Indie Pop Artist Interview: Gabby Neeley

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Welcome to Le Café Music Blog’s Indie Artist Interview with LA-based indie pop artist, Gabby Neeley!

Let’s get right to it!

Intro

Ryan: Welcome, Gabby! Thanks for joining us today. Why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself.

Gabby: I am an eighteen year old Pop/R&B singer-songwriter from Orange County. I have been performing live for 6+ years. I currently gig at various locations in Southern California including The House of Blues Anaheim, and Copper Blues Live, singing and playing the piano. Right now I work as a hostess at a local restaurant and spend my free time studying to become a certified personal trainer. Rushing to sessions with my producer to work on my original releases, writing songs, and gigging at the venues that are fortunate enough to be open during this difficult time.

Ryan: Yeah, you’re definitely one of the lucky ones. Not a whole lot going on in Pennsylvania. It can be a bit depressing. So, tell me about your music.

Gabby: My artistry is a reflection of how I live my life through what I do. I never compromise the integrity of a song- whether I am writing it, playing it, or singing it. Embarrassing lines, stank faces, I put it all out there because the whole point my art is connection; and the best way I can do that is being honest in every form of the word. That’s what makes co-writing such a special experience for me, having the opportunity to share those vulnerable moments with someone and getting the privilege to help each other process emotions. Similarly, performing gives me the chance to connect with my audience in real time- something so foreign in our virtual world. That is why I gave up hangouts with friends/parties/dances throughout middle + high school to do music. 

New Song

Ryan: Awesome. Dedicated is good. Not many 18-year-olds have that quality. Stank face is also good. You had a new song come out recently. Tell us a little about that.

Gabby: block u out was created in a post-breakup pandemic world. I was stuck in quarantine with nothing to do but stare at my white walls and overthink every last thing about the relationship and where I was at mentally/emotionally. It was written in a momentary feeling of letting the social media game influence my view of the relationship when it was present, admitting ‘..Feels like you never loved me the way I loved you.’ When something cuts you so deep, it’s hard to not question why it look so easy for someone else to live life like the boat hasn’t been rocked at all. In the end, the rest of the EP will go to show the realization that just because two people love each other doesn’t mean they’re better together. Life is about learning from your losses and moving forward to greater adventures.

Ryan: Lets have a listen to block u out by Gabby Neeley!

Ryan: What I love about the song is that it is SO relatable. I’ve been in that situation too many times.

Influence and Collaboration

Ryan: Who are your biggest influences?

Gabby: My biggest musical influences can differ based on what genre we’re discussing. Or whether it’s my favorite producers as opposed to songwriter opposed to singers..really just depends. My favorite songwriters are Julia Michaels, Violet Skies, Chelsea Lena, and Bruno Major; Whereas my favorites producers are Joji, the Band Camino, and Mike Woods. Favorite singers are definitely Jasmine Sullivan, H.E.R., and Lizzy McAlpine. My binge-artist of the month is Ben Kessler. A voice I could listen to on repeaaattt.

Ryan: Nice. Some solid names on that list. You can choose one artist to collaborate with…who ya taking?

Gabby: I would love to collaborate with Eloise. Her music is timeless, very acoustic and folk yet pop/singer-songwriter and always feels like one big hug no matter what she is singing about.

Ryan: Eloise is great! Good choice.

Life Outside of Music

Ryan: If you’re not making music, what are you doing?

Gabby: Before last year, I honestly didn’t have any hobbies outside of music because I went from being  a full time student and partial professional musician to a full-time musician. But, after COVID hit, I saw an opportunity to make one of my other passions into a side hustle since live performing came to halt.  I am currently studying up for the big NASM exam to be a certified personal trainer. Now you’ll be able to come to me for all of your music and fitness/nutrition related needs.

Ryan: What is this “fitness” word you speak of? Never heard it before.

Ryan: If music wasn’t an option, what would you be doing with your life?

