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GABBY YOUNG and Other Animals (Burlesque Folk, UK)

GABBY YOUNG and Other Animals (Burlesque Folk, UK)

Founded in 2007 and fronted by a flame-haired eccentric female English singer/songwriter, Gabby Young and Other Animals is an eclectic British alternative pop band.

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At 12 (and born in Bath), Gabby Young was the youngest member of the National Youth Choir. When Thyroid Cancer threatened to take her classically trained voice at the age of 22, Jeff Buckley and Jazz Music inspired her to try a new path and record her own story in songs. 

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Gabby took her voice and guitar - and formed her existing band (normally using 5 to 7 instruments, such as trumpet, violin, trombone, piano and accordion), delving into Balkan brass, jazz and swing.

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Arriving for the first time in Romania, on June 12th @ Diesel Club, Cluj-Napoca …and on June 13th @ Control Club, Bucharest, we decided to have a go and find out who Gabby Young is. 

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Here is the email interview from the end of May, 2014.

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RiCo for CZB.ro: Have you visited Stonehenge often as a child? Has this ancient monument inspired you spiritually in any way? What was it like before they fenced it in?

Gabby Young (Gabby Young and Other Animals): Haha, no I never did until the fences arrived which was so frustrating, especially after I first saw Spinal Tap and realised I lived pretty close to the site! I did however spend a lot of time at the lesser known but arguably more impressive, Avebury Stones, as a friend lived there and that place is magical and very inspiring.

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RiCo for CZB.ro: How did you make it into the National Youth Choir of Great Britain at 12? What was your reaction when you found out you had been accepted?

Gabby Young (Gabby Young and Other Animals): I was over the moon! Singing has always been pretty much the only thing I am good at but sadly wasn't the 'coolest' thing in school. 

However, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain was full of people that loved singing as much as me and when I was with them I felt like I finally fit in and had so many wonderful friends there. I remember doing the audition so well - it was at the stunning Winchester Cathedral - and they said you are too young for this choir but let me sing anyway and a few weeks later - I'd got a letter saying I got in. 

It was the start of something beautiful for me!

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CZB: How do you consider your brush with (thyroid) cancer has influenced you artistically?

Gabby Young: Cancer totally changed my life but actually all in good ways... I was living with my parents in Wiltshire, surrounded by fields and not much else and although I loved it - I was stalling and compromising my music by playing in rock bands and working in an office. When I discovered I had cancer everything stopped, I got a chance to restart my life and when I had recovered I decided to jump in the deep end and move to London to do my music 100%.Then, in London, everything started falling into place and a few weeks into it I met Stephen, who is a huge part of my life and music. Artistically, it has really broadened my horizons and made me a lot more open to new people, ideas and types of music. I am very thankful to it in a way - it made me who I am today.

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CZB: Did you discover Jeff Buckley before or after your fight with cancer and how did his music inspire you to give up on your classical music career?

Gabby Young: Oh this was some time before. I was 17/18 - during the last years of school and a lovely friend, who introduced me to a lot of good music, lent me 'Grace' saying his voice reminded her of mine... which was an odd thing to hear and at first I, stubbornly, didn't like it but luckily I gave it a chance and it has become a pinnacle of my career as that day I went from wanting to be an opera singer to deciding to write songs and do it my own way!!

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CZB: How did you gather the Other Animals? How did the line-up come together?

Gabby Young: Oh many different ways actually - we have been through a few different guises as we started as a group of friends that I rustled up from separate parts of my life and borrowed from other bands but as we got more serious we had to let people go to carry on with their own chosen careers... now we have a band of musicians and we all want to do the same thing - live off music. Stephen (Ellis) and I are the only ones who have been in it for longer than 4 years, Paul was a tuba player brought in by our old trombonist as they were at college together, then he found a drummer. The trumpeter is the son of a friend of the family who stepped in last minute for a gig and has stayed ever since and the violinist I found on twitter through our mutual friend and talented songwriter, She Makes War.

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CZB: Being a DIY artist, do you consider the online media approach of Facebook gigging or the old-school club touring with a van more important in 2014?

Gabby Young: I think both are as important and exciting as the other with the exception that nothing will ever beat that magic of a live concert - especially a really good one. The connection I get from the audience is so special and I feel so honoured to get that every night BUT I love the fact that I can turn on the computer and play to anyone in the world and still get a connection. It's different but it still means so much to me and I think to them too. The internet has made it possible for everyone to come together - no matter where you live, what you do, who you are - you can hear and connect to a lot more music these days and I, personally, think that is rather special too.

