Even after putting up with technical glitches such as dropped calls and dying phone batteries, Delaney Gibson, the powerhouse vocalist from Ventura, California kindly and patiently answered my probing questions regarding staying true to herself as an independent artist, performing along side Andrea Bocelli and discussing cover songs for an upcoming album due out next year. She’s a real class act and I’m taking a quick mental note: the best reception lies in the kitchen. Enjoy!
Racket Gail: How has your life changed since your album released this fall?
Delaney Gibson: It’s been much more busy [laughs]. It’s been crazy. I was in the studio for like two years. Now I’m on the road all the time, so at least I’m getting fresh air [laughs].
RG: Speaking of the album, congratulations on all your success. How did the people from the industry want you to sound in this album? I know you got a lot of pressure to sound more pop, when you’re alternative folk.
RG: What was the direction they wanted you to take?
DG: Everybody really wanted me to be like Kelly Clarkson…[The album is] much more mellow and [it has] a little bit of country in there. So it’s a very nice thing to be an independent artist because you don’t have to listen to anybody.
RG: You’ve been in music for a long time, since the age of five. What’s your proudest moment in your music career so far?
DG: The coolest thing that I did was I sang live on the BBC in Wales and that was really amazing. It was a music competition that I ended up winning like third in the world. I’ve have to say that was like my proudest moment so far.
RG: Out of touring with Barbara, Barry and Bocelli, who was the most inspiring personality out of all of them? Who had the most inspiring presence?
DG: I would have to say probably Andrea Bocelli. It was a one-night thing; it was a tour, just one-night gigs and stuff. I don’t know, there’s just something like, especially his amazing voice but the fact that he doesn’t see, he has this genuine smile. When an audience claps for you, a as a performer, it’s probably one of the best feelings. But for him, like you could tell it’s just you know, he was so humble, so just genuinely happy to be there and happy to perform, like one of the coolest things ever. So, I would have to say like me and him, to see him perform and to see how he treated an audience and he truly respected people for being there, I don’t know, it’s just great.
RG: So when you’re talking about inspiration, what cover version would you dream of doing? I mean, you’ve recorded a couple so far, so is there one you really want to perform or record?
DG: You know, I’m actually kind of half-way done with doing a new album [laughs]. I just released the first one, but we’re already half-way done with the second one. It will be out sometime next year and we got three cover songs on it, and so I kind of got to do my favorite songs. I did “Creep,” by Radiohead, and “House of the Rising Sun,” which is a great song. We slowed it down and kind of changed it, it’s really cool and then we did this really obscure Paul McCartney song that I don’t think anybody’s every heard because it’s just a submitted demo of it. It’s called “Goodbye.” It’s just a really sweet song and it got recorded in the 60s by the singer, Mary Hopkin but other than that, I don’t think it’s ever been recorded, so that’s gonna be really cool. Live… I do “Mad World,” by Gary Jewels…I do a lot of guy songs.
RG: When you cover a song when you’re recording it, how do you come up with the arrangement to make it completely brand-new like it’s your own? How do you do the process?
DG: Usually I look at the music first, whether I’m going to be playing it on piano or guitar that makes a big difference and then I usually see how it works into my voice, and if I need to change the key or anything. And then I just kind of sit with it for you know, a week or so and try it different ways to feel what I feel most comfortable [doing].
RG: When I was looking on your MySpace, you said that you’re living out of your car in California.
RG: Are you a natural traveler?
DG: Yeah. I’ve pretty much traveled all over Europe and everywhere, all over America. Hopefully I’ll go to Asia next, but yeah I’m used to traveling but I’m not used to staying in like…it’s funny, I have an apartment in San Diego and I also have an apartment in Ventura in L.A. I just wish I had a home [laughs]…. [But] it’s fine now, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else right now.
RG: How do you take in account your classical training?
DG: Well, I pretty much tried it as much to ignore the classical training when I’m singing just because it’s already ingrained in me and I think less is more, so I try to make it sound just like I’m having a conversation with you, rather than like “Here’s me singing, here’s me…” you know, trying to be dramatic but it just comes across like I have that training, so it’s going to be there no matter what I do [laughs].
RG: Are you a natural red-head?
DG: Yes. Actually auburn is my technical natural color, so I make it a little bit brighter but yeah, auburn-reddish hair. I’m half Irish, half Cherokee-Indian, so it’s like brownish, red kind of color.
RG: Were you ever pressured to change your hair color for a certain look?
DG: Oh yeah, yeah.
RG: What colors have they wanted to dye your hair?
DG: First, let’s see, I had a label said they would sign me if I changed my hair to brunette and so I was like, “Well, sure you’ve really had nothing to do with my hair color, so you’re clearly not the right label for me.” [Laughs] Yeah, I’d say brunette and blonde have been the two that people wanted but I’m just like, “Well, I like my hair, what I want to do really shouldn’t have anything to do with anything like…” I don’t know, the music industry’s funny like that [laughs].
RG: Do you find it empowering to have your hair the way you want it to be?
DG: Yeah. Actually, I think everybody should do what they want [laughs] because the artists that I like are pretty much artists that are real and do what they feel what is right, not what somebody is telling them to sell records. So yeah, it’s definitely very empowering to be who you want to be.
