Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy

Music Interview

Exclusive: Gabriella Cilmi

By
Gabriella Cilmi
Whatever we were expecting from the new Gabriella Cilmi single, it certainly wasn't 'On A Mission'. It's pop! It's disco! It's got a chorus that lodges in your brain like an especially bothersome shard of shrapnel! Then there's the video, in which Gab channels Jane Fonda in Barbarella while revealing a pair of legs that will have Pretty Polly's ad team on the phone without a second's delay. Eager to find out more, we emailed over some questions to the Aussie singer, who was kind enough to reply in full and frank fashion.

'Mission' is a different type of single from you. Do you think it will surprise people?
"I guess it will surprise people who thought I was going to make 'Sweet About Me' part two. I surprised myself when I recorded 'On a Mission' and it totally shifted the whole album in a new direction. I've loved playing it to all my friends and watching their reactions - they certainly weren't expecting it either."

What's the story behind it? What made you want to try something dance-poppy?
"Well, I like to think of it as 'I Will Survive' for the 21st century. It's about unleashing your inner superhero and doing what you gotta do to get where you need to be - no matter how many brick walls you have to smash along the way. I really wanted to make a track with a disco influence too and something that would go OFF live! And it's not just for women - I actually co-wrote it with a big bald guy!"

When was the last time you felt like a woman on a mission?
"Doing 20 laps of the pool yesterday. I did some belly-dancing the day before too."

Whose idea was the video? Are you a big Barbarella fan?
"A director called Michael Gracey did the video. When he presented the idea to me, I was won over straight away. I always had a thing for Jane Fonda in Barbarella! She was my inspiration when we were shooting the video and I really did get into character. I'm sure you'll see a bit more dancing from me - though I'm not sure you'd call it dancing, more bopping and jolting!"

Is 'Mission' a good intro to the album? Are there more stompers on there?
"For sure. There are lots of uptempo funk and disco-inspired numbers designed to make people groove - this record's going to make people groove more than Lessons To Be Learned. There's light and shade to the album though, some more sexy tracks and a few surprises too. One track has a kind of yodel in it!"

How much did you record with Xenomania - and how much with other producers?
"I only did one track with Xenomania, but it's a bloody unreal track called 'Hearts Don't Lie' that could be one of my favourites. The chorus is like the Bee Gees and the bass line is so funky! I also worked with Greg Kurstin, The Invisible Men and Dallas Austin."

What's the most surprising song on the album? And is there a track you're particularly proud of?
"The most surprising track is possibly 'Hearts Don't Lie' actually, but the track I'm most proud of is called 'Love Me 'Cause You Want To'. I'm especially proud of it because I got to produce it with my band."

'Sweet About Me' was the most-played song on UK radio last year and the
biggest-selling single of 2008 in Oz. Does matching that kind of success scare you?

"It scares me but it excites me. I look back on the last two years - all the places I've been, all the people I've met (Robert Plant being one of them), all the people I've gotten to work with - and I'd love to do it all again."

Has turning 18 had an effect on the way you approach your career? Do
you feel more in control now?

"Yeah, I definitely feel more confident. I know what I'm doing and I know what I want. I'm much wiser now too, that's for sure."

'On A Mission' by Gabriella Cilmi is released on March 7.

You May Like