Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gabriella Cilmi

I'm doing another music person today.

Gabriella Cilmi

I know nothing about her except I like one of her songs.

I had Tim listen to it, and he says she reminds him of Amy Winehouse. I'm not familiar enough with Winehouse to know if I agree with him or not.

 I'm very ignorant when it comes to the music industry.

I do love Cilmi's voice. There are very few songs that I like the first time I hear them. " Sweet about Me" is one of them. But I didn't obsess over that one as much as I once did about "Go West" from the Pet Shop Boys. I heard that on a cruise ship back during my college days. There was this sense that I wouldn't find peace until I found that song. Not knowing anything about music (or who sings what) I found it quite a challenge. Eventually though....I found it. I'm not sure how, because I don't think Google even existed back then. I'm not even sure if I had an Internet account. We met people on that cruise. We exchanged phone numbers and snail mail addresses. I don't remember exchanging email addresses.

Anyway, I should get onto my subject of the day.

Wow. Cilmi is very young. I thought Missy Higgins was young, but Higgins is an old lady compared to Cilmi.

Gabriella Cilmi was born 10 October 1991.   In 1997, I was a student teacher in a first grade classroom. I think those kids were probably born in 1991 like Cilmi. That's scary. It makes me feel so old.

When I got married, little Gabriella would have been only eight years old. When I had Jack, she was just ten. It's shocking how fast time flies and how fast kids grow up.

Anyway.....

Birthday Website Time!

She's a Libra, and her numerology number is 4. Libra's are the romantic ones. The four is one who likes structure and order. I'm trying to imagine a person like this. They'd be romantic and they'd like to plan. How about a girl who starts planning her wedding while she's still in high school. She'd probably start reserving venues before she even met the future husband.

Cilmi was born in a suburb in Melbourne called Dandenong. Lord Wiki says this neighborhood has a significant amount of immigrants. It's about thirty minutes southeast of Melbourne's CBD.

Cilmi's parents are Italian. They're from a region called Calabria which is in the south near Naples. I'm not sure when they came to Australia and whether their Italian culture played a big part in their lives. Were they recent immigrants? Did they speak Italian in the home? Can Cilmi speak Italian? Did the parents meet in Italy and then move to Australia together? Or did they move to Australia separately? They could have met each other at some kind of Italian gathering type thing.

Cilmi has a brother named Joseph. Lord Wiki doesn't say if he's older or younger.

At a young age, Cilmi's voice abilities were recognized. But she was told she didn't have the discipline for a music career. Who told her that?

I'm not a big fan of people telling children they don't have what it takes for a certain career. Shame on those who try to shatter a child's dream. I do think it's okay to say something like Well, Gabriella. I think you sing very well. But you're going to need to work on having more discipline. You're going to need that for a music career. That's a lot better than saying You don't have enough discipline. You won't make it in the music business. Obviously she proved them wrong. Good!

Around this time, Cilmi sang with a band and did cover songs. She also recorded original songs with a company called The Song Store. Lord Wiki makes it sound so easy...like anyone can just start a music career whenever they want. He doesn't quite explain how she got mixed up with these Song Store people. How was she discovered? Did she have useful connections? Did she have someone giving her the support and encouragement she needed? Was she in the right place at the right time? Did she simply have the assertiveness and persistence that's needed?

In 2004, Cilmi was performing at Melbourne's Lygon Street Festa. She was just thirteen. She sang a Rolling Stones song and caught the attention of someone from Warner Music.

Okay. The Lygon Street Festa is an Italian festival, so it seems the Italian culture did play a part in Cilmi's life. Although wait. That doesn't necessarily have to be true. When we lived in NYC, we went to all kinds of ethnic festivals that had nothing to do with our own personal heritage.

Lord Wiki says Cilmi's performance at the festival was impromptu. Does he mean that particular Rolling Stones song was impromptu, or does he mean she actually wasn't a planned performance. Maybe she just started singing in the street and someone important noticed her. Isn't that every young teenager's secret dream?

Lord Wiki doesn't really explain what happened to the Warner Music guy. He just says that Cilmi went on a tour with The Song Store people. Maybe the chronology is off, or maybe I'm confused. Perhaps it was at the festival that she was first discovered. Then maybe the Warner Music guy hooked her up with the Song Store folks.

It does seem Cilmi's career took off very fast. She was offered multiple recording deals and ended up signing with a UK group called Island Records.

Two of her songs were featured in the movie Hating Alison Ashley. I encountered this movie while researching Rachel Carpani. Rachel Carpani has Italian origins too!

Cilmi's first album was released in 2008. It's called Lessons to be Learned. And my husband is not alone in his comparing her to Amy Winehouse. Lord Wiki mentions it as well.

It seems 2008 was a huge year for Cilmi. She had five singles from her album released and she won six ARIA awards.

"Sweet about Me" has been in commercials in Europe and Brazil. It's also been featured in Brazilian and Portuguese television programs. The song has been in the top of the charts in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Greece, Italy, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, etc. But it's been pretty much ignored by the United States.

Americans had a chance to hear another one of her songs..."Save the Lies" in the season premier of Samantha Who? WHO is the keyword here for me. I'm not sure I even know what that show is. Maybe it's the Christina Applegate one?

