in vulnerability and writing about and sharing your personal experiences and turning them into art. I’ve learned to be even more honest and vulnerable in my lyrics since writing this tune because it is amazing how doing this helps people to really connect with your music. I think I am also learning to have a clear vision in my mind of what I want the song to become, and not to be so afraid to speak my mind and ideas when working on your tracks. Sometimes I get scared to speak up and make the changes that I want to make, because I feel like it could be annoying for my producer, but I am learning not to people please, and just to make sure I speak my mind and am honest about anything I wish to change.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
I think I would probably add a Bridge in, and I would make the vocals stand out a little bit more over the instrumental in the chorus. But I love the song for what it is, and what it has taught me.
How have your songwriting skills developed?
I think they have developed a lot, especially over the last 6 months or so. I have been working with a lot of really talented musicians, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I am learning to be even more vulnerable when I write my lyrics, and even more creative and bold when writing my melodies. I am getting better at just trusting myself when writing and being intuitive. I can definitely see a huge progression between the music I am releasing at the moment, and the music I am writing now.
What’s the best way to get new ears on your music? Any tips?
I would say I am still in the process of working this all out, but definitely social media promotion is a big one, as everyone is using it now. Tik Tik is huge, and so are Instagram Reels. It is mad the exposure one video can get on those platforms through very little effort and money. It really is an amazing thing. Other than that, I think gigging, open mic nights, or busking are all great for getting people in your city to support you because it helps build that emotional connection as you can meet people in person. Other than that, I would say getting onto Spotify Playlists gets you great exposure.
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