Suffolk-based Gabby Rivers is a 16-year-old singer/songwriter who oozes confidence when on stage with her red guitar. Gabby was a nominee at the 2019 NMG Awards for the category ’18 & Under Solo’ and already has an impressive list of venues where she has performed: Cambridge Junction, Sound City, Latitude, The Apex and her list of gig dates are getting longer… and she is yet to release her first track!
Hayley: Let’s begin with you telling us how you started playing the guitar, writing songs and then performing.
Gabby: I started playing the guitar when I was 13 after doing open mics, once I learnt the basic chords I started to come up with catchy melodies and that’s when I started writing songs, the first few songs weren’t my strongest but the more writing I did, the better it got. With the performing side of things, I started out doing musical theatre at the age of 8 and I realised I enjoyed singing the most so I then did open mics from the age of 12 onwards and the more gigs and open mics I did, I got more opportunities which was great.
Hayley: Who are your influences?
Gabby: Bands such as Two Door Cinema Club, Florence and the Machine and Vampire Weekend but obviously there is a lot more.
Hayley: Which song do you most like to perform, and why?
Gabby: My original song “Game” this is because it’s a really upbeat song and I feel like the crowd like this one best as the reaction is always good and people can relate to it.
Hayley: Do you play other instruments?
Gabby: Just the guitar and singing.
Hayley: What types of music do you enjoy listening to when you are hanging out?
Gabby: Mainly alternative/indie music but also R&B and soul music.
Hayley: What’s your song writing process? Tell us how it works:
Gabby: I come up with a chord progression that is mainly upbeat or catchy and then I first off write the chorus mainly a line that is the main hook of the song and I base the rest of the song around this, so then I do the verses and so on. If I have a strong idea usually a song will take 30 minutes if not it could take up to 2 days.
Hayley: Do you remember your first gig? How nervous were you?
Gabby: My first gig was at a pub in Aldeburgh and I was so nervous, I had been practicing with backing tracks for weeks before but it ended up going really well.
Hayley: Are you at college/studying?
Gabby: I am currently studying Music Performance Level 3 at Access to Music in Norwich.
Hayley: When you are not making music, what hobbies do you enjoy?
Gabby: I enjoy dancing and acting in my spare time, but also sports such as netball.
Hayley: What’s your party trick?
Gabby: I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a party trick but whenever I am at party people try and play my music which is quite funny at times.
Hayley: What musician, other than yourself, have you ever wanted to be?
Gabby: Florence from Florence and the Machine because her stage presence and vocal range is incredible and has always inspired me.
Hayley: Anything unusual happened at a gig?
Gabby: Something that never happens and is unusual is moshing and crowd surfing, which happened at one of my Cambridge Junction gigs which was pretty cool.
Hayley: When did you last remember a dream?
Gabby: About 2 weeks ago, but I don’t usually remember my dreams.
Hayley: What artist/group would you like to support?
Gabby: Local bands I would love to support would either be Bessie Turner or Gaffa Tape Sandy however big bands I would love to support would be Two Door Cinema Club, Circa Waves or Sam Fender.
Hayley: Do you play/sing solo as well as with the band?
Gabby: I sing solo stuff at smaller gigs but bigger gigs I do with the band.
Hayley: How did you choose your current band members?
Gabby: I met my guitarist Jason at multiple open mics, the drummer Coran I met when he was busking and I asked If he wanted to jam at an open mic night and we then just started working together. And finally my bassist I met through Coran as they went to college together.
Hayley: If you could choose any singer/musician to join you for one gig, who would it be?
Gabby: Either Florence and The Machine or Freddie Mercury.
Hayley: When did you last wish you were invisible?
Gabby: When I was eight at primary school and had to dress up as a banana for a fair trade assembly because I was the only one that could fit in the costume as I was so tall.
Hayley: How often do you practice?
Gabby: I usually practice 3-4 times a week not including gigs and college.
Hayley: What’s next for you?
Gabby: My next gig is at Wild Paths Festival on 19th October in the library at Norwich and then the Hunter Club, Bury St Edmunds supporting Stretch Soul Gang on Saturday 16th November. Gig announcements are posted on my Instagram @gabbyriversmusic. Last of all my single ‘Game” is being released 25th October and I will release an EP early next year.