Hi Gaurika, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hi Vents 🙂 I’ve been great thanks… Busy on all fronts as always but super excited about my official debut single release, ‘I’m Alive feat Sean Kingston’ releasing on February 7th 2020… Thank you for interviewing me and supporting my release.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “I’m Alive”?
Well considering this is the first ‘happy song’ I managed to write after quite a long time, I am very excited about my new latest single, I’m Alive. It has a Tropical, Caribbean, Fun yet ‘child – like’ sense to it which hopefully makes you wanna scream ‘I’m Alive’ by the end of the song whilst having you up on your feet dancing to it. I wrote the song in Miami and as soon as I stepped foot on the plane on the way to the studio, I had the first line “Come live in my paradise of islands in the sky” and the rest of the song came over a space of 2/3 hours of being in the studio. I had the feel of the song mapped out before even getting in to write it so the process just flowed. Me and my producer knew that it needed a ‘call and response’ style dialogue in it to match the flavour of the song and we were lucky enough to get the perfect voice with Sean Kingston featuring on it!
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Actually it’s quite funny because I had the title ‘I’m Alive’ ready to write a happy upbeat song for about a year with the first initial inspiration coming from having travelled and seeing children who are less fortunate than us, absolutely living with joy in a present moment, I vividly recall a group of children who had no home, living on the streets in an area people described as a ’slum’ in dire circumstances, they were playing cricket with a stone as they didn’t have a ball along with a bat made out of an old used water bottle that had been stuffed with rubbish off the street and flattened, regardless of what they didn’t have and how hard their lives were, they still managed to be present within that moment and create a moment of pure beauty, joy and happiness – it really just puts things into perspective as an observer… However, every time I went to write this song, it just wouldn’t flow, I would end up with another heart wrenching ballad encapsulating the sadness of the situation instead of their joy in that moment (I do tend to write sad and more expressive songs easily – having previously been compared to Adele whilst working in Miami – A total honour and compliment). In one of my last attempts, I was still in the UK sitting in The Matrix Complex with a great producer & friend of mine, Anthony Galatis, in the hope to do this upbeat song and ended up laying down a song now known as Long Walk To Freedom inspired by Nelson Mandela’s story that had came to me instantly (whilst in floods of tears whilst writing) after having seen the movie, 12 Years a Slave. I wrote that song in its entirety in less than 20 minutes, it literally just poured out of me. So after that I left the title I’m Alive’ in my book and didn’t think about it as i’ve done with many songs… Nearly a year on and I was headed to Miami to record my debut EP and at the time, I had come out of quite a sad situation where somebody very close to me had really let me down and a coping mechanism of mine, at times when I feel sad is, I think about those in less fortunate circumstances to change that feeling to one of gratitude. So I was determined to not let the situation effect my EP in any way. So on the plane I was looking back through one of my lyric books and there it was, that same title and idea that never got used… I am quite a spiritual person and always look at the positive in any situation so started thinking about what it meant to ‘be’ and actually ‘feel’ alive and then before I knew it, the first two lines and melody of it was there in a heartbeat… “Come live in my paradise of Islands in the sky” and there it was… My first official happy upbeat song and the rest is history… Like all my other songs it just came naturally at the right time and at the right place… Synchronicity at its best…
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Yes 100% … Actually I always envisioned the video for this song to be about celebrating Life and Love at its best so always wanted it to be more than just about ‘me’ or ‘my inspiration’ to a degree… I didn’t want it to really even feature me or Sean Kingston and be ‘my music video’ but rather I wanted it to be bigger than me, have a life of it’s own and capture the essence of ‘Life’ and ‘Love’ in all its aspects. I wanted it to showcase the beauty of life, feelings, nature, love and happiness. I wanted it to be Global in its reach so it didn’t matter who was listening to it and where, but that they could relate to it in some form. Initially I actually wanted to set up a YouTube challenge/campaign which people could volunteer and send clips in of what it meant to them to ‘be alive’ and ‘feel alive’ and then I could piece the video together or create it from our live shows… However for now, we have a fantastic animated lyric video with emoji’s of both me and Sean showcasing the lyrics beautifully.