Yes! And I'm very embarrassed. It's quite a successful show. It's won Emmy's and Golden Globe Awards.

I'm looking at how her other songs have done compared to "Sweet about Me". They haven't really done so well. It kind of looks like Cilmi could end up being a one hit wonder. But that doesn't have to be the case. There's always hope.

This music blog talks about how Cilmi might finally be a hit in America. An American version of her album is going to be appearing this March. In January (this month, I guess?) VH1 named her as their You Oughta Know Artist. Cilmi isn't the only Aussie on the list. Lenka is on there too. I don't think I've heard of her. Well, now I have.

Here's a guy who is not at all a fan of Cilmi and was pretty unhappy that she won six ARIA awards. He says: All she had to fucking do was sing another mindless little ditty in the style of the day then leave it to this huge corpo-whore giant Warner Bros to spent millions engineering her album to perfection while compressing the fucking shit out of it.


The guy might have a point. I don't know. I just listen to a song and if it sounds good, I like it. I don't pay attention to the details. I don't worry if the singer has authentic talent or not. I'm ignorant that way.

I have to definitely disagree with him on this point: Basically we have no grass roots support from the government, from venues or from labels. Then at the highest level of ‘music awards’ are so fucking pathetic that I would rather accept an award compose entirely out of my own vomit and fecal matter, and to be honest that would probably be more credible in the eyes of most other musicians.

From what I saw yesterday during my research on Missy Higgins, I think Australia DOES have support for new artists. I was very impressed with both triple J Unearthed and Kool Skools. But maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about. I do definitely know I wouldn't want an award made from my own feces and vomit. I actually have a phobia of vomit so I'd find that highly unpleasant.

It can be tough to be a young singer-; or to try to invite a young singer to your establishment. A place called the Trademark in Sydney was fined for allowing an underage singer to perform.

I'm having a hard time finding stuff on this girl. I'm going through Google and mostly finding sites where you can watch her videos.

In this article, Cilmi denies being drunk during the ARIA awards. She said she was jet-lagged. I can totally believe that. Apparently she was a bit speechless during some of her wins. Her excuse for that is she didn't expect to win so many times. The poor girl ran out of things to say. I can buy that too. It makes total sense to me. I'm not saying it's impossible that she was drunk. That could be true too. I'm just saying the alternate ideas make sense to me as well.

Okay! I THINK I have the issue solved. I originally looked up Gabrielle Cilmi and then found out through Lord Wiki that she was Gabriella. I guess after looking at Lord Wiki's stuff, I accidentally returned to Gabrielle. There were tons of websites that said Gabrielle, so I figured Lord Wiki had it wrong. But then I couldn't find anything good--just forums, downloads, and videos. I plugged in Gabriella and now I'm getting stuff. I hope!

I'm now on her official site.

Really. I kept thinking; how did this girl win six awards and there's no decent information about her?

I had a tough decision just now. The site asked me to choose my country. I was torn between the US and Australia. I picked the US. Will I regret my decision? Did I do the wrong thing?

Maybe I'll read both. In the US one, it says "Sweet about Me" is being released this month. I'm guessing that's January. And then the album will be released in March.

 No, it's not January. It's November. So, the single must have been released already. I never listen to the radio. I wonder if it's doing any good. Well, since the website doesn't brag about it being on any charts, I have a feeling it hasn't met success yet. There's still hope though.

All right. Now I shall pretend that Australia is my country. Uh....nothing exciting there.

She's on MySpace. She last logged in today. Well, it could have been yesterday. It would all depend on whether she's in Australia or elsewhere. The 14th of January is today for me. For Australians, it's already yesterday.

 I feel so behind.

Gabriella says you can call her Gab. What about Gabby? I like Gabby. Actually, my favorite is probably Gabrielle. My main character in the novel I self-published (Thirty Cats) is named Gabrielle. I named her after a little girl I taught as a preschool teacher.

Cilmi says it's easier to write down how you feel. Is she saying for herself, or for everyone? I prefer to write things down, but I know other people who prefer to talk. I think these are the people who insist on phone communication. Call me!

Can't I just send you an email? I hate talking on the phone.

Cilmi wants to holiday in an igloo. Is that possible?

Yes, it is! Wow. You can do it in Switzerland, France, Austria, etc. I personally don't like the cold, but two of my best friends like all that arctic stuff. I'll have to tell them about this.

Cilmi scribbles all over everything. That could get messy.

She could live on cooking chocolate. Why cooking chocolate? Is that the chocolate that's unsweetened?

She's addicted to caffeine.

She wants to marry a cowboy and live in the desert. That's an interesting fantasy. She also says she thinks bass players are the hottest. I guess the ultimate man for her would be a cowboy that's also a bass player.

Her brother thinks he was Kurt Cobain in a past life. Cobain died in 1994. I guess this means her brother was born after 1994. Cilmi doesn't believe in past lives. I wonder what she does believe in?

Cilmi has 25,100 friends. She is very popular.

All right. I'm going to read a BBC interview with her now.

She says her parents have been supportive of her career.  It sounds though like she had to do a lot of convincing before they got to that place.

