Interview with Gillian Heidi
“I think that music is most powerful when it comes from a place of authenticity.“
For rising pop singer-songwriter, Gillian Heidi, 2020 has been a monumental year of steady single releases. She is concluding the year with her track, ‘Moonlight’, a heart-felt ballad about the exhilarating fear of falling in love for the first time. The track’s reflective lyrics, emotive harmonies, stripped-back instrumentals and exquisite vocals are a dreamy combination.
Though just sixteen years old, Heidi displays a poetic depth in her lyricism and musicality that is beyond her years. Her honest brand of melancholic pop has connected with fans who adore her thoughtful lyrics, catchy pop melodies, and her soulful voice.
With her debut album, 3AM, set for release next year, Heidi is quickly emerging as an artist to watch going into 2021. It was a pleasure to speak to her this week about her musical inspirations, the stories behind her tracks and the importance of authenticity…
How did you first get into music and what inspired you to start creating your own music?
When my brother started playing piano, I was inspired to do the same. I’ve been singing since before I can remember, but learning to play piano is what really inspired me to pursue music and songwriting. My first music teacher is the one who taught me how to write songs. The first song I ever wrote was about 10 lines long and was about going to the beach. I like to think that I’ve improved since then!
Who are your main musical influences? What is it about their music that inspires you?
Taylor Swift has always been one of my biggest influences. She’s the artist that made me want to be a songwriter. I look up to her so much. I think that her lyrical creativity is insanely advanced, and I strive to write like her. Sound wise, I love girl in red, Ella Mai, and Doja Cat.
Is your new single ‘Moonlight’ inspired by your own personal experience? What do you think is most special about falling in love for the first time?
‘Moonlight’ is definitely inspired by my own personal experience. When I was a freshman, I really fell for a guy for the first time. ‘Moonlight’ is all about the simultaneous fear and ecstasy that comes with falling in love for the first time. The song is so special to me and I think that it really encapsulates a lot of the emotions that arise during the honeymoon phase of a first relationship.
Your previous track ‘Wonderin’ has a very different feel to it. What is the story behind that track?
‘Wonderin’ is all about feeling like something in a relationship is off, but not being able to explain why. I felt as though I couldn’t trust the person this song is about, but I had no real reason why. ‘Wonderin’ is based on a real-life experience, and is one of my most real and most vulnerable tracks.
For this track you collaborated with Michael Christmas. What does he bring to this track?
I think that Michael’s verse brings a lot of colour to the song. His verse represents the point of view of the guy in the song, who is kind of dismissive and manipulative. I absolutely love Michael’s verse and I think that it completes the song.
If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would you choose and why?
Doja Cat! I love her so much. She is so versatile and talented! I always keep a lookout for her new songs and features!
How are you feeling ahead of the release of your debut album? What can people expect from it?
I can’t wait to release it! I’m super passionate about the album. 3AM is dark, mysterious, and unique. It definitely follows a path and it encapsulates a full emotional range over the course of the album.
Can you describe what your creative process is like?
My creative process fluctuates a lot, but I try to only write when I feel inspired because I find that my music always turns out better and more authentic that way. I usually begin with a line or two that I really like, and I build the rest of the song around that. Recently, I’ve been working on writing songs that aren’t true to me but are more like storytelling, and I’m enjoying that too. I don’t think that a song has to be a completely true story for it to be authentic, it just has to have authentic emotions.
You say that you strive for authenticity in your music. Why is this so important to you?
I think that music is most powerful when it comes from a place of authenticity. I never want to write or release music that isn’t true to me, that feels like betraying myself.
You love listening to music and feeling a connection to someone else. Of all the songs you have ever listened to, which connected with you most and why?
I love this question! When I really love a song, I always say that I wish I had written it. One song that I consistently say this about is ‘Begin Again‘ by Taylor Swift. The concept is incredible, and the whole song is so beautifully done and so visual. I wish I could’ve thought of it.
What can we expect from you over the next 12 months?
An album!! I can’t wait for the album, but I’m also working on some other super exciting projects. I’m hoping to work with some new producers and hopefully other artists. I can’t wait to keep sharing what I’m up to!
By Eveline Vouillemin