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INTERVIEW W/ Tabi Gervis: "I love expressing myself in that way"!

Liverpool-based singer-songwriter Tabi Gervis has a soulful heart and a creative exuberance that stands her apart from your average upcoming solo artist. Her slick Jazz sound lands so soothing on the ears, brimming with vocal flair and rich, velvety instrumentals that breathe with romance and charm. After a couple of years spent developing her style, Tabi has returned with her new single 'Sunday Late Shift'. We spoke with her about the new track, her musical development and how her visual aesthetic lies at the centre of her creative output.

Q. It’s been two years since you last released any music, why did you feel now was the right time to return?

A. “I think coming to Liverpool and studying here really made me try and figure out how I wanted to sound. For a long time I felt like I pigeonholed myself into a very pop-centric box and then I started playing with my friends and started to enjoy a more soulful and jazzy sound with some psychedelic elements in there as well. So, I felt it was the right time to release a new single because I have spent the last two and a half years trying to really get that sound right and I thought if I don't just take the plunge and do it now then I never will. 

Q. And why did you feel ‘Sunday Late Shift’ was the perfect track to announce your return?

A. “When I first wrote it, I took it to my band pretty much that same day and we just like workshopped it. It just so happened that a few days later we were playing at Arts Bar Hope Street and we thought we might as well play it there and see if it gets a good reaction and by the second chorus everyone was singing it along with me. So, I thought if no one's ever heard this song before and they're already singing it back to me then it would be a good one to release first because there's already that excitement behind it”.

Q. How has being at LIPA and operating with Liverpool’s music scene helped you grow and develop as an artist?

A. “I think it's really positive being around so many creative people all the time. My band is mainly made up of sound techs, which is really useful when I want to record music. I think that the freedom to just jam and create music with my friends while also going to uni with them is really fun. Sometimes it can put you inside of a LIPA bubble where it feels as though the music industry is just what's happening in LIPA when it's not but that's the only downside I'd say. LIPA puts so many opportunities in front of you, they'll get A&Rs from different places to come in and listen to your songs and give you feedback which is really good”. 

Q. What sparked the idea for your latest single ‘Sunday Late Shift? 

A. “I wrote it after we had a masterclass in LIPA with the drummer from Snarky Puppy and I was absolutely blown away by it because it was just like crazy jazz fusion and really beautiful music. I was just feeling really inspired and started writing ‘Sunday Late Shift’, it was one of those songs that sort of fell out of me. It was probably written within about half an hour.

Q. And what are the main lyrical ideas behind it?

A. “It’s about the feeling of missing someone or yearning to be with someone. I think that feeling is always depicted in a really melancholic and sad way which does hold a lot of emotion, but I wanted to flip that on its head and turn it into something that can be more sexy and fun to think about and something that can be expressed in a more exciting way. It’s looking through the lens of hoping that you're going to bump into someone when you're walking home after finishing a shift”. 

Q. The single artwork really fits the vibe of the track, can you explain the thought behind the design?

A.  "I feel like art has never really been something that I've been very good at but I really wanted to challenge myself to make art. I felt the song lended itself to an old Jazz style record cover. I included the things like the gramophone and the bottle of wine on it because I thought they reflected the same moody kind of jazzy vibe. Um, for want of a better way of describing it, I guess”.

Q. Talking of the visual side of things, how big a role does your fashion and appearance play a part in your identity as an artist?

A. "That’s a really big thing for me. What I wear on stage especially and how I present myself as an artist is something that is super important to me but it is something that I struggle with because there’s not always synergy between what I wear and how I sound. Whenever I perform on stage I wear these big extravagant ball gowns, like a lot of them are my mum's old ones from the 80s, with loads of flowers and jewellery on. I like being quite flamboyant on stage and I love expressing myself in that way. However, I think sometimes it's difficult to link my music together with that because you might expect something a bit more kind stereotypically Jazz looking".

Q. Have you always been comfortable expressing yourself in that way?

A. “Yeah I think so, I really take pride in the way that I present myself on stage and I enjoy playing around with loads of crazy outfits and things but the older I've got the less I've cared about what people kind of think about the way that I look, I think. Obviously I care about the way people perceive me but it's more about making myself comfortable in what I'm wearing before worrying about what anyone else thinks”. 

Q. You grew up in Kentucky and have spent time living in Lincolnshire and Liverpool - how has this range of environments helped your growth as an artist?

A. “Well, I started singing in America, in these big American choirs that they have that you can just do through school and then I went to a performing arts school in America so that was a big part of my growth and development. I think America's better at being positive and encouraging people to follow the arts. When I moved here, I went into a normal secondary school where it was treated like you’re weird if you're into the arts or you're into music. But I think moving around has probably helped me a lot in terms of just giving me things to write about and exposing me to an eclectic mix of music from Country and Hip Hop to Country and Jazz”.

2 commentaires

26 mars

Go Tabi!

Sunday late shift is fabulous!


19 mars

Great interview ❤️

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