This post complements my article on Examiner.com.
Denver-based singer/songwriter Gabrielle Louise is an indie musician; but whatever sound or image that classification puts in your mind, don’t trust it. Even if you’re correct in your assumptions about her music, you probably won’t be correct for long.
Although Gabrielle has a distinct sense of identity as a folk/Americana musician, she doesn’t stay corralled there. Her songs also carry pop and jazz sensibilities, and even a Latin vibe on occasion (she’s been known to include tango dancers in her live performances). She’s performed solo and with several band configurations, and always seems to be reinventing herself. I don’t mean she reinvents herself in the sense that U2 reinvented themselves after 10 years; I mean Gabrielle is still young, has released 4 indie records since 2006 (and is beginning work on a fifth), and has ventured into more diverse musical territory in that time than most artists do in an entire career.
When you peer into Gabrielle’s history, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she is so prone to wander. Music and wanderlust are both inherent in her background; her parents were “musical gypsies” who, in her words, “were playing gigs six nights a week right up until the evening of my birth, so I suppose I was hearing all sorts of messages from the womb that said something like ‘in the future you will suck at math, have ugly calloused fingers and hum incessantly.”‘
That gypsy spirit not only carries over into Gabrielle’s chosen career as a musical troubadour–it also explains the wanderings of her musical style. She has a definite artistic “center”, but locking into one form of musical expression for too long–that’s something her insatiable curiosity just can’t allow. She’s a musical gypsy–not in the sense that she plays gypsy music (yet), but in the sense that she’s as much a musical wanderer as she is a traveling musician.
To some, this might be a negative, as though Gabrielle doesn’t know who she is, and needs to “find herself.” Gabrielle possesses a songwriting depth and vocal abilities that could easily land her a record deal–but knowing the industry, they’d want her to pin her down into a predictable genre. The irony is, if she did that, she would actually lose herself, rather than find herself–because musical wanderlust is part of who she is. The gypsy spirit is the very thing that keeps her fresh as a musician; without it, she’d likely lose the creative spark that makes us want to listen in the first place.
The beauty of being an indie musician, though, is that it gives Gabrielle the freedom to keep exploring, to keep expanding her horizons. And so she continues to make her music, to keep wandering–and to keep inviting us into her journey.
If you’re in the Denver area this weekend and want to hear for yourself, Gabrielle Louise will be doing a show Sunday, April 4, at Dazzle Restaurant and Loungeat 930 Lincoln, beginning at 6:45 PM. Cover charge is $7. During part of the evening, she’ll be playing the entire tracklist planned for her next recording (she goes into the studio this month).