A few weeks ago, I was asked to interview New Zealand musician Gin Wigmore who is performing at Stage AE on Wednesday December 7, 2016. She has a new full length album due to drop in March 2017 and launched her “Let It Ride” tour in Mexico City this weekend. President Obama is a huge fan and even included her on his 2016 “White House Playlist” (which caught my attention!)
So you know I tend to ask offbeat questions that no respectable music critic would ever ask. I’ve never had a chance to interview someone with as much professional success as Gin or performing in as big a venue as Stage AE (Rick Springfield blew me off a few years ago which still stings.) Gin was game to answer my questions. Anyone who invokes Bruce Springsteen, Demi Moore and their feminist beliefs is worth a read (and a listen.)
Also, I now really want to take her somewhere memorable in Pittsburgh for a meal.
Here’s where you can find her details and background.
How do you describe your identity? Unaffected, compassionate and inquisitive.
What are your pronouns? What’s a pronoun?
Describe your impression of Pittsburgh. What do you love about our
City? Any memorable experiences when you’ve visited? I felt like Bruce Springsteen could’ve been born there. Its bold sense of identity and gritty undertone really resonated with me, and it felt like a place I could go to write. I remember going to this ice-cream shop on a hill somewhere… no idea what it was called- but I remember the ice-cream was really decent.
Are there any Pittsburgh performers (based here or born here) that influence you? Demi Moore – especially around the time of Pittsburgh!
I just relistened to “Man Like That” which President Obama included on his summer playlist. I can’t help but think about the political commentary the song offers with regard to our 2016 Presidential election. Would you say your songs are strictly about interpersonal matters or is there a socially conscious vibe to your writing?
For me, my writing is generally about how a personal relationship has affected me within the social constructs placed upon us. For example, Man Like That, is about the unequal bias men are granted over women and what that feels like as a woman to be in that position. The end result/hope of that song for me was to be able to have a more empowered listener who may also be in a similar headspace or situation. The goal of a well written song is a true reflection of social commentary about the world in which we live that can be easily digestible for the listener to interpret into their own lives and be comforted by that. Therefore, yes, I feel the social connection goes hand in hand with the personal connection of writing a song. In addition, I feel the beauty and challenge of songwriting lies therein, as that is always the hardest part, to find a palatble way to inform the audience of the social issues we face that affect us personally whilst still being able to retain that carefree escapism we attain from listening to music.
Are you a feminist? How does feminism inform your songwriting? Without question, I am. My songwriting comes from a place where women are created and treated equally to men. I have never agreed or accepted anything less than this perspective. From this standpoint, I choose to operate with a freedom to speak and write however I see fit for what I feel and think as a woman. I will never conform to a mediated sense of self or hide behind vague self reflection in my songwriting for fear of what others may think or feel is appropriate for me to feel and think as a female. I feel that losing our independence and voice as women to appear more subordinate, malleable and homogenised for males is an injustice to any woman’s true self and something I definitely will not ever subscribe to doing.
What is the connection between Dirty Love and Dirty Mercy? No connection, just got lazy on song titles possibly? Ha, no, I can say I am a big fan of the juxtaposition of two words and I feel both these song titles have that, which I like. Because “Dirty Mercy” is essentially about the help that is on offer to me being predominately ill fated and tainted, I figured Dirty Mercy summed up that sentiment nicely.
Who was the first LGBTQ person that you met and how did that impact you? I was about 11 years old and got one of the less sought after jobs at my parents pharmacy of emptying the rubbish and general tidying. I wasn’t the best employee as I had very low interest in what the rubbish bins had on offer. Luckily, Mark also worked there. Mark worked the photo machine, took passport pictures and knew how to skip out of work at least once a week…I admired that the most. 😉 Mark would always have these fantastic stories about all sorts of things. I was enamoured with his jubilant disposition and all round freedom of spirit. My dad would often get so mad at the both of us for never getting our work done as we would talk and talk. Mark taught me the wondrous lesson of getting photographed always slightly side on and to aways remember to look down and then up with your eyes whenever you have your picture taken so your eyes come alive to the camera. I will never forget that invaluable lesson!
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character in television, song, film or
literature? James Dean
What is one simple thing your fans can do to support the LGBTQ community?
Stop buying into the hyped up celebrity coverage of “coming out”. Once that happens on a big scale with celebrities and the like, there becomes this equally as pressured experience on a smaller scale. A true acceptance of each and everyones individuality should be adopted and praised. We should celebrate the differences we all have and understand that this makes for a far more colourful and interesting world. Nurture and support our differences as opposed to being fearful of them.
What is your love song to LGBT youth? Troubles Will Be Gone – The Tallest Man On Earth
Thank you, Gin.
Get your tickets to see Gin live at Stage AE on December 7. And check out her new single ‘Dirty Mercy’ below. Each time I watch, I see our 10-almost-11 year old niece, especially in this still frame. Also in the interests of disclosure, I received two media passes to review the show. I need to point that out because I’m trying to be transparent.