For a blossoming Gabrielle Current, enjoying her formative years, the influence of Jennifer Lopez was key. The pop-R&B artist’s mom was obsessed with J-Lo, and from the age of five, Current would soak in the live performances regularly screened on the family TV.
“I fell in love with her set – just the look, the lighting, how everyone in the audience was feeling this collective emotion,” Current says. “So I would stand on the coffee table with a broomstick or a piece of paper stuck to my face as a microphone and I would copy her every move. I knew that I wanted to pursue this as a career. Just be a performer.”
When she was done with school, she was able to take proactive steps, writing her own music and making connections with producers and co-writers.
“I love collaboration, so through meeting all of those creatives, I was able to learn tools along the way to help with my EP which is finally here. So that’s when I knew I wanted to make a career out of this and get serious.”
That EP is Virgo, a sweet and introspective body of work that highlights her glorious blend of R&B, jazz, pop and neo-soul. She thinks of the EP as a “Sonic Diary.”
“It’s a timestamp of the point in my life a couple of years ago when I was writing it,” she says. “I was so desperately longing to find love and validation through other people that I noticed this pattern around that time where I was losing a lot of relationships, whether that be friends, romantic relationships or family members. I realized along the way that what I was looking for was the love that can only come from myself. So all of the songs are talking about a specific relationship that has ended, but me choosing myself and that’s the only thing that matters in the end.”
New single “If I Fall” is a great example of that journal approach, resulting in a conclusion of self-love.
“There are five tracks on the EP, and I placed them in order,” Current says. “The beginning of the EP is clinging on to this relationship, and as we get towards the end, it’s when I finally realized ‘OK, I am all I need.’ So ‘If I Fall’ is towards the end of the project, and that is talking about a relationship that has ended but I am able to reminisce on it and find that it wasn’t so bad that it ended because I was able to gain an understanding of that person and myself, and why I’m better off being on my own because what I needed in that moment, that relationship was no longer serving me. I was able to feed that love and freedom within myself.”
That’s an incredibly healthy message – that people don’t need to rely on the love of others in order to feel valuable, worthy and important. Current’s lyrics are empowering and relatable which, blended with the accessible melodies, is a potent recipe. The EP was produced in L.A. by Austin Brown.
“We did go to New York to mix the project a couple of times,” she says. “We spent a good year and a half just tweaking over and over, whether it’s production or coming up with new vocal arrangements. Just making sure everything was as perfect as possible. I’m a perfectionist, so after sitting on the project for so long, I just found myself wanting to redo it or change parts along the way. The production was all done in Los Angeles, and then we would fly to New York to mix and master it.”
Current was born and raised in L.A., and she says that it’s inevitable that the city would have an influence on her sound, style and vibe.
“I think just being young and surrounded by entertainment every single day, this city is dominated by it, so it definitely has inspired the sound whether it be through the visuals or what I was writing about,” she says. “I feel like L.A. is such a crazy melting pot of people that you meet along the way, so it’s those relationships that you get into. It feels like everyone is in their own world, and so it’s meeting those different people and writing about it, almost like a diary.”
There’s more in that melting pot though; Current has Korean, Filipino and Swedish roots as well as American.
“I have such a mixed nationality, that really lends to how the sound itself is not just one thing,” she says. “It’s not just R&B, it’s not just pop. So I’ve really tried to take inspiration from my background and my culture, and just use things that inspire me to make one thing. That’s who I am as a person.”
On that note, May is AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Heritage month. It’s a happy accident that the release of Virgo fell in the same month.
“It’s nice that this month is so special, and that people are really taking extra time to find Asian-American artists and showcase them a bit more,” Current says.
Virgo is out next week. Meanwhile, Current dreams of performing these songs live.
“That’s all I wanted to do – tour and play live shows,” she says. “So hopefully, with things opening up more and vaccinations going out, I hope that I will be able to perform these songs live. Whether that’s in person, but regardless, I’m definitely going to be doing some livestreams and live performances. I have no idea what this year holds. I feel like everything is so up in the air, but hopefully I get to perform.”
We can dream.
Gabrielle Current’s EP is her Diary: The Virgo EP is out May 27.