On Sunday 10th December, Manchester singer/songwriter Gemma Moon gave us an early Christmas present in the form of her first single ‘Avalanche’, and I have had it on repeat!
I decided to catch up with Gemma to find out more about her music, writing, and of course, her new single!
First of all, congrats on the release of ‘Avalanche’! How does it feel to get the song out there?
Thank you very much! It is quite exciting and a bit scary to be honest, as it’s my very first song to release into the big wide world even though I have been writing songs for years! You are never too sure how it will go down or if people will like it, but you just have to get out there and take that risk! I feel the time is right for me now.
Tell us a bit about the song, and the writing process…
The song is typical of my writing style, quite abstract and metaphorical. Avalanche, uses the metaphor of the cold climate and the elements as symbols inc. breaking away, shedding struggles and rising again in a new chapter. I wrote in collaboration with the amazing producer & artist Two4Kay, who produced the track, it was just a fun session throwing ideas around. We liked the juxtaposition of the lyrics with the warm feeling of the calypso-esque beat and melody. Recording usually involves a lot of dancing around too!
Sounds like you definitely had fun recording then! You’re also part of Manchester collective Once More With Feeling, how does that effect your writing/recording?
The collective OMWF is made up of artists, producers, musicians in Manchester inc Two4Kay, Tobi Sunmola & Litek to name a few, just a little network of people who are all working towards the same thing, supporting each other, collaborating where it fits, sharing ideas and giving advice. We are like a little family! The other guys have definitely had a huge effect on my work and really inspired & motivated me! The studio sessions are so organic most of the time as we are really in tune with each other and play to our strengths, I think me bringing the baritone ukulele in and incorporating it with beats was a new thing that caught their attention too! My upcoming EP will have elements from all of these guys!
Sounds amazing! Now let’s talk about musical influences. You’ve been singing and performing since you were 16, have your influences stayed the same over the years?
Haha no! How long have you got? I have been through most genres and always been so eclectic: as a teen it was Missy Elliot, Destiny’s Child, Aaliyah all that 90’s-00’s RnB vibe because I was also dancing so much then too, also Erikah Badu, Jill Scott, jazz greats Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald…(thanks to my mum) However, I was simultaneously listening to R.E.M, Manic Street Preachers, Nirvana, Oasis, all the big indie/rock bands, Bjork, The Prodigy… it depended on the day really! Then as I got into my 20’s I got into more alternative and folkesque/rock stuff when I tought myself the baritone ukulele and began learning songs and writing my own… like Midlake, Fleet Foxes, Iron and Wine, Sigur Ros (love Icelandic music!) Tune-Yards, John Grant, Akron Family … is that too much? There is LOADS more!! I’m a total music geek!!! I like to think I have absorbed a little from each into my style and writing, and be as original as I can be.
You performed on the Carvetti stage at Kendal Calling this Summer- what was that like?
Performing at Kendal Calling was a fantastic experience,it was a real pleasure! It is such a great festival, nice muddy vibes and great people. It was the first time I had performed any of the latest material from my EP anywhere, so I was also a bit terrified! But I loved every second, got people dancing, got some great feedback, so much so that we are in talks about a possible slot on another stage next year… so fingers crossed, watch this space!
Which bands or artists are you listening to at the moment that we should be checking out?
Oooh well at the moment I am listening to Tobi Sunmola an incredible artist from Manchester with his latest ‘City of Dreams’ EP and trap dancehall king Two4Kay (obvs) JFDR an awesome, ethereal Icelandic band, but I have pretty much immersed myself in the new Bjork album Utopia! I just love everything she does!
And finally, what’s next from Gemma Moon?
Well I have been getting some good radio play and interest in the lead up to the official release of Avalanche on Sunday 10th December, got some shows and live sessions lined up in the new year. Also there are talks about festival slots for 2018 so it’s looking like a really good year already! Also 2018 will see the release of my debut EP which I cannot wait to share with you all!