INTERVIEW: Emily Gabriele

Welcome to VENTS! Thank you for your time. Can you tell us a little something about yourself?

I love words. You’ve been forewarned.

We would love to hear more about your music journey – where you started and where you are now.

I was formally taught how to play the alto saxophone when I was nine years old. I stopped playing around the age of fourteen. That’s when I picked up the guitar and taught myself how to play. I started writing songs around then but I use the word ‘songs’ very loosely. What I was writing barely had any structure. I can’t recall finishing many original songs. What I would do is learn other songs and perform a set full of covers at a few coffee shops in the surrounding area of my hometown in New Jersey.

Then I went to college at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, not too far from where I grew up. I played at a bunch of local events around campus. I was known for writing and performing these original ‘spoken word/rap’ verses that I would embed as the bridge of the songs I covered and performed. That was the start of me gaining some confidence in my writing abilities.

By the end of my time at Rutgers, I finally felt a little more confident and courageous in my songwriting. I wound up connecting with other talented musicians and writers. One of which asked me to sing back up vocals on his band’s album. In exchange for my time and talent, he offered me a few studio hours. From there, he recorded and produced three of my original songs for my first EP, the EG EP.

After I graduated I got a job in New York City working at an experiential marketing agency. The job required me to travel very frequently. It was great for inspiration – I continuously wrote and recorded voice memos of my ideas on my phone – but I didn’t really have much time to invest in a musical career.

I was fortunate enough to connect with a BK-based producer, Matt Basile, who allowed me to book studio time with him, sporadically. We started working together in 2015, and by the middle of 2018, we had completed a good amount of tracks. I thought if I don’t release these tracks I’ll just die with them, and no one will have heard them, where’s the fun in that? So I decided to release a project at the top of 2019. The project is called  Special Delivery. It’s available on all streaming platforms (shameless plug!).

Following the release of Special Delivery, I performed all around NYC and the surrounding area. By the top of 2020, I had gained enough traction to get a Friday night headliner spot, downstairs at The Bowery Electric in the lower east side of Manhattan.

Today, I’m steadily writing songs, performing (I performed via Instagram live on 4/6) and investing in my craft. I have a single, “Monday” that will be released on Monday, April 13, 2020. Keep an eye and ear out for that!

How would you describe your musical style?

My musical style is overall pretty pop-based. I have some undertones of rock and blues. I draw inspiration from other iconic female artists, like Alanis Morrisette, Sheryl Crow, and Stevie Nicks. I really strive to write a cohesive, relatable, singable song. I grew up diving deeply into The Beatles’ entire body of work, and they are extremely talented, prolific, pop songwriters.

Things are a little crazy at the moment. How are you making the most of what is going on?

How about this weather we’re having? Ha. All anyone is talking about is the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s become a topic that is addressed as frequently as the weather these days. Don’t misunderstand me, the state of the nation, and of the world, is a grave matter. There are not only lives but livelihoods that are being deeply affected. Ultimately, we all need to do our part, listen to the experts in their respective fields, and stay home. That’s exactly what I’m doing.

That being taken into consideration, it’s tough to set any sort of expectation or standard for how to ‘make the most’ of this situation. I go with the ebb and flow of creativity, as I always aim to do. Some days I am very creative and productive. Others, I’m not.

What would you say is your most braggable moment?

I celebrate “small wins” every day. I have to, that’s what keeps me motivated. When I hit over 1,000 streams for a single song on Spotify, when I reach out to connect with someone in the industry that I admire and I receive a response, when I start to write a new song – all of these are examples of “braggable” moments for me. They are small wins, and small steps, that propels me, my artistry and my creativity.

What has been the greatest lesson you have learned from a mistake?

Do not shy away from a difficult conversation.

Why do you think social media is so important for artists today?

Social media is how we connect. As artists and on a greater scale as human beings, we seek a sense of community. Social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and even Facebook, are places where we can bounce ideas off of each other, and make announcements about ourselves and our work. Then maybe, just maybe we will receive some feedback. Social media is a launching pad for our ideas. It’s an opportunity for us to release our content outward-facing for the public, to see how it will be received. From there, it’s our role to take those learnings and do whatever we’d like with them.

How has this whole music career experience been?

Music and songwriting are the cornerstones of my being. Whether I pursue a career in music or a career in technology, I will always be drawn to expressing myself in the mediums of music and writing. Forming my native functionality as a human into a monetizable career is a horse of a different color.

I can wake up, work an entire day, and go to sleep still having a to-do list that is a mile long. I’m consistently trying to be on my forefoot and think of the next place I should invest my energy. To me, energy and time are the two most valuable commodities we have. Figuring out where to invest those commodities is a daily consideration I actively deliberate and make.

Do you have any advice for aspiring music artists?

I have three pieces of advice. Let me be very clear, these are simply my suggestions which have been shaped and formed from my observations and experiences.

  1. Record everything. This piece of advice is a recycled piece of advice I heard when I was younger. I was attending a panel and Wayne Barrow was speaking and someone asked him for advice. If you don’t know who Wayne Barrow is, I’d suggest looking him up. He played a huge role in Biggie’s career and has continued relevancy in the music and entertainment industry to this day. I digress. Record everything you do. Every studio session, the names of people you meet, even record yourself practicing, it will only help you in the long run.

  2. Know your goals. If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, how can you know where you’re headed? Make goals for yourself that are the building blocks to achieving greatness, whatever that looks like to you. If you want to make the best chocolate chip cookie the world has ever tasted, take small steps to achieve that. They add up. Maybe you wake up every day and read an article about the different types of baking chocolate. Then once a week you test out a new recipe. You make it a goal to enter a baking contest in your state by the end of the year. Create deliberate measures for you to take to bring you closer to your goal.

  3. Success and expertise don’t happen overnight. This ties in closely with knowing your goals. Expertise takes time. Practice your craft and invest in yourself. As I mentioned earlier, energy and time are the most valuable commodities. It’s vital to treat them as such. Figure out where you want to invest them and put your nose to the grindstone. Be consistent and steadily put in the work if you want results. To draw from a  Macklemore lyric, he wrote, “the greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint/the greats were great because they paint a lot.”

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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