RG: Why would you choose Coffee Bean over Starbucks every morning?
DG: I know, seriously. I’m obsessed with Starbucks. Did you read my blog about where I flashed a guy?
RG: [Laughs] Yeah, I know- that was really random but that was funny.
DG: Yeah, I can’t go back to that Coffee Bean, anymore. But no, I love their [coffee]…I think it’s because they use powder over syrup.
RG: So no real reason, just because you just like the way they brew the coffee and stuff.
DG: It tastes better, yeah.
RG: The Eisley quote: “I shall never grow up, make-believe is too much fun.” How do you apply that to your music and life?
DG: I work really hard at what I do and so sometimes I forget to just have fun [laughs] and so I kind of not take it too seriously. It’s like, sometimes you could get really wrapped up in trying to make it and trying to build this music and you forget like, you know other things that should be fun and love what you do. I kind of remember that. I’m definitely a big kid that plays music in a band and that’s what I wanna do really [laughs].
RG: With all the media attention that you get, how do you stay grounded? What do you do?
DG: I think honestly the writing. The actual writing process in music is one of the biggest things that keeps me grounded. It’s the one time that I could be completely like, honest with myself and what I wanna do, so definitely writing it helps me and also, you know my friends, I have to say. One of the best ways is to have a glass of wine and relax with my friends, go shopping- I love to shop…bad habit but yeah [laughs].
RG: Was there any store in particular that you like when you go shopping?
DG: I do a lot of like vintage store shopping. My mom’s like a customer, so we go to downtown L.A. and all the fashion districts, and just any random bookstore is good because I buy so much clothes that I can’t spend a lot of money on one [laughs].
RG: Do you remember the last time you had a day off and what did you do?
DG: Um, no I don’t remember [laughs]. I haven’t had a day off in a long time. I try to take like hours at a time. The other day I went down to Main Street in Ventura, it’s a really cool place, it’s like downtown shopping and so I hit a couple of stores right there in my hour off [laughs].
RG: The Mavric Awards. This year, they’re actually doing a “Mavric Week,” are you involved in it in any way?
DG: I will be. They haven’t sent out final nominations yet, but if I get nominated then definitely I’ll be playing. So I’m hoping to get nominated and hope everybody votes for me [laughs]. So I think we find out the 18th of November.
[Editor’s note: Delaney has been nominated in ten categories, including “CD of the Year.”]
RG: Also about that feature theme song, do you know anything about it? Can you tell me anything about it or is it still kind of…
DG: I think it’s still in production. It comes out next year.
RG: Any acting gigs lined up for you right now?
DG: Not right now, but I’m definitely open to it. I’ve been doing some little background parts and stuff just to stay in good graces with my SAG, Screen Actors Guild membership [laughs]. But then I really, I kind of really only want to try to go out for the parts that have singing and acting because singing’s just my main thing. There aren’t a lot of roles but yeah I would love to do something with that.
RG: Something more in TV or did you want to do something in movies too or whatever is available to you?
DG: You know, I really love working in TV because it’s always shorter projects. I would like that. I would like to do a lot of different projects rather than just work on a movie for three years [laughs]. It takes a lot out of your time, so TV’s really fun.
RG: How do you perform differently in front of a camera then if you’re just playing for an audience?
DG: Usually it could be a little bit more larger than life if you have an audience. T.V. they could pick up your little nuances and little things that you do, so you kind of have to pull it back in front of a camera and bring it out more in front of an audience. So it’s fun to do both.
RG: I’m backtracking a little bit because when you were talking about how Bocelli was the most inspirational, could you kind of reiterate what you were saying about him?
DG: Oh yeah, he has an amazing voice but something about the way he smiles at an audience after he’s performed. He’s genuinely so humble and so happy to be…it’s almost like he’s more happy to be singing for you then you are to be watching him perform like you could tell he’s just this really humble and really great soul to be able to do what he does and I just completely admire that. He’s actually definitely there for his passion of music and it’s great.
RG: For future albums, who would you really want to collaborate with in a song? If you had to choose with everybody you worked with or anybody that really inspired you?
DG: God, it’s so crazy. I have to say one of my long-time idols is like Dolly Parton. I absolutely love her [laughs]. Nowadays, it would be so cool, I don’t know, I’m like really in love with the lead singer of My Chemical Romance, which we have absolutely nothing in common musically [laughs] which might make for a really cool duet since we have very different musical tastes. But I don’t know, I’d love to sing with him or Bryan Adams, or someone like that. Yeah, that’d be really cool.
RG: In the Ventura County Star, you said that you finally figured out who you are, so what does that mean? How would you describe yourself right now?
DG: I seem a lot more mellow then I have been before I think I was just trying so hard to be what everybody else wanted me to be musically and I finally just realized that it’s just totally okay to be me and I’m gonna be much happier in the long run. I kept thinking that like if I do whatever everybody else wanted to do then I’d make it in the music industry, and now I kind of realized that you know, unless I’m myself nobody’s really gonna buy it, they’re all gonna do it for me. So, I’m just happy to give whatever I can give 100% to be myself and hopefully making the best music that I can in the process.