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CZB: How did you discover Kickstarter and how has it worked for you?

Gabby Young: We have done crowd funding since 2009. For the first album we launched Become An Animal where you could sign up to our site for a different tier of funding Bear at £75, Tiger at £50, Mole at £10 for CDs, signed photos and other special prizes. This was before the crowndfunding platforms started - and when they did, I was so happy that it was easier to connect with the audience so in 2012 we did a Pledge campaign to raise money and have our fanimals in the video - In Your Head. Kickstarter was a natural progression as I have wanted it to be available for the UK since it started and when it became, I was excited, as it was perfect timing for our next project - the 3rd album. We couldn't have made the album without Kickstarter and, of course, our amazing backers. I am so thankful to every one of them for believing in us enough to invest their own money - it means the world to me. 

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CZB: The It's All In Your Head video has three different endings to it, which the viewer may pick and choose to watch. Who had the idea and how much time was added to the working process in finishing the video? It is a shame that people are superficial and don't catch on to this; I found fewer than 1,000 clicks on both the Bear and the Gorilla endings…

Gabby Young: The brilliant Love Love team came up with all these ideas and we all got so excited doing them - I LOVE all endings but understand that not a lot of people quite 'got it' as it's a brand new idea and will take some getting used to. 

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CZB: Do you design and make your own stage outfits or are you an expert thrift shopper?

Gabby Young: Definitely the latter - I have tried to make clothes but I'm just not very good at making things, sadly! I will one day overcome my fear of actually making a dress with my sewing machine instead of many cushion covers and pincushions but until then I am very lucky to work with amazingly talented people who make beautiful clothes. I also love to support up and coming designers - and love vintage - and the sport of e-bay shopping!

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CZB: Is the Unicorn one of your favorite mythological animals? I've noticed it appears in at least a couple of your videos. Why is the Unicorn significant to you? 

Gabby Young: Ooh I've never thought of that before - I do like all, well, most creatures and still think Unicorns might be real - but they definitely represent my love of fairytales and magic which I try and bring to my music too.

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CZB: You love animals. You started out with the Become an Animal fundraising page for your debut album; from the name of your backing band to elements you use in your animated videos, to calling your supporters Fanimals… what kind of charities or foundations would you like to support when you become a major artist?

Gabby Young: I do - I grew up surrounded by animals - it was practically a farm - horses, goats, chickens, cats and always dogs - many dogs! I do support a few animal charities - Battersea Dogs Home rehouse unwanted pets, Dogs Trust are amazing too but really the charity I feel closest too is Cancer Research and I will do everything in my power to help them.

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CZB: You've already played in Japan and Australia although you are a fresh act; how did you get in touch with Diesel Club in Cluj-Napoca and is this your first Romanian gig?

Gabby Young: We're so excited to finally be coming to Romania! We have never been here before and it's been a dream of mine to come to East Europe for a long time as I am so influenced by the traditional music there. We are lucky to have found great booking agents, Charmenko for this region - so we'll be back lots now!! :)

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Interview conceived by: RiCo

Thanks going out to Gabby Young for her time and 

Ciprian Bota from Diesel Events Cluj-Napoca 

for making this interview possible.

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Gabby Young and Other Animals' first album, We’re All In This Together, was funded by the fans through the band’s Become an Animal page (for £12.50 you became a Mole, for £25: a Bear and for £65: a Tiger). At this point their recognition took off followed by worldwide touring. 

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Critics have tried to coin their eclectic style of avant-garde music clinging on to jazz, folk, gypsy, opera, folk, cabaret and world music elements. The British band has its own unique sense of imagery, promoting the idea of Circus Swing or Burlesque Folk in their presentations.

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GABBY YOUNG and Other Animals:

STEPHEN ELLIS

NIALL WOODS

OLLIE HOPKINS

RICH WATTS

PAUL WHALLEY

MILLY MCGREGOR

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Discography

  • We’re All In This Together (2009)
  • The Band Called Out For More (2012)
  • One Foot In Front Of The Other (2014)

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www.gabbyyoungandotheranimals.com

www.facebook.com/GabbyYoungandOtherAnimals

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http://www.giftofthegabrecords.com/

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Image courtesy of Gabby Young and Other Animals

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