Interview With Singer, Pianist & Producer ‘Imelda Gabs’

Tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Imelda Gabs, I’m a Belgian singer, pianist and producer currently based in Switzerland.

How did you come up with your artist name? 

It’s a mix between my actual first name “Imelda” and part of my father’s artist name which used to be “Doctor Gabs”. When I started performing people started calling me Imelda Gabs and I decided to stick with it.

How long have you been in the music industry? 

I experienced my first major live performance at 14 in 2012 in Brussels, so it’s been 9 years already!

How did you get started in the music business in the first  place? 

My late father was a professional pianist so I grew up surrounded by music all the time, but I entered the industry on a more professional level when I started composing and performing my own songs back in 2012.

How would you describe your latest single? 

My latest single Fallen Angel is the start of a new chapter in my career as a solo artist. I like to mix different influences in my songs and for this one I chose to take a dark pop approach with some cinematic elements both musically and visually.

When can fans expect the visuals for the single?

The music video directed by Dariy Mambetov was released together with the song! You can check it out right here

Who are your inspirations in the music industry?

I like to have many different influences across genres. Some of my current favourites are Sevdaliza, London Grammar, Aurora, Grimes, Dua Lipa and Oklou.

How do you go about writing a song and what is your process?  

It really depends on the mood and inspiration! Sometimes writing a song can take me less than an hour, and sometimes it can take weeks. Most of the time I start with a chord pattern or melody on the piano or even just vocals, then I add all the other instruments, plugins, drums… Depending on the vision I have for a particular track, I may ask other musicians to play some parts to give it a more organic feel, than I get it mixed, mastered… and there you go!

What is the concept behind your forthcoming project if  working on one? 

I’m currently working on a second single and my debut EP. For those two upcoming releases, I really want to mix both organic and electronic sounds to give them a nice hybrid feel. My biggest challenge is to align my music with cinematic visuals, music videos that complement the songs with a deep cinematographic direction and a story. 

Any plans on touring to promote your latest single?

As soon as it will be possible again, yes absolutely!

What did you buy with your first check off music?

I actually founded a non profit for young musicians and funded/organised several artistic activities and live events for a couple of years thanks to my musical earnings, it was great!

What are must haves when your in the studio working?

A large and cosy hoodie, some good and comfortable headphones, and on a more delicious and personal note, a bubble tea (or just tea!). 

What is the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed?

Don’t be scared of negative feedback, don’t wait for people to help you out, stay focused on your objectives, trust your vision, and set yourself a list of short/mid/long term goals to follow.

Will you be collaborating with any other artists in the future?

I’m totally open to the idea of collaborating with other artists if there’s an opportunity to share a common vision and project, we’ll see what the future holds!

What artist have you had the pleasure of working with and what was it like?

Before taking a Pop turn through my music I started within the Jazz genre several years ago where I got to perform with artists like Rhoda Scott, Marcus Miller, Vic Jewel Pitts and Yaron Herman. It is always a great experience to share the stage with other artists as one song can sound completely different when played with others. Only great memories!

Name an artist(s) that you would love to work with?  

Sevdaliza, Keytranada, Jacob Collier, Grimes, London Grammar… and the list could go on for a long time 😀

Do you think your music is mostly enjoyed more for the beats  or for the lyrical flow and content?

I would say a bit of both, but as for my latest single, I believe it’s mostly enjoyed as a whole, including the music, the lyrics and the visuals as they all complement each other by adding more depth to the release. 

What area do you need to improve on in regards to your career? (Example: Better production, Delivery, Stage presence, etc…)

I definitely intend to improve the overall promotion and delivery of my upcoming releases and as a producer and a perfectionist, I’m always looking for ways to better my work and get to the next level, get out of my comfort zone a little more each time I get something out.

What’s your all-time favourite song? 

Teardrop by Massive Attack.

What was the last album you listened to?

Miss Anthropocene by Grimes.

Your favourite artist of all time and why?

I wouldn’t say that I have one true favourite artist of all time, but the three artists/bands that inspired me the most throughout the years are London Grammar, Hiromi Uehara, and Sevdaliza.

Whose your favourite five artists right now? 

Grimes, Sevdaliza, Oklou, Kaytranada, FKA Twigs

In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist  in your genre today and why?

I would say Sevdaliza because she managed to very well mix modern musical productions while keeping some experimental elements along with deep and well-thought visuals, which is very close to what I tend to do with my project.  

Who have been some of your favourite artists that you’ve been able to work with? 

I haven’t had the chance to really collaborate with another artist on a project/song, but I’m already looking forward to it.

How do you feel about the current state of music? 

I feel like we’re really on a turning point where it becomes harder if not impossible to put one artist into one particular box like we used to do several years ago, which is (to me) a great thing. I think as an artist you shouldn’t have to choose one category and stick to it, but rather let your music guide you to whatever genre fits your vision. This creates such an amazing variety of artists! I can’t wait to see how it’ll be in a few years.

Any dream award shows you hope to one day play at?

Playing at the Grammys would certainly be an out of this world experience! 

What is your main goal as far as music?

If my music can make me travel the world and enable me to pursue all the other projects and ambitions that I have in mind, that would be my ultimate goal and a true achievement.

Who would you say your music relates to the most?

I would say my music is relatable to all those who have had difficult moments in their lives and are fighters at heart.

What separates you from other artists? (What’s makes you different?)

I really want to emphasize the importance of visuals alongside my music. I like to tell stories through my tracks, shown and interpreted through the music videos with a true cinematic approach.

When your not in the studio, What do you like to do for fun and relaxation?

Painting is my second favourite artistic expression, followed by writing, reading and working out. What really helps me relax is to play the piano, I can play it for hours without even noticing!

If you could work with any producer who would it be?

Jacob Collier, Sevdaliza, Two Lanes… to mention just a few

What’s the biggest highlight of your career thus far?

My performance on the main stage of the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2017, opening for Lianne La Havas and The Roots.

What is your dream venue to perform at?

A big outdoor stage at a major festival, doesn’t matter which one! There’s nothing more exciting than to share a live performance with a huge crowd.

What’s the name of the last book you read and by whom?

On Writing by Stephen King.

What’s your favourite sports team and why?

I don’t have one !

Whose your favourite actor or actress and their best movie?

Very hard to choose one! But I’ve always enjoyed Nathalie Portman’s acting, especially in Black Swan, also Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption.

Name someone famous who inspires you and why?

FKA Twigs is a great inspiration, I truly admire the 360 approach she embodies, both musically and visually. I believe we entered an era where we not only need to enjoy listening to an artist but also watching her/his performance, the visuals. All of this together when well balanced gets you to a complete vision of what an artist is about, and she represents that perfectly.

What can we expect from you in the future?

More music and more live performances!

Where can the fans check out for your music?

My music is on all streaming platforms: streamlink You may also join my newsletter on www.imeldagabs.com or follow me on Instagram @imeldagabs

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