How was the recording and writing process?
For this song, I had such a clear vision of the general vibe going into the studio, how I wanted it to sound and the type of instrumentation along with an idea of the melody. I had the first two lines on repeat in my head before I even stepped foot off the plane in Miami. Then once we started laying the production down and the beat, the lyrics came naturally to me. I love creatively collaborating so was truly a blast working with JC and we vibed off of each other and were completely in sync and that always creates something special… So this song was pretty much written and recorded within a day and a half of me and JC, having ever worked together prior to that moment. I really believe there is something bigger out there that guides that natural gift of songwriting and I am just an open channel of such a beautiful message, which I can creatively add to and deliver to the world. I even had the pleasure of meeting Corey Rooney through the recording process, which was an absolute honour and he is extremely sweet and an incredibly talented legend.
What was it like to work with Sean Kingston and how did that relationship develop?
A nightmare as it usually is working with these big name artists 😉 No, I’m playing… Actually it was an absolute pleasure working with him, seamless from start to finish and extremely easy as a process. It was all initiated, when my song, was played to Sean by a mutual friend I know, a Producer in LA, who had worked on various projects with Sean prior. Sean heard the song and loved it and was happy to jump on board and feature… It was all pretty quick and easy and like everything else in life one thing led to another and Sean Kingston was featuring on my song. However, I do have to give my management team ‘props’ for all the admin, clearances, discussions with his team that were involved. Sean is an extremely talented artist and his voice is so smooth, like butter melting and was just the perfect feature for this style of song. There was a discussion initially with Snoop Dog and he was happy to feature and as extremely tempting as it was at the time, this song was made for Sean.
How much did he get to influence the song?
To be honest, the song was completely mapped out and I didn’t want any changes to it, rather just for him to add his Jamaican/Caribbean, smooth flavor to it. So even when the talks were initiated of his feature it was important the song kept all those elements and had him adding to them within the framework that was already there. He did a fantastic job and to be honest, with him on the track it had a complete different vibe to it from the initial recording we had put together so he really did make it his own with his parts and was both swift and flawless in his delivery. I’m a big believer in teamwork makes the dream-work so my lyrics and melody along with assistance in production style to JC’s production and writing Sean Kingston’s part, to Sean’s vocals and flare in it’s entirety makes this song, so I would say he influenced the song the same as me and JC as all of those elements together, is what makes the song what it is.
How your upbringing has influenced your music?
My upbringing has had a huge impact on my music both in writing and singing. Firstly our house was always a musical household with the radio constantly going or with cassettes (now I sound old) that we had put together filling every room. My Mum would constantly be singing or humming and my father who had a love for country music, flooded our ears with the likes of Elvis and Paul Simon amongst others… So it was a very versatile musical household in general. Songwriting wise, I only ever write what I feel and I guess at this point looking at life glass half full, everything i’ve been through gives me the capacity to write the songs I have and continue to do. I am also someone that is very connected to ‘life’ and if someone or something is going through a situation of any emotion and I witness it or so much as to think about it, I feel it, as if I’m going through it (Hence I’m a crier especially whilst watching TV and film, give me a real life situation and i’m a mess!)… At this point it’s safe to say, I’m definitely an empath! So my music and songwriting is very real but equally I love a play, on words and writing somewhat ‘intelligently’ to let somebody interpret the song in their own way. For example I have a song called Broken Arrow that was actually written about my Mum and anyone listening to it would never guess that. To be perfectly honest, I think because of going through quite a lot emotionally as a child, it led me to becoming somebody that was so aware of ‘feelings’ and that I never wanted anyone to experience any pain, in the way I did, and how important happiness is, I grew up very quickly and lost my ‘childhood’ to a degree and the innocence of life so have always wanted to infuse those elements in my music and another reason why I had children join in on the ‘I’m Alive’ tag within the single. I am a huge believer in the meaning of life is to find your gift in life and give it away and how transformation is seeded by one single thought so I had to put all of those empowering, positive thoughts into my music in every way because the sound of music really connects us universally. It never ceases to amaze me but you play any song in any language and people ‘feel’ it in the same way. My music is the sound of my emotions and the essence of me and that essence of me is my legacy…
What role does the UK play in your writing?
