Gabrielle Aplin started out as yet another kid performing covers of cheesy commercial pop songs on YouTube, belting out Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and amassing a significant following.
But, unlike so many others who are destined to languish within YouTube eternally, Aplin made it out – in a big way. After the songstress began to realise that people were genuinely liking her tunes and style, she released some songs on iTunes, followed those up with a few EPs, and – oh right, she started up her own record label before she even turned 18. But hey, who hasn’t right?
Fast forward to now, and Aplin has just released her first full-length record, English Rain, which shot right to the top of the UK charts. “I’m feeling really amazing,” Aplin gushes down the phone. “I didn’t have any expectations for the album before it came out, so for it to go straight to number two is amazing.”
The record was a year in the making, and the young musician explains that perhaps she had a little too long to work on it. “It actually ended up getting to a point where I’d finished it and I just kept changing things because I had so much time, and then eventually I just wanted to get it out there – but I’m very happy with the finished product!”
Aplin released her biggest single to date, a cover of classic ballad ‘The Power of Love’. It’s a stunning cover, stripped back and simple. But English Rain follows a different formula; though Aplin’s signature tunes are present, there is a much fuller sound, a bigger presentation. “I just wanted it to be completely perfect, and I definitely wanted it to be very big and to have the orchestras in there – so I went to town on that. Because of signing with [record company] Parlophone I was able to fund things that I wasn’t able to before, like the strings,” she says.
The lyricism exhibited throughout the record is fairly unpredictable, covering different themes and topics. “It’s mostly stuff that has happened to me or people around me, or things that I understand,” Aplin says. “I feel like I have to personally know something or someone to write about it.”
Much has already been written about the title of the record, English Rain, and all signs point to a proud Brit. “It was a bit random, it’s just a lyric in one of the songs…then when we put the strings on and the orchestra parts, we realised that I kind of have this English war-time feel. So that kind of brought it together. I think it’s been a really good few years for England, so I think it’s nice,” Aplin says of the mother country.
Australia got a taster of Aplin’s presence and musical style earlier this year when she toured as the support act for fellow UK artist Ed Sheeran, and the crowds embraced her with welcoming arms. And though there are no dates locked in quite yet, Aplin confirms that she is looking to head here towards the end of this year, to give us a proper taste of English Rain.
BY CHLOE PAPAS
English Rainis out now through Parlophone/Warner.