HNS interviewed teenage pop star, Gabi Ammirato! Check out our exclusive interview below.
As a teenager myself, I definitely relate to the song ‘Dramatic’. As would a lot of teenagers, and even adults. Drama is everywhere in this world – whether created themselves or by others. What do you hope your audience can get from this song?
Gabi: I hope the audience gets a couple of different messages from this song. The first is what you already stated and that is that drama is everywhere around us and we can’t ignore it. Some of my friends try to stick their heads in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist, but it causes them a lot of stress and they spend a lot of energy dealing with it. So just acknowledging it is an important lesson. The other message is to actually call someone on it when they are creating drama that is negative. Calling out their behavior is important so that they have to own it. Having their peer’s raise it might actually get them to think about it and hopefully change the behavior. Finally the song pokes a bit of fun at it and gives us a fun tag line to use when our friends are being dramatic….
“Why do you have to be so dramatic”? I saw this the other day when my 4 year old cousin turned to her sister in the middle of a dramatic interaction and said, “why you have to be so dramatic.” It had an immediate impact, it stopped the drama and they both ended up laughing.
If you were asked to sing a duet with someone at a concert, who would you choose? And what song would you sing?
Gabi: That is a tough one, I would have to choose between Shawn Mendes, Tori Kelly and Meghan Trainor. I would be thrilled for it to be Shawn Mendes because I love his voice and style. I think we would have to write a song together for a duet because I would want us to write something meaningful that complemented both our voices. With Tori Kelly I would sing anything she has. I am going to her concert in Philly the end of April and cannot wait. Have a VIP pass so really looking forward to meeting her. My current favorite of her stuff is “Should’ve Been Us”. For Meghan Trainor I adore “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”. So any and all of them would be crazy!
You shot a music video for you single ‘Dramatic’. How was that experience?
Gabi: Creating my music video was an amazing experience. My mom actually sat in the backroom, where I was having hair and makeup done, and left it to me to handle myself on the set. That was so empowering because she trusted me to handle things and it let me work with the producer and band like a real professional. Later on when the band learned my age was 15 (soon to be 16) they were amazed and that made me feel really proud. It was an incredibly creative experience too. Even though we had the storyboard I learned the importance of being flexible and seeing how things play out as you create the video. I think I expected to just follow the storyboard and being part of the creative discussions as we went along was so cool. Of course, playing live with such a talented professional band from Nashville was so awesome. Overall, this was such a valuable life experience and I feel blessed to have had it. Best of all I LOVE the video!
As a song writer, what is your process of writing a song? How long does it usually take until you get to the ‘This is it!’ moment?
Gabi: The way I approach song writing is to keep a journal. In my everyday life I come across experiences and lessons that I want to share with others. So I jot down what I am thinking and feeling in those moments. Hoping to capture the essence of the situation. Sometimes lyrics might come into my head so I will jot them down. Mostly I want to capture the lesson or message I want to share. In this same journal I jot down other things that I love, like a piece of music in another song, a combination of lyrics or messages that really strike me. I put down things I love about other artists and their songs or appearances. All of this helps me have great material to work with when it comes time to write. In the actual song writing process it is really variable. I think when it comes to being creative you have to just follow the flow and see where it takes you. Sometimes when we get stuck on lyrics we sing silly runs and words to shake loss our thinking. The only sure thing is when it is done…and you know that when it happens. It just feels complete and right, you know when you hear and feel it. Some songs take longer amounts of time and might take several writing sessions. It is important not to push through just to deliver something, but to take a step back and come back refreshed so the final product can come through you….you can’t force that.
I really love the originality and concept of your song ‘Missing Piece/Peace’. It tackles a common subject such as bullying, but you add your own twist on the topic. The song asks the bully what is missing from their life that makes them feel like they need to bully. What is your advice to those who are being bullied?
Gabi: Missing Piece/Peace was inspired by a question someone asked me about who I felt worse for; the bullied kid or the bully. I had never really thought about the bully, so I took a moment to reflect. I think they thought I would say the bullied kid, the obvious answer. However, what struck me in that moment was that many of the bullies were actually bullied kids who buried their pain and it came out in their bullying behavior. This got me thinking what happens to someone that makes them think it is ok to harm others through their actions. That lead me to ask the question what is missing in you that makes you behave this way. My goal with the song is to get them to think about what makes them bully, and how they can stop. I truly believe that if we help the bully heal themselves we will be well on the road to ending bullying. Giving advice to the people being bullied is a bit tough. The clear advice is to speak up and get help. The problem is that sounds so cliché, and it makes it sound simple. The truth is that it is hard for them to speak up. Many that I have known are gentle souls, and they appear timid to those around them. Sometimes this is a part of why the bully picks them as their victim. This is not their fault at all, but I mention it because it makes it hard for them to take the advice to speak up and get help. Also if the people around them are closing their eyes to the problem and refusing to get involved it makes it even harder for them to speak up and get help. I give them the advice to make eye contact with the people around them, seek out that person who connects with them and ask them for help. The better advice I have is for those around the situation, and that is to have a zero tolerance and get involved. We all must accept that when bullying happens and we stand by and do nothing we are just as guilty as the bully. If we refuse to accept it and we get involved in stopping it whenever we see it then we can truly stop bullying. We are all part of the missing piece/peace. We must help the bullied person and the bully.
Finally, who or what is your inspiration for singing and writing the songs that you do?
Gabi: My songs are inspired by my life and the messages and lessons I learn along the way. My peers and family are the true inspiration. I want to give voice to the issues my generation are facing, bringing them up lets us talk about them and try to deal with them. I am very close to my family and draw on the love they surround me with for inspiration too. Finally I have a very deep faith. I was raised being told “Every person, place and thing God places in your life prepares you perfectly for a future only He can see.” This has instilled in me that God has a plan for my life and my job is to live it to the fullest and trust that my path is guided. This gives me the freedom to just be me!
Each song has a unique story and inspiration and I share these on my Facebook page and am working on short videos giving the background to each song. You can find your way to all my stuff from my website www.gabiammirato.com.