To be honest I guess the UK plays a role as does anywhere else I have been or seen or experienced in my life. One thing for sure where the UK has always been great especially in music, is that there are no real set boundaries and the UK has always been very innovative with sound, in fact some of the most ground breaking artists today are from the UK like Ed Sheeran, Adele, Lewis Capaldi and Stormzy to name a few, along with the legends that broke the mould previously like, Queen, Elton John and The Beatles, the list is truly endless… Now everything is Global to a degree with the internet, social media and technology but before going back a good few years, the UK was never really scared to break the mould and try something new especially with production and that quickly infiltrated the global market with its unique, quirky style. So I’m extremely proud to be British and of my British roots, that have always played a role for me to always think outside the box and not worry about a set structure or methodology. Again being a writer, I love words and how powerful words can be in creating visuals so that is something I love to always incorporate.
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than in your own?
To be honest the approach is never really different because even when writing on your own, there is more than just ‘you’ giving in a song… Like I’ve said before, I’m a channel and there is definitely a greater source where everything comes from… The beauty of it for me is that it comes through me naturally. So you’re always collaborating in some aspect but yes when you officially collaborate, it’s truly a special gift. The synergy has to be there and you have to work off of each other to create something special so knowing that the people collaborating can connect on some level is crucial and your energies have to collide and transform into something together so there is a differing approach in that sense but in it’s essence, its connecting to what’s coming from you and its that special connection that everyone else connects to.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
Yes! I am forever writing and the follow up single is already done and mastered and ready to go with the third official single being completed as we speak. I am super excited about them. One is called Digital Age, which really is about our millennial generation and the impact of this digital era on love… We’ve gone from romantic love letters to digital emoji’s and just this sense of love being a ‘trend’ and a little ‘disposable’ in the sense of technologies imprint on it. It’s got a very ‘cool’ ‘raw’ edgy – ness about it. The third song I can’t wait to share and is more of a ‘catchy’ song called ‘Whoa’ and we’re in talks for a really amazing feature on it – I wish I could disclose who but it’s somebody I have dreamed on collaborating with and is penned to be a huge hit by industry insiders!
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
The release date for the mainstream mix has been scheduled for Feb 7th 2020! So it’s all very exciting (my heart beating double time as I write it down)…
Any plans to hit the road?
I definitely have plans to hit the road with radio/press tours within the UK which will be followed by a trip over to the US and working on the next release and performing. As much as I love the creative side to writing, recording and producing, my love for live performance is immense. That live, physical connection with people is something else and an experience that can’t really be explained, it’s something that is felt and that feeling is infectious!
What else is happening next in Gaurika’s world?
Well Gaurika’s world is a conscious place where you strive to make a difference in the world and give yourself fully. Giving a voice to the voiceless to a degree. So I am extremely passionate about life and all living things, if you haven’t got that already 😉 I love dogs and am an animal advocate in every sense. I cannot stand some of the videos I have seen with animal cruelty as of recent so have been speaking to PETA and other organizations to get involved and make a physical difference instead of just give money for others to do the work. I have previously worked with Battersea Dogs Home in London and endeavour to do so much more. I also class myself as a Global Citizen, as I believe we all should be considering what our human footprint is doing to the world we live in, case in example the recent devastating Australian Bush Fires, wiping out close to 500,000 animals and still counting, its just truly heart breaking! I am an advocate of the Global Citizen Organization itself and with the combination of growth, education, resources and awareness as a global society that we have, we shouldn’t have the poverty in the world that we do. We all have the divine right to be happy so I am looking into other ways in which I can make a difference in the world and humanity as a whole as that is the most important thing because you only get better if we all get better together! So watch this space J… On the music front, I have Red Bull Music who are supporting my release along with Sean Kingston’s team. I am also in the process of finalising festival slots and some other exciting things which I can’t disclose just yet but follow me on Instagram (@GaurikaOfficial), Facebook (GaurikaMusic) or my website www.gaurikamusic.com for updates as they are announced.