Promising New Singer-Songwriter GABI AMMIRATO Discusses Her Debut Album, Her Biggest Inspirations, Her Non-Profit And More!
Posted On 18 Aug 2016
Gabi Ammirato is a 16 year old singer songwriter who loves all genres. Her first album is comprised of pop songs that speak to issues facing kids her age. Each song is inspired by a person or event in her life that provided her a lesson or message she thinks she should share with the world.
The lead song “Dramatic” is inspired by the high school experience where certain people feel the need to add drama to everything, even if it means creating the situation. In “Missing Piece/Peace” she tackles the subject of bullying, but from the angle of asking the bully what is missing in their life that causes them to bully. She challenges them to find what is missing and fix it so they can find peace.
In “Boys Don’t Know” she bemoans the fact that boys and girls fall into the trap of focusing on superficial looks and behavior, instead of seeing the inner beauty of a person. “Stay True” talks about the importance of loving yourself and staying true to who you are at your core as you navigate the difficult process of growing up today. She is deeply concerned by the epidemic of teen suicide and hopes she can share some important messages to help kids avoid getting into that dark place.
Gabi believes that music should be used to change the world in positive ways and she hopes her album achieves that goal.
Learn more about this promising singer in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time!How’s 2016 treating you so far? How’s your summer been going? What were some ofthe highlights of 2015 for you and your music?
Thanks so much for being interested in me and my music. So sorry it took a bit to respond but I was up at Berklee College of Music right after school let out. 2016 has been great so far. The highlight to this point has been the workshops I did at Berklee. I am going into my senior year and working on deciding on my future college choices. I must admit I was struggling to decide between the “true college experience” and the conservatory approach. With a brother at UCLA the “whole college experience” looked so exciting and I thought I might miss out on some things by going a more conservatory way. My time at Berklee certainly resolved that conflict….I LOVED it. To be surrounded by creative and talented people who just live and breathe music was a dream come true. I really felt like I found my place in this world, like I had come home. So now I know that I want to be somewhere full of creative talented people dedicated to music. At the workshops I got the chance to work with the amazing staff of Berklee and to meet kids from all over the world where we found we naturally bonded over the music. Sharing my music and networking with other kids really helped me spread the word about my music, experience their music and the collaborations were incredible. The other highlight is working with a friend of mine’s band called the Flipside. I made some connections that have opened the door to some live performance opportunities and they wanted alive band rather than tracks. This new collaboration is so much fun because working with a live band is amazing and gaining different performance opportunities is always so much fun.
The highlight of 2015 was writing, producing and releasing my first set of songs. That whole experience was brand new and exciting. I learned so much and was blessed to work with professionals who guided me while encouraging me to use my own voice. I will always remember the day after I released my music and so many of my high school friends had just discovered that I sang. I dance so much that a lot of people only knew me as a dancer so they were shocked to discover my music. It was surreal hearing my songs playing on people’s phones in homeroom. I think my favorite thing in 2015 was making the music video for Dramatic. The band was amazing, seeing the storyboard come to life, being a part of that creative process and getting to be so adult as I got to help make the decisions. What an educational experience. The glitter shot we did for the video (which did not end up in the video) had me picking glitter out of my eyes and hair for weeks….. Doing interviews is another favorite thing for me, learning to share my message and music with people in a very personal way.
I always knew I was going to be a singer…around 2 I explained that I was not going to learn my ABCs because I didn’t need them since I was going to be a singer. I even resisted when my mom explained that songs were made up of words which were made up of letters, I offered the solution that I would just hire someone to sing it for me once and I would have it. She got me on the contract issue. She told me I could end up having to push trash around the parking lot with my tongue between sets if I did not read my contract carefully. Being a germaphobe, that did it, I learned my letters…..
My earliest musical memories are two very vivid ones. The first one was the first time I performed in public and it was at a Christmas event doing Rudolph. I was desperately trying to get my mom’s attention to save me from going on stage and she was desperately ignoring me. Later she told me she knew if she responded and let me walk away I would never go on stage….I am thankful today she had the courage to look like a bad parent so I could realize my dream.
My second musical memory is my first vocal competition and I did “Moon River”. Imagine me in a full length blue gown singing an “oldie but goodie”. My Papa “D” loved Perry Coma so I loved the older songs too. I remember being nervous and excited before going on, but once I hit that stage I found myself….I loved it!
Where do you get the inspiration for your music? Is that constantly changing?
The inspiration for my music is my life experiences when it comes to the lyrics and messages. I put my feelings and thoughts into music because that is the way I am most comfortable communicating with the world. Every one of my songs is inspired by someone or something in my life. My goal is for the message to resonate with others, but in way that is meaningful to them.
