All Hail Our New Australian Disco Diva

We first heard Gabriella when ‘Sweet About Me’ graced the airwaves. Now a few years on she has come back with the most amazing disco album of the year so far. Simon Savidge caught up with her to discuss a whole new sound, getting saucy and disco balls tickling her fancy…

gabriella

Now the new album Ten is quite a change from the last album isn’t it?

It is indeed, it’s no fun doing the same thing twice is it? I am one of those people who have a really short attention span so I did keep on changing my mind as to what kind of sound the second album would have. For quite a while this was going to be a very piano led album and then a friend of mine lent me a Donna Summer album ‘I Remember Yesterday’ and I became obsessed. So that was where it started properly with this album I found a sound I loved and could bring a modern twist to as well. I was watching Flashdance and Fame too… it was a camp time. The 80’s synths are turning me on at the moment.

People said it was going to be a R&B album, were you going to do a Madonna?

That started as I wanted to do some stuff with Danger Mouse who is one half of Gnarls Barkley. I wasn’t going to do a Madonna though and go R&B that was a bit weird (laughs)… I love old school Madonna. (Starts singing) Get into the groove boy…

It’s a bit of a saucy and sexy sound isn’t it? Is this the inner Cilmi-minx coming out?

Yeah I think so. Again I blame Donna (laughs). I think I currently find it really easy to write sexy songs; in fact people have actually been commenting on it recently (laughs) saying ‘does everything have to be sexy with you at the moment?’

They say the second album can be the difficult one, did you find that with ‘Ten’?

Oh do you know what… I was freaking out with this album because I only had a year to write it, whereas, with ‘Lessons To Be Learned’ I had three years. I was also travelling all over the world and recording here, there and everywhere, so it was quite an emotional rollercoaster. I don’t think it would be as good without all the drama (laughs) I fell out with people over this album, it was an experience.

Why the title ‘Ten’?

I have always been a little superstitious and this year my birthday is the 10th of the 10th of the 10th so it seemed a sign. I always like to sit in seat 10 on a plane… have I started weirding you out yet? My Grandma was really superstitious too she apparently wore the number 12 round her neck as in Italian that number is good luck so people shouldn’t fear it. Mind you if you now break your superstition and it all goes wrong don’t blame me. (Laughs.)

British gay men love Australian women, do you know why that is? I mean seriously there’s Kylie, Kath and Kim, Olivia Newton John, you…

I think maybe it’s our attitude, we like to throw ourselves into life. We aren’t afraid to have fun and push the boundaries and go crazy. I don’t know. (Laugh) It’s not the accent is it? Don’t you just love Pru and Tru (from Kath & Kim)?

Now you have a big gay fan base, which with this album is bound to grow, is that important to you?

Oh definitely. Gay men are really dedicated to their music and I think if a gay guy likes your music you know you are doing something right!

Now then you and Lady Gaga…

Oh do you know what this got so blown out of proportion (giggles). This actually all started from me saying last year at the Brits ‘I don’t know how she does it wearing those short shorts in the freezing cold weather’, which was meant as a sign she was being brave. Next thing the press took that and made it sound like I called her ‘a disgusting sex maniac’, which I totally don’t think, she’s an amazing artist. (Laughs) I wouldn’t want to pick a fight with Gaga that’s for sure!

So what do you think the future holds for Gabriella and what sound might you try next, heavy metal?

(Really laughs) Can you imagine? Actually deep down inside I am a bit of a rocker so you never know. I want to try a bit of everything; it spices up a live show doing lots of different sounds. I might do a Country album next but disco and synths have really got my fancy at the moment and I think that might last a while. It’s all about glitter balls and dancing.

Gabriella’s amazing album ‘Ten’ is out now. www.gabriellacilmi.com

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