Gabby: If music wasn’t an option, I would be studying Psychology and be on track to become a therapist just like my mother. It’s really the only other career I could ever picture myself having and being fulfilled. With that being said though, as long as I have the ability to play the piano / sing / songwrite either all together or individually, that’s what I’ll be doing. 

Ryan: Hell yeah. It’s always an option. Have you ever had any weird day jobs?

Gabby: Well I’m not sure if this is weird but I am currently hostessing at a restaurant in addition to doing music full time, and the schooling for being certified as a trainer. It started out as being a job to merely cover the bills, but even though I could’ve quite a while ago with music picking back up a bit, I’ve grown to really love the environment and my coworkers. 

Ryan: Nothing wrong with that. I have had far too many food industry jobs. When you get to my age, you will have no desire to do it again. haha

Youth & Keeping it Professional

Ryan: What was little Gabby like?

Gabby: I was annoying as hell as a kid! LOL. Singing in the shower, car, living room, school hallways, you name it. I always laugh when friends or colleagues say that my family is ‘so lucky’ to be surrounded by ‘that voice’ all the time. I’m sure there were times before the vocal lessons and knowledge of how to not be sharp or flat with every note that came out of my mouth that they wanted to duck tape it shut. Haha. 

Ryan: I’m pretty sure every kid in the world was/is annoying a majority of the time. It’s not just you. haha. Let’s switch it up to present-day Gabby. You can go on a date with one musician…who are you picking?

Gabby: This is a hard one..?? I don’t even know, to be honest. I have always thought of other musicians in such a professional way because I’m constantly in the mindset of wanting to collaborate/work with an artist no matter their small or large scale of fame. Adding anything into the mix that could complicate those accomplishments has never really been in my mind. Especially being a woman in the industry, it’s even more important to keep things professional because of the extreme backlash we face unlike men, so that is why I think my subconscious breeded that mentality. 

Ryan: That’s fair. You know what they say, “Don’t shit where you eat.” That’s really gross when I see it written out. Yikes.

COVID

Ryan: How are you staying connected to your fans during this difficult time?

Gabby: During the pandemic I started live-streaming way more frequently to try and stay connected with anyone following my social pages. Sometimes I play a set I would’ve been performing at gigs, other times doing Q&A’s about original music, and then simply  just talking about random stuff when I was bored and felt like being around  people, but couldn’t due to the circumstances.

Ryan: Live-streaming is a great way to do it. It does cure the boredom too. haha. If you could perform live in any city in the world right now, where would it be?

Gabby: If I could gig in any city in the world, I would play the Pantages Theatre in  LA. I know you  were probably  expecting me to  say  somewhere more grand and ya know,  more than 50 miles away haha, but that  venue has always been on  my wishlist. I’ve seen so many artists play there that inspire me, like Finneas, Todrick, Billie Eilish etc. so the space feels like a hometown scene for me. 

Ryan: Hey, nothing wrong with picking your hometown. I’d probably pick AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong. As far away from home as possible. haha.

Digital Age

Ryan: How do you feel about the music industry going digital?

Gabby: If it were up to me, we would turn back time to when people had to purchase songs for $0.99 or watch the video on Youtube. I love the features on apps like Spotify when it comes to helping listeners discover new music and making playlists, but the app practically ROBS the creators of the very music in which it relies on to survive! The minimal rate it pays artists, producers, and most of all songwriters, is ridiculous and is making it mere impossible to support yourself as an indie artist in this day and age. Especially with the absence of live music being an option for revenue. It is a major issue that needs awareness and change!

Ryan: I agree. I love my Spotify as a fan of music…but I also know about the low payouts. Going digital is a great thing…as long as the creatives are being paid fairly for their work. What keeps you going in life?

