Québécois singer-songwriter Gabrielle Shonk locates a raw vulnerability within an indie-folk sound on her debut self-titled LP released this past September. Tracing through her own experiences with a voice that pierces and taunts in equal measure, the 29-year-old has earned comparisons to the likes of Alicia Keys, Fiona Apple and Adele.
To kick off the new year, Georgie caught up with Gabrielle by phone at her home in Quebec City.
G—Could you tell us a little about your background?
Gabrielle Shonk—I am French Canadian. Actually, I was born in the States in Providence, Rhode Island, and we moved to [a suburb of Quebec City] when I was five or six. My dad is American and my mom is from Quebec City.
G—Is French your first language?
GS—Yes. I went to school in French and everything; my whole upbringing was in French in Quebec.
G—Your English is absolutely perfect.
GS—I would say English has always come more naturally to me; I love both though, but my main musical expression language is English.
G—Who would you say are your greatest musical influences?
GS—I like a lot of old stuff, from the folk scene: Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. I listened to a lot of soul music growing up, too: Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Al Green and Otis Redding. I have the vinyl of “Let’s Stay Together”, and listen to it maybe once a week and I never get tired of it.
G—Which aspect of the musical process do you enjoy more, songwriting or performing?
GS—I think it depends on the moment in my life. At the moment I’m feeling very creative, so I’m very much into writing music; but I do love performing live. I like being out there, meeting people and sharing the music. I’m going back into songwriting right now but I’m still playing shows, a bunch of shows.
G—What came first, was it writing songs or the desire to put yourself out there and share the music?
GS—I have always loved singing, but creating music came very young for me. When I was ten I would make up pop songs in my head and write the lyrics down; I was always creative in that sense. When I started playing guitar, I started by covering songs, but very quickly after I started writing my own songs, inspired from the chords I had learned. Writing was kind of omnipresent throughout my whole career. I have only been pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter in the last couple of years with the making of this record, but it has always been present.
G—How does it feel to have your debut self-titled album released?
GS—I feel as if I was waiting for this for such a long time, so it got to the point that when it finally made it out, I was ready for it. But I had to work through that in the process. I am a bit of a perfectionist – finishing and saying “this is done” was hard. In a few years I will probably look back and want to redo the whole record differently. But I see that in a positive way, because I want to evolve as an artist and move forward. It’s something I am proud of. It’s also great to watch the record get a second life though the eyes of the fans. They take such different meaning from it which makes me look at my own music differently. I love having the songs out there living their own lives.
G—Your hit single, “Habit”, was about a breakup. How do you feel about that relationship now and do you still talk?
GS—I wrote that song a long time ago. It was when my first relationship ended, which was a long one I guess. I don’t talk to him anymore.
G—Do you think he has heard the single and knows it’s about him?
GS—I have no idea. I don’t know if he knows it’s about him or if he’s heard it.
All my close friends know it’s about him. It was a case of two people who changed, broke up, and never bumped into each other again. It was a while ago, and I’m completely healed from that experience now. It’s interesting to see where life experiences can bring you, so much good has come from that song. It feels like a win for me I guess.
Morgan Saint was born into a creative life. Upon growing up in Mattituck, NY with a family of musicians on her mother’s side and parents who worked in interior design, Saint graduated from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, where she has lived for the past six years. With a major in illustration and a focus on photography and graphic design, Saint has executed a clear vision of her musical artistry. In 2017, at the age of 23, Saint released her debut EP, 17 Hero, on Epic Records. She is a storyteller at heart, combining all of her talents to reveal her narrative as truthfully as possible, one vignette at a time, as seen in all three of the EP’s videos, “Glass House”, “You”, and “Just Friends”. She co-produced each glossy, beautifully choreographed, and high-definition clip with Nathan Crooker, but the lyrics are all hers. They come from personal places yet are vague enough to be relatable. Her electronic pop is lo-fi, but you’ll most likely find yourself snapping your fingers to it. As Saint prepared for a sold-out show supporting Missio in Austin, Texas, Georgie connected with her to discuss coming into her own as a songwriter and
Listening to any track on EDEN’s debut album, vertigo, is like visiting your favourite city for the fiftieth time except nothing is quite where you remember it. The hotel is on the river, not by the park, and city hall is upside down. The Dublin-raised singer/songwriter/producer who began his career as The Eden Project, melted the best of indie, hip hop, and electronica into 13 deconstructed tracks for vertigo. Following two successful EPs, a shout-out from Lorde, and mid-way through the vertigo world tour, we caught up with EDEN to talk about his new record, and the musical evolution that brought him to it. G—From The Eden Project to the EPs to vertigo, you’ve had some pretty big changes in style. Does it feel that way to you or does it just kind of feel like you’re constantly evolving? E—I definitely see that. There are similarities [between I think you think too much of me and vertigo]—my voice still sounds the same (laughs) and there are various instruments that I just like using—but it’s about progression for me. I could never be someone to make End Credits 2 or something like that. It’s not interesting to me to stay
In the ten years since Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg started First Aid Kit, they have been going non-stop. The indie-folk duo got their start when their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” went viral, and have since released four albums, won five Swedish Grammis awards, and brought two of their idols to tears on live television. Following a brief hiatus, and four years after their last record, Stay Gold, First Aid Kit is back with Ruins, a raw account of losing love and finding yourself. In the middle of a North American tour, Georgie talked to Klara and Johanna about the new album and what brought them to Ruins. G—You’ve said in past interviews that Stay Gold was a more put-together, polished kind of album, and Ruins is a lot rawer. What caused that shift? JS—The production of Stay Gold is very lush and elegant, and I think that’s what we wanted at the time. But we started longing for this rawness, this almost lo-fi aspect that we had on our first records. [For Ruins]…our attitude was that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. If we sing a bum note or there’s a little crack