She's a big fan of Janis Joplin.

This is interesting. She's featured on a Sims 2 website. I miss that game. I have no time to play these days. " Sweet about Me" has been recorded in Simlish and is featured in Apartment Life. How cute! You can see her singing in Simlish here.

This website says "Sweet about Me" wasn't released in the US until January. I'm confused. November or January? Which one is it?

In Spring (the US version), Cilmi will be playing in an Austin event called SXSW showcase. This should push her American career a bit. It's happening in March--when we return from Australia. I doubt we'll go though.

Crap. I am so out of touch. This week is G'Day USA week. I guess that makes sense. January would be an appropriate month since it holds Australia day. Jimmy Barnes and Cilmi are performing at Carnegie Hall. That would have been cool to see. Maybe one year I'll go to one of these G'Day USA weeks; probably at a time when we're not heading over to Australia a few weeks later. To be honest, I'd MUCH rather go to Australia. Well, except for the plane ride bit.

Cilmi is participating in a charity event on February 13-15 that raises money to help young girls in India. Various celebrities are going to give something up...make a sacrifice. I'm not sure how that raises money. Maybe they get pledges? The article doesn't say what Cilmi is planning to give up for those days. I think I'd give up the Internet. What would you give up? What would be the hardest thing for you to give up for a few days?

Here's another interview. I like reading interviews.

She says she doesn't mind being in a deodorant commercial. And no she didn't get free samples of deodorant.

Onto the next interview.....

She says her musical career may have started when her dad bought a piano. But it seems he didn't buy it with the idea of his offspring becoming a musical sensation. He just thought it looked good in the house.

She talks about the Italian festival. Her uncle encouraged her to get up and sing. She was discovered....just like that. Wow. What I'm still wondering was it a last minute thing. Did her uncle just push her up on stage. Or did he get her to sign up before the event?

In this interview, Cilmi says that what her song "Sweet about Me" is trying to say is she doesn't like sugar in her coffee. I'm guessing that might be a joke. Or not. There's nothing wrong with doing a whole song about coffee. It's a little weird that a song like that won six awards, but what are you going to do?

She's slow at text messaging. Ah! We do have something in common.

In this other interview, she says that when she's on stage she's one of those people who has to look at everyone. I'm trying to figure out if I do that too. Not that I'm on stage a lot, but you know....those few times I did the Karaoke thing. I don't think I looked at the audience too much. I definitely don't remember anyone looking impressed with me. I have vague memories of people looking incredibly bored.

She likes playing with a Rubik's Cube. I don't. I have no patience for them.

She says she has seen more of the UK than Australia. Her favorite place is Nottingham. I had a friend from there in college. Nick Johns. I'm putting his full name out there because maybe he'll google himself. I've lost touch with so many college people. Where are you, people? Hello?

Maybe I should put out a bunch of names! That is such a good idea. Someone is bound to google themselves eventually. So, here we go. Kirsty Bennington (dreamed about her the other night) Matthew Whitley (my best friend at one point. So sad that I've lost touch with him), David Van Ness, Jesse Woodward (got a weird story about him. I'll have to share it one day). Susan Jarman. I'm sure there's more people. It's just I rarely remember anyone's last name.

I wish I remembered the last names of the guys from the Go West cruise. I had a crush on Evan and my sister went for his younger brother Darren. Then later (after the cruise) I realized I had a thing for Evan's best friend James. I wonder if my sister remembers their last names.

I've moved around so much and have lost touch with so many people. I'm always hoping that someone will run into my blog and say. Hey Dina! Remember me? I had hoped that would happen with Facebook. I hardly found anyone! I had over 100 friends but they were strangers looking to meet people. And that was great because I met three of my favorite friends that way. But still, it would've been nice to get in touch with people from my past.

All this because Gabriella Cilmi mentioned Nottingham. See, people? This is why I do not go to a psychologist. I would never be able to get anything done within an hour. The shrink would say one thing and I'd be going off in all kinds of tangents.

I do have to say that watching her interviews, I'm impressed with Cilmi. I think she's very beautiful. She has a nice body. She doesn't look malnourished. Her voice is interesting. She sounds much older than seventeen. And most importantly, I think she answers the questions well. She has a sense of humor. She doesn't try to be too cute. Well, maybe it's not that. She doesn't giggle. That's the thing. I'm impressed with her lack of giggling. I would giggle and make a fool of myself. And I'm thirty-seven. She's seventeen. Go figure.

Here she says she gets nervous before doing a show and feels she has to pee. That's totally me. I pee a lot and it's often on my mind. You know what I worried most about when I did the Sydney Bridge Climb? What if I have to pee? Yeah, and I also was a bit scared of falling or getting struck by lightning.

All right. I gotta say. I was very impressed with Gabriella Cilmi. But now I've just discovered eleven-year-old Abby from Virgina. Gabriella, you got yourself some competition.

I'm going to leave you with Abby singing Sweet on Me.

Note (totally off topic): My parents just gave me a wonderful coffee table book about Australia. I can't say Australia is the most beautiful country in the world. I can (and will!) say it's the most beautiful country to me.