Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Mar 7th 2010 11:10AM by Nana-Adwoa Ofori
At the tender age of 12, Gin Wigmore was immersed within the music industry. As a youngster, she was hanging out in recording studios and landed a part-time job in the mail room of Universal Music in New Zealand. At the age of 16, she was the youngest winner of the US-based International Song Writing Contest with the heartfelt acoustic ballad, 'Hallelujah.' Wigmore was eventually signed to Universal Motown Records. The singer's debut album, 'Holy Smoke', was created with Mike Elizondo as her producer [Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, Eminem] and with the Cardinals as her backing band. Wigmore recently spoke candidly with Spinner about her story and her excitement over her first trip to SXSW.
Describe your sound in your own words.
It's a mash up and a bit of everything: blues, soul, pop, rock and folk. I can't quite decide what the hell I want to do yet, so I am just keeping it broad.
How did your band form?
My A&R guy in Australia, Michael Taylor, is mates with the Cardinals. When the Cardinals came out with Ryan Adams to do their last show in Sydney before they broke up, Michael Taylor went out there. After the show he talked with them and said, "Hey, I know you guys are breaking up, but I've got this artist Gin Wigmore who is recording in the States. Would you guys want to be her band and record on the album?" After they heard a couple of tracks, they loved it. Six weeks later, I'm walking into Capitol Studios and met the Cardinals, and we made 'Holy Smoke.' It was quite magical. Once you make an album with someone, you form such a beautiful and special bond. All of sudden feel like you've known each other for 10 years, and you become really close. We had no other option but to start touring, and now we are going to SXSW together. It's really cool! I'm excited.
What are your musical influences?
My biggest musical influence was my father. He was the inspiration behind one of the first songs I ever wrote, 'Hallelujah.' I also dedicated 'Holy Smoke' to him. I believe he leads the team of guardian angels that are around me.
What's your biggest vice?
I bite my nails. It's really gross because I bite them and then spit them out. I know that people are looking me and thinking, "Gross. She just probably spit some nail on me!" I bite them ridiculously down to the stem. My fingers have even started deforming. You know how you get those big bulbous things on the end of you finger's tip? Yeah, I've totally got them. There goes my career as a hand model.
What's in your festival survival kit?
I carry this stuff with me called Berocca. It's like Emergen-C, but it's Vitamin B. After you take it, it's like you have had 20 bananas or something. So you feel really pumped, excited, and full of vitamins. If you're feeling disgusting, it can make you feel amazing in 20 minutes. I have to have some before I go on stage.
Who was your first celeb crush?
Johnny Depp. I was obsessed. I would get my camera and take photos of him on [the] TV screen as the video was playing. I was a psycho. He just looked so cute. The pictures all came out horribly because of the reflection, but I still had hope that one day I would get a good shot.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
Music from Disney films are at the top of the list. You know that song from 'The Little Mermaid,' 'Part of your World'? I absolutely love it. Try telling people that one of your favorite songs is 'Part of Your World' or that you really dig Disney soundtracks. They tend to look at you a little funny. I don't care because those songs make me feel really awesome.
Beatles or Stones?
That's tricky, and a mean question. I feel a bit wrong even talking about it. I'd have to say Rolling Stones. Basically it's because of how cool Mick Jagger is.
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on tour?
We were playing a festival at a university, and we had no idea that the theme was the "Bizarre Ball." Everyone was dressed up like mad cats. During the encore, we were backstage and I suggested to the band that we do something crazy. I told them "Boys, you've got to get naked. There is no other option!" Then we went on stage to meet a roaring drunken crowd. I was fully clothed, but my pasty, skinny band came out their undies, barefoot with ties on. Bare chests and man boobs. It was brilliant! I couldn't even sing I was cracking up so hard.
Do you have a ritual for songwriting? How do you get into the zone to write a song?
I always write in the dark. I'm a bit of a weirdo because I prefer the dark. I need candlelight or dim lighting to get into the zone. I associate songwriting with getting into your subconscious. I believe that if it is dark it removes every day reality, and then I can go into "another world." Usually with my songwriting, I will travel to the Blue Mountains which is about an hour outside of Sydney. I just bring some roast chicken and live off that for three days and my dog [and I] and ride up there to write in complete solitude.
Nana-Adwoa Ofori is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.