Gabrielle Williams grew up in a family that loves to sing. So whatever path her life eventually takes, music will always play a major role.
In an interview with Bajan Vibes, the sweet-singing youngster spoke about her journey and love of the art.
“I began singing from as young as I can remember. Not only did I grow up singing in church, but I was surrounded by a family who loved to sing. My mother is a classically trained vocalist and music teacher and my dad is a singer at home and a lover of ‘oldie goldies’.
“One of my most lasting memories is of my dad composing songs about my baby brother when he would cry and singing them to him. However, I was only officially and classically trained when I entered the music programme, and that was by Ms Evelyn Mcclean.”
She continued: “Apart from my life not going to plan, my mother and sister were my inspirations. Seeing them at their portfolios and recitals, I loved seeing them enjoy it and I wanted to experience that feeling.”
The 22-year-old enjoys performing gospel especially with the band Xpressions and loves old school pop.
“I love listening to pop music, whether gospel or old school. The top songs on replay for me right now are Runaway’ by Ch’An, My Soul Says Yes by Sonnie Badu and I Love You Baby by Frank Sinatra. The message of a song usually gets to me first, and it’s usually tied to how I am feeling; that is the power of music. I like Ch’An, Lagoon Wavy, Two Mile Hill and more just playing in my ears every time I get the chance.”
Gabrielle has attended The Seventh Day Adventist Primary school, The Springer Memorial Secondary School, The Combermere School and the Barbados Community College.
“I went to The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus, but it is one of my greatest failures and successes to this day. I lasted a year at UWI doing a double major in Biology and Ecology. However, that failure allowed me to pursue an Associate Degree in Music at the Barbados Community College, following in the footsteps of my mother and older sister, where I thrived and enjoyed every second of it.”
“I am currently pursuing my BA in Arts and Entertainment Management at the Barbados Community College (lol, yes I am still there), after doing an Associate Degree in Music and a diploma in Television and Radio Broadcasting.”
She continued: “My ultimate dream right now is to be a news anchor on the BBC World News. I would love the opportunity to fuse marketing, media and music while really utilising my current degree.” She also wants to be a Future Arts and Entertainment Manager.
The songbird is inspired by Ch’An, Mahalia, Phillip 7, Alix Cage and G-Syndicate. She says her favorite international artistes are Whitney Houston, Tina Turner and Lady Gaga.
Gabrielle has performed at Tin Pan Alley, City Nights, The Marlon Legall Voice Project, BCC’s Music Portfolio and with the band Xpressionz.
“My main goal is to showcase the talent God gave me. To do that, I focus on conveying the story of the song and really share that with the audience while genuinely enjoying myself, because if I don’t enjoy it, no one else will. The room could be empty and I would still have a ball because even before the audience, I aim to just really get into the music itself…”
Based on her personal goals, Gabrielle’s future seems busy but bright.
“I want to release a few of my original songs within the next five years; learn to do runs like Ch’An and Alix Cage; obtain Grade 8 in voice; participate in the Classical Music Festival within the next three years; master the piano and violin and learn to play the steel pan.”
The artiste who loves watching live music performances and enjoys open mic shows, shared her own views on the local music industry.
“I truly believe that we have amazing talent here in Barbados that covers all aspects of the Arts. I would really like to see a blooming and lucrative music and arts industry in the island and I honestly believe we have the talent to do it. Funds are a whole other issue but that is why the industry needs to truly become a united one. I have had the opportunity to see some of the upcoming performers, artistes, managers, planners and visionaries, so I think we are in good hands.”
To secure the future of the industry, her advice to upcoming talented youth is simple: “Being the best pianist, vocalist, sculptor, visual artist, etc. is only half the equation. You need to know who to market your product to, what your art is worth, how to present yourself as a brand and how to manage your money. Without the added knowledge, you are limiting the capacity in which you can grow. Experience the world, learn and engage various cultures and people. The world is too connected [for you] to be limited by anything…”
For her, family is everything. “After God and myself, my mother and family are the most important people in my life, my mother’s opinions and thoughts sometimes are a major guiding factor in my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way because she wants the best for me.”
She said: “My motivation is twofold. When I am not motivated or I do not believe in myself, my mother, sister and close friends are right there supporting, encouraging and believing in me even more than I do sometimes. However, my consistent need to improve and to be proud of the person I am, keeps me going.”