Everybody’s half dead!, says Nina Simone, the opening voice on Gabrielle B.’s Feel Something. Simone’s monologue is a startling reminder to be present, especially in this moment, where it’s easy to tune out a lot of people and things, to become desensitized and not feel anything. In line with Nina Simone’s monologue, Gabrielle B.’s project is just that, a charge to feel something.
Last week, Gabrielle B. released her third project, Feel Something an emotive collection of songs filled with lush guitars, Hip-Hop samples, and satiny vocals. Following the release of her EP, we talked about her development as an artist, leaving Oklahoma for New York, and much more! Here’s our conversation:
Stanley: With Feel Something being your third project, how do you feel you’ve grown as an artist and person with each project?
Gabrielle B. Feel Something is lucky number 3. My first project was me sort of testing the waters with this music thing. I knew I was on to something but didn’t know what until I released my 2nd project “Shift”. After Shift’s release, I was like okay, I think I can do this lol. So with Feel Something, I went into it knowing exactly the vibe I wanted to create and knowing exactly how I wanted my audience to feel when listening to it. I’m more confident than ever in my sound now and feel like I’ve really found my voice.
Stanley: You’re originally from Oklahoma, but you’ve been living in New York for close to two years now. How’s your transition to New York City been? Has living in a new place - NYC specifically - inspired you artistically?
Gabrielle B.: Born in raised in OKC but I’ve only been in Brooklyn now for 7 months! I moved here in September of last year. My transition was not an easy one for sure. I literally packed up and left everything I knew for a city I knew nothing about. It was my first time ever being here so I had a lot of adjusting to do. Being here though I’d say has inspired me to dream bigger. Way bigger.
Stanley: I think the title and theme of your project - Feel Something - is really interesting, especially the opening monologue. Could you talk a bit about what led you to that theme and who is that speaking in the opening monologue?
Gabrielle B.: So Nina Simone is speaking in the opening monologue. It was from an interview of hers where she talks about having no fear. It was the part I used specifically, that inspired the project. There’s a lot of music out there that’s good and grabs people’s attention, but only for so long. Not much of it was making me feel anything. So with each song I recorded, I wanted to hone in on an emotion and I wanted that emotion to be felt within each song. Of course people interpret things how they want but at the end of the day, I literally just wanted people to feel something.
Who are some of the producers and artists you worked with on this project? What was the working relationship like? For example, did you have an idea of what you wanted then translated that to producers?
Gabrielle B.: So of course I get asked this question a lot when it comes to producers I work with when in actuality, all I do is get on YouTube and search for beats lol. I haven’t gotten to experience that one on one interaction between myself and a producer which is what I want to do when I record my first album. There’s a producer named Gambi, who produced Close to Me on this project and No One Else (But You) on my last. So I was familiar with his work and he always has the vibe I’m looking for. I recently discovered producer J. Grooves who produced Easy which was the type of song I’d been wanting to record for a long time now.
Stanley: I love Close To Me! I don’t really have a question, I just like it a lot lol, and was wondering if you could talk about how the song came together?
Gabrielle B.: Close to Me is my favorite too! lol I want to say it was the first song I recorded and once I did, I knew that was what I wanted the tone of the project to be like. It’s something I literally will put on and dance around to in my room because it just gives me that feeling. I probably wrote it within just a couple of days after falling in the love with the beat within seconds of hearing it and is honestly the track I’m the most proud of out of all the songs I’ve written. I feel it showcases who I am as an artist to the fullest.
You can stream Gabrielle B.’s album below!