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Gay Times March 08 - Issue 354

Gabriella Cilmi

That's "Chill Me" to You.
Phew, you've got over the awkward name pronunciation. Now to clear up those pesky "The Next Amy Winehouse" labels. "It's a compliment to be compared to her," she says, " but I'm my own person too and I think my music is different; I write about different things." Double phew.
To be fair, the lazy "next..." label is tiresome. She can sing, she's female and she's called Gabs to her friends. What's more surprising is that she is only 16. Most of us would be lucky to have played bass in a crap Punk band, let alone be writing songs with Girls Aloud producer Brian Higgins.
"It's really funny, because when I started writing with him I was a crazy Led Zeppelin fan and I just wanted to do an album much rockier than what I came up with. But he showed me that even Led Zeppelin have a softer side; he helped me experiment with my voice and appreciate different kinds of music."
And it shows in songs such as Einstein, which starts off sounding like a cover of Soundgarden's soft Rock classic Black Hole Sun, while classy Pop turns like Save the Lies are Anastasia all over. The distilled essence of Glam Rock (she grew up listening to Sweet, T-Rex and Suzie Quatro), stops her debut album Lessons to be Learned from being just another saccharine Pop record.
The new single Sweet About Me, written after pillaging a Parisian record store for inspiration, is about "nothing being what it seems. This might sounds cheesy as well, but just because I'm young doesn't mean I don't understand what's going on." Fromage aside, it's not a patch on wanting to play G-A-Y (which she does). This comes from a girl who's never been to a gay club but who clearly knows how to jump up that Pop career ladder.
Come this time next year, if she's not trawling the gay circuit, we'll be on the lookout for "The Next Gabriella Cilmi".

Sweet Like Me is out on Island Records on March 10th

Words: Bob Henderson

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