RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LONDON ARTIST GEMMA FELICITY
Hiya Gemma thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat. What made you decide to become a soloist?
I’ve always preferred the idea of being a soloist versus being in a band, as I love being able to write what I want to write, express my own ideas and have complete creative freedom. I think it would be really hard to get your personality, ideas and emotions into your songs if you were part of a band. I’m a Taurus so I’m not that good at compromise, I prefer to be able to do what I want to do. I guess there are always downfalls of being a soloist though, as it would be fun to do everything with a band, and you can all learn from one another. But in general, I am quite an independent person, and I like to do my own thing.
Introduce us to you and your musical history? So, I’ve been obsessed with music since I was really young. When I was a baby I would always put musicals on the TV and watch them over and over and dance around. I probably started singing when I was around 8 or 9, and started proper singing lessons when I was 11, so music has always been a huge part of me. I’ve definitely always been very creative. When I was at secondary school my music teacher quickly noticed me, and put me forward to be in all the choirs and for all the solo’s. I took all my singing grades, but at this point I was singing both pop and opera/classical, which I think helped me to learn good technique early on so I am grateful for that. But when I left school at 18, I went to University to study Public Relations and my soul just really missed singing. I spent all my time just partying and I became really unhappy. I felt like I had really lost myself. I ended up taking a year out from uni due to some health problems, and I suddenly realised I had given up the thing that made me happiest. So, I applied to do a Masters in Songwriting and Music Performance at Leeds College of Music, and I honestly had the best time. Now I’m doing this full time – gigging, session singing and releasing my own music.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed? ”How would you describe yourself.” I find that question so hard because I believe we are always in a state of change and humans are complex, we are never just one thing.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
I think there potentially could be aliens on earth. And this isn’t a conspiracy but I do believe that a large percentage of the world are on some level psychic, which lots of my friends think is a bit strange. I have quite a few weird opinions to be honest.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
I spent money on a lot of clothes I didn’t need – I went a bit mad on internet shopping at one point just out of boredom. I also ordered a lot of Dominos pizza and I bought a puppy, but both of those were definitely a necessity to get through that time period.
What useless party trick do you have? I have quite a few useless talents actually haha. So, I can dislocate both my shoulders, I can make myself look about 6 months pregnant, I can whistle with my tongue, and put my tongue into the shape of a flower.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
Probably when I have gigged at outdoor events and mini festivals, because the audience are always having such a good time, the weather is great, and everyone is in great spirits. It is so fun to be a part of that. I’m a huge festival fan.
What was the worst experience on stage?
I did a performance a while back and I got so nervous that I completely forgot my lyrics and just stood there for ages with a mind blank. I suddenly couldn’t remember the song at all. Is scary how nerves can do that!! But I’m working on controlling it. I hope it doesn’t happen again, it was horrendous.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
That’s a hard one!! I’m not sure what would surprise people. Maybe the fact I lived in Thailand for 3 years when I was really young.
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
I would say my lyrics are dark, honest and real with a lot of meaning, but my music is also usually upbeat and something you can dance to. I would call it dark pop. It makes people think and feel deeply, but also makes people dance. I like that contrast.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
I like to write about real things which affect us in everyday life, and my real and honest feelings. A lot of the stuff I write is literally like me reading my therapists notes to everyone to be honest. I don’t write just to please my audience and I am incapable of writing anything surface level – I selfishly just write from the heart and I think that is becoming more and more rare nowadays with Tik Tok etc.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
The fact that I am really hungry but have no food with me.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
I love singing my single This Place live because the audience always seem to vibe a lot with it. It has a good beat to it and gets people moving and grooving, which is really nice to see. I also love singing my own version of Toxic by Britney Spears, because it is always so fun to put your own spin on other people’s songs and make it your own.
I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?
So, my new single is called This Place. I wrote it a few years ago when I was hanging out with people who would talk a lot about Instagram followers, what people looked like, designer trainers, and a lot of other superficial things. I just felt really left out and like I couldn’t relate at all. It all felt really empty to me, and it actually caused me to feel really depressed and lonely. I wrote it one day when I felt sad and just couldn’t deal with being in that kind of environment anymore.
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
So, the song began, as I said, when I was feeling really lost and sad that the world has become so superficial. I remember I felt really down the day I wrote it. I wanted the song to empower people to not feel like they need to fit in with the crowd, and also to realise that social media isn’t reality and there can be so much more going on underneath a perfect picture. I wanted the song to sound both dark and eery, but also have a meaningful story behind it, plus have a strong beat and be good to dance to.
What was the recording process like?
So, I recorded this single with Frankie Harper, who produced the track. We recorded all the vocals in his studio in Leeds, so firstly we did the main vocals and then we figured out some harmonies together and added them in. Frankie is so so amazing at what he does and he’s a great guy, so I wasn’t nervous at all, which I think helps when you are doing something like that. It helps to be in an environment you feel comfortable in.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
Well honestly, it was my first ever song I’ve written, edited and then produced and filmed a music video for, and then followed it through all the way to releasing and promoting it, so it was my first ever experience of that entire process. I learned SO SO much in the whole process. Mostly I learnt how many different aspects come into creating, releasing and promoting just one song. It has been such an interesting experience though. I can’t wait to release more music now.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
No, not at all. I love the song exactly as it is and I am really proud of it. The stuff I am writing now is slightly different, but that is to be expected. Everything grows and develops and changes over time.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
So, in terms of music, I want to release 2 more singles and one more music video by the end of this year hopefully. I also want to be gigging and busking a lot over the summer. And I want to work hard on building up my social media profiles and producing good quality content. In terms of personal life, I want to take good care of my health, travel and have a lot of fun. Those are my main aims.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Just go check out my single and music video for This Place if you haven’t already. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts – I would love to hear any feedback!!