Gabby: My daily affirmations keep me going. My family keeps me going. My therapist definitely keeps me going. Lol. Although I try to do everything on my own, in the end, you simply can’t as an independent artist. You will indeed drive yourself to madness. Trust me. Even if that means creating all the music (producing, writing, mixing/mastering) yourself, you still have all the post-fun responsibilities to take care of….art work, promo content, release strategy, marketing plan, budgeting plan, playlisting opportunities, press release, interview opportunities, etc to sort out. Reminding myself that although I’m capable to doing each of those things, that doesn’t mean I have to or should do it all myself, was a pivotal moment in my mindset and helped me keep going because I saved energy and time.

Ryan: Therapy is the best haha. And you’re absolutely right. A lot of artists don’t consider the promotional and marketing side of things. They expect their music to just magically be heard by millions of people. Good on you for recognizing that at such a young age.

This Sh** Is Bananas

Ryan: You know you have one day left on this planet. How are you spending that day?

Gabby: If I had one day left to live, I would go for a walk around the lake across the street from my house by myself. Take in the beauty of my surroundings. Go to the beach with my family, eat at our favorite restaurant, head over to Palm Springs to see my grandparents and play cards like we always do. No point in rushing to try and accomplish tasks or try new things I never got the chance to. I’d want to feel at peace, so rightfully so I would do things and see people I know bring me much of that. 

Ryan: Sounds like a nice relaxing day! How about if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life?

Gabby: BANANAS! Lol. Always been and always will be my favorite food. 

Ryan: You will never have a potassium deficiency.

Conclusion

Ryan: Alright, one last question. What’s next for Gabby Neeley?

Gabby: Lots of exciting things in the works I’m looking forward to.. But for now I’ll just say there is much more to come! I have many co-writes releasing this year, lots of originals from my own catalog that I’ll be releasing, and I’m currently taking on more vocal and piano students if anyone is in the market!

Ryan: Awesome! Looking forward to the new music!

Follow Gabby

For more on upcoming releases and all of those live streams, follow Gabby Neeley right here:

IG https://www.instagram.com/gabbyneeley/

FBhttps://www.facebook.com/gabby.leigh.779/

Spotifyhttps://open.spotify.com/artist/4nvgZDf1BDNYJovkWf0T47

Soundcloudhttps://soundcloud.com/gabbyneeley

Audiomachttps://audiomack.com/gabbyneeley

Bandcamphttps://gabbyneeley.bandcamp.com/

Websitehttps://www.gabbyneeley.com/

Have a listen to Gabby on Spotify right here!

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New Music Friday: 6 of This Week’s Top New Releases.

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It’s that time of the week again! All clocked out for the weekend and ready to discover some brand new music!

We have some early 2000’s nostalgia hitting us this week, so let’s start with that.

Foo Fighters – Making A Fire

This single comes off the band’s 10th studio album, Medicine At Midnight.

The Foo Fighters started in Seattle in 1994 by former Nirvana drummer, Dave Grohl, after the tragic “suicide” of Nirvana Frontman Kurt Cobain.

Hear what Grohl had to say about Cobain’s death and how he formed the Foo Fighters in this 2018 interview with ABC’s Anthony Mason:

Whenever I see a new artist that’s young and just blows up, and becomes gigantic overnight…I kind of get worried for them. I don’t think anybody’s cut out for it.”

Grohl was only 25 when he started the group. 26 years and 12 Grammys later, The Foo Fighters are still making great music. I guess Grohl was cut out for it, after all. The man is an absolute legend.

Here’s the new track, Making A Fire.

Are you afraid of the dark?
I know a place we can start
But if this is the last time
Make up your mind
I’ve waited a lifetime to live
It’s time to ignite
I’m making a fire

Hayley Williams – My Limb

This brings us to our second nostalgic sound of the week. Paramore lead singer, Hayley Williams dropped a surprise solo album today, Flowers for Vases/descansos.

This is her second solo album, which was written and performed in its entirety from her Nashville home during the pandemic.

The 32-year-old rocker intentionally leaked My Limb on January 28th, by driving to a Nashville fan’s home and leaving her a package containing a candle, a burnt copy of the track on a CD (like we used to do back in the early 2000’s,) and instructions to leak the single early.

