Birmingham’s brightest rising star, 24-year old guitarist, singer-songwriter Gabriella Jones – who gave her first live performance at the tender age of nine – will be bringing her unique blend of Pop, Blues and Rock to HRH Blues Chapter V on 13th April 2019. Gabriella spoke with HRH Mag about her influences, her new music, and her favourite, non-rock ‘n’ roll pleasures.
How do you feel about playing at this year’s HRH Blues and who are you most excited about sharing the stage with?
This will be my first time performing at HRH and I am so looking forward to it! It will be great to see Aynsley Lister and The Quireboys!
How old were you when you started singing, songwriting and playing guitar? What inspired you to start?
I was singing maybe even before I could speak properly haha. I started writing songs when I was about six and my Dad taught me to play guitar when I was seven. The first riff I learned was ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ by AC/DC.
Your lyrics deal a lot with relationships and heartbreak – are all of your songs written from a personal perspective?
A lot of the songs are from a personal perspective and I think they tend to be the ones that people relate to the most. There are other tunes where it’s slightly less personal and more based around a riff idea or specific imagery that I was excited to write around. The best songs seem to happen in a flash and it’s not often until months later when someone close to me will be like, “well, well, well – I know what this is about!” It doesn’t always dawn on me at the time that I’m tackling a specific thing but the process is very therapeutic.
You’ve been busy writing and recording since the end of last year – what are your new songs about and how do you feel your new music compares with your previous material?
With the new material I’ve focussed on creating more of a cinematic style. I’ve always loved mixing smooth ballads with up-tempo riff-led numbers in my live set and I wanted a sound that married the two together. It was great to experiment with strings and brass and I’m really happy with how they’ve turned out. There are moments in the new songs that I hope will surprise people. There are songs about relationships, friendships and navigating this ever-changing industry and how that can influence the relationships you have. The moral of the story often being; “A great friend is like a great song, they stand the test of time’.
Do you have a release date for your new record? Will it be a full-length album, or an EP? Do you have a title for it yet?
Yet to be announced… you will be the first to know!!
Last year you played support to bands and artists including Stone Broken, Federal Charm, Samarkind and Jack J. Hutchison – who else would you most like to play alongside?
I would love to support Paul Rodgers and also The Rolling Stones… something low-key, haha! But in all seriousness, there are so many brilliant bands out there it is hard to choose!
Why do you think the UK has such a thriving Blues Rock scene at the moment?
I think it’s a mixture of things but mainly down to brilliant music fans that will support an act from the early stages right the way through, and also the influence of radio stations like Planet Rock and BBC Introducing who work hard to get new music out there. It’s definitely an exciting time to be in music.
What would you say have been the highlights of your career to date?
One of my favourite gigs ever was the Hard Rock Calling Festival at Hyde Park. It was the hottest day of the year, the audience was amazing and Bon Jovi headlined. I have fantastic memories of that day. Performing at The Isle of Wight Festival was also really special – there’s so much history to that festival and just an amazing atmosphere.
What music did you listen to when you were growing up and who/what are you listening to right now?
I listened to absolutely everything! My teenage playlist probably looked something like Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Beyoncé, Amy Winehouse… if something is catchy I will listen to it a thousand times on repeat, whatever genre it is.
Aside from music, what makes you happiest?
Having a good laugh with my close friends and family… cuddling my dog… drinking tea… so rock ‘n’ roll!
Can you tell us what an average day in your life looks like?
For the last few months it has mainly been writing and recording! I had such a great experience getting the new material down… can’t wait to get out on the road and play it for everyone!
Limited tickets and packages for HRH Blues V are still available – head to www.hrhblues.com or call the HRH team on 0207 193 1164.
Photography Courtesy of Richard Battye