“Life’s A Ride” is about one of my best friends who I met the first day of high school. She has a neuro-muscular disease so she is in a wheelchair but she doesn’t let that limit her or the way she lives her life. She has the most positive and engaging spirit and she taught me to see the world from the viewpoint of our blessings rather than our challenges. “Best Friend’ is about my relationship with my brother. He was heading off to college on the very distant West Coast, and I wanted to capture the essence of our relationship and why he is my best friend. “Why Can’t We Be Friends” talks about how I learned that when you chose to date a friend you risk losing that precious friendship if things don’t workout. “Missing Piece” is about bullying,a plague on my generation, but it is written from the perspective of what is broken in the Bully. I believe helping the Bully heal is the key to ending bullying. “Flash Before Your Eyes” is about learning how quickly life can change when you almost lose someone who is critically important in your life. “Boys Don’t Know” helped me articulate how confusing it is that boys fall for appearances rather than the true inner beauty we all possess. “Stay True” is a personal favorite because it talks about how important it is to figure out who you are at your core, the essence of you, and hold on to that as you grow up and everyone tells you who and what to be. The teen suicide epidemic is of deep concern to me, and I think that the “Stay True” message can help kids find who they are, love themselves, and stay away from those dark places that are a part of adolescence. Not being able to find your way out of those dark places can lead some to harm themselves, giving them some key messages to hold onto might help them find their way out. Finally “Dramatic” is about high school drama, we all know it and we all are annoyed by it but we can’t seem to escape it. I share the stories behind my songs on my social media sites and you can find them through www.gabiammirato.com. I hope you will check it out.
My inspiration comes from loving music from all eras. Dancers dance to all eras so being a dancer really grew me as a musician. I never realized that I was being exposed to all eras of music as well as all genre through my dance. This explains why I love the old and new, and both influence the music I make. I recently discovered albums in a local antiques shop near my house. What a treasure trove! Recently record players are back and artists are releasing their music on vinyl again, and I LOVE it. I find the records to be a more personal experience, I can touch and feel the music in a more real and visceral way. The old albums have helped me discover the artists my mom loved growing up like Springstein and the Eagles and that will certainly influence my future songs. So my inspiration is always changing because it is based on the new experiences I am constantly having. The one constant is that I believe that music should send a message and make a positive change in the world. Kids my age and younger are so influenced by music so it is important that it is a positive influence in their life.
Can you talk about howyour brand new just released single, “Dramatic”?
My newly released single Dramatic has a really great beat and sound so it grabs kids attention, they can dance to it and it sends an important message. The song intends to call out those people who like to go around playing games with other people’s lives by spreading gossip and starting “drama” for no other reason than to make themselves feel important. Most of the time these type of people don’t own up to their own actions and they pretend to be all innocent and friendly. We all know people like this and one or two people I know in high school fit this description and myf rustration with their need to behave this way lead to the song. Hoping people who hear it relate to it and call people out when they behave this way because it wastes energy and it can hurt people.
At the end of the day,what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners takeaway from your songs?
I want people to be able to relate to my music and see the value of the messages in their own lives. What makes human beings special is our ability to relate to and care about each other so I want to use my music to achieve those goals. I want that kid who is feeling the pressures of growing up to hear “Stay True” and really embrace the messages that they are perfect just the way they are and that they don’t need to change themselves to fit in because real friends love them for who they are. Knowing who you are at your soul and holding on to that is the key to navigating growing up. Not easy but hearing the messages can be one way to help.
Is there anything elsethat you would like to share with our readers about yourself and your music?
Yes, I would love to share the importance of supporting the arts in today’s world. They are being exterminated in our schools and the world will be a less beautiful place without them. I know how important the arts were to me in finding out who I am and discovering the artist in my soul. I worry that our world is losing our future artists as we let the arts die off in our schools. Not all children can afford to participate in the arts so it is critical that those of us who can work to remove the barriers for them do so. I founded a not for profit called Access 2 the Arts (http://access2thearts.org/) and it works to provide access for less advantaged children to sing, dance, and draw. Just my small efforts have helped hundreds of children and my goal as I build my music career is to get more established artists involved. All of them not only love the arts but have been blessed to be successful with a career in the arts. They above all others should get the value the arts bring to our world,the benefits of participating in the arts, and that social justice demands that we help all children have the opportunity to participate in the arts. So as I work to establish my own career in the music industry I plan to bring as many of the people I meet along the way into this program. An example is my “Stay True” program. I use it to speak to children about the messages in the song and how those can help them as they navigate growing up. I share how the arts played a key role in my life. Finally I use an activity where I have them construct a mask with symbols reflecting the key messages and I ask them to hang it on the wall at home to remind themselves to never wear a mask in life but instead stay true to who they are. For younger children I designed a custom coloring book that has the song lyrics and the benefits a kid gets from being involved with the arts. This shows how we as artists can use our music and talents to keep the arts alive and encourage children to explore them. This stewardship will insure the arts thrive and our world remains a beautiful and creative place!
Thank you so much for your interest in me and mymusic, it means so much to me!