“Neighborhood watch has really got a tight butthole right now”

Here it is. Officially released today, My Limb.

If you gotta amputate
Don’t give me the tourniquet
You wished that I would runaway
Sever what isn’t working

Cardi B – Up

Honestly, I’m just here for the comments section on this one.

Billboard’s 2020 Woman of the Year has released the second single off of her upcoming album, and just like her last single, W.A.P. Cardi holds nothing back with Up.

Cardi B songs always slap, and this one is no different. The beat hits hard and her flow is always on point, though she has caught a little flack for the hook. Mir Fontane and Mir Pesos claim Cardi stole their 2020 song, Stuck. While the hooks to both songs do sound similar, Chris Mench of Genius shows us that “If it’s up then it’s stuck” has appeared in dozens of rap songs. For Chris’ explanation and breakdown of the accusations, click the Genius link above.

This is NOT your kid’s Pixar version of Up.

But just for funsies, watch the opening scene from Pixar’s Up, then watch Cardi B’s Up…you’ll find yourself on a wild rollercoaster ride of emotions.

Also note: the music video is NSFW.

I’m not crying. You’re crying.
I could make the party hot, I could make your body rock
B*tches say they f*ckin’ with me, chances are they probably not

Can we also talk about the blatant disregard for COVID while the ladies slap their tongues together? Am I the only one thinking about that?


Dan + Shay – Glad You Exist

On a much more family friendly note, Dan + Shay are back with their air-tight harmonies and seemingly endless positivity.

The duo took to their Instagram, stating:

“To us, ‘Glad You Exist’ is more than just a song, It’s a message of gratitude and hope. A message to everyone in our lives: our fans, our friends, our families, to remind them all how grateful we are to be on the planet at the same time.”

Here is the country pop duo’s newest single, Glad You Exist.

Here’s to all the late night drunk phone calls that you picked up
Here’s to all the bad decisions that you didn’t judge
All the love yous and the hate yous and the secrets that you told me
Here’s to everyone but mostly us

Sia and David Guetta – Floating Through Space

This is the 10th collaboration between the two, and they clearly have a great chemistry between them. Out of the 10, they are most famous for Titanium, which was their first collaboration together, and Flames, which peaked at number 7 on the charts.

French DJ and Producer David Guetta has a nice collection of awards, including an American Music Award in 2012 for Favorite Electronic Dance Music Artist, two Grammy Awards for Best Remixed Recording, and DJ Mag’s World’s Number 1 DJ Award…twice.

Australian pop singer, Sia, really blew up as a solo artist in 2014 with her top 10 hit, Chandelier. She has released several hits since then, including Cheap Thrills and Elastic Hearts.

The duo strikes gold once again with Floating Through Space. Sia’s voice is perfect for this track, and the lyrics are up-lifting. If you’re having a tough day…listen to this one.

So today, baby
Remember it’s okay
We’re all floatin’ through space

FINNEAS – American Cliché

23-year-old Finneas Baird O’Connell is a singer-songwriter, producer, and actor. He’s most famously known for his collaborations as a producer and co-writer with his younger sister, Billie Eilish.

In a recent interview with Carolyn Droke of UPROXX, FINNEAS says the siblings are close to putting the finishing touches on Billie’s upcoming album.

But this isn’t about Billie. This is FINNEAS’ moment. According to Droke’s interview, fans “cyberbullied” him into finishing this track…and he said he is happy they did.

Personally, I’m glad they did too. I’ve always had respect for his artistry, and his voice is good enough for him to be as big as his sister is.

Finneas deserves some time in the spotlight. This track could be it.

Here is American Cliché.

I’m an American cliché
Missin’ a girl in a French café
I say, “God damn, you’re beautiful”
You blush and duck out of frame

There we have it. This week’s New Music Friday was fun! Let’s do it again next week!

Which of these six tracks is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!