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Interview with Rising Alternative Artist Gabby Durden

Gabby Durden releases new single and music video for “ribcage (awakening). You can listen and watch the video here. Guitar Girl Magazine spoke with Durden to discuss her emerging stardom, combining her love for music and esports, and the real topic at hand: her new single and music video for her emotional anthem.

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  • Gabby, we love the new project! What is the meaning behind it?
    • PROJECT: AWAKENING is all about living in the moment of my personal transformation. Each track is very connected to emotions I’m experiencing in real-time while processing traumas and focusing on rebuilding my mental health. I started this with no idea of who the “new me” would be. So, there’s a sense of self-discovery as I develop my emotional blueprint and sound as an artist. I know others struggle with traumas, severe emotional experiences, and self-reflection too. So, instead of going through my transformation in silence, I decided to share it with the world
  • We absolutely love the visual. How did your team create this?
    • Since “ribcage (awakening)” is such a personal track, it was important to me that the music video reflects that. I’m extremely grateful to have worked with a team that empowered me to share my vision and help bring it to life. Sam Aldrich and his crew locked a location that would fit the tone of the video. From there, I developed and pitched the production treatment complete with narrative, styling, and character development. Each “Gabby look” in the video represents a different emotional stage related to the track’s subject matter. Chelsea Allen did a wonderful job with hair & makeup to bring the looks together. And of course, Sam’s team killed it in execution; they were a superb crew to work with on my first ever video. It was cool to get to tap back into skills from my days in tv/film production that I haven’t gotten to put to work for quite some time–even cooler since it was for a project so close to my heart. I’d say, I was very particular in how I wanted to approach the first video; I hope to keep flexing those creative muscles in different ways in future pieces.
  • What made you launch your career in music?
    • Just like the origins of many music artists, mine spawned from tragedy. When my mom took her own life last year, my whole world changed. I changed. I began evaluating the traumas not just of that moment but my whole life. I was determined to not become someone “broken” by life’s challenges, to not lose myself in loss but push myself forward through art to keep myself from drowning. Music has always been a passion of mine–even when my pursuits of a career in entertainment sent me down other paths. It felt natural to start documenting my experience through lyrics, something I’d often done throughout my life. But this time was different. I grew up in an environment that discouraged me from sharing myself with the world, and I’ve build a career on telling the stories of others. But now, I felt a compulsion to tell my own stories, to allow others to connect with my music the way I have done with the music of others my entire life. I don’t think most people realize how big of a step that was for me, to really share anything about myself that wasn’t hidden behind a broadcast-ready smile. I didn’t know how much I needed it until it was happening. And now that I’m here, I can’t imagine stopping.
  • How does your esports work tie into your musical work?
    • As someone who’s always taken a multifaceted approach to performance development, I find a lot of correlation between the skills utilized across entertainment subsets. For instance, the vocal and breathing techniques used when belting out demanding songs versus casting high-intensity play-by-play moments as an esports commentator are extremely similar. Therefore, the ways in which I’ve strengthened my voice to cast games apply to singing, and vice versa. Additionally, as a broadcast talent in esports, I’ve performed in front of crowds of thousands–in venues like the Houston Texans’ NRG Stadium and Atlanta Hawks’ State Farm Arena–while millions watch online. Most musicians don’t get that experience until they’re far into their careers. Esports even gave me the chance to get my first official acting credits as a cast member on PLAYERS, a show from the creators of American Vandal. You see music artists apply their skills in other entertainment mediums as tv hosts, actors, show guests, etc. all the time. There’s no reason it can’t work the other way around.
  • What is coming next for Gabby Durden?
    • More music, more things! In the short term, I’ll be releasing the remaining tracks of PROJECT: AWAKENING on a pretty aggressive schedule. You can still catch me on esports broadcasts and making independent content, of course. But on the music front, I expect to continue exploring my development as an artist through plenty of future music.
  • When you aren’t creating, what do you do in your downtime?
    • I love spending time with my two Australian Shepherds, Keanu and Loki. I spend a lot of time training/walking/playing with them or having “porch time”–where I read on the porch while they look over the dog park.
    • I’m super into fitness, particularly weight lifting.
    • I do like to make a daily habit of reading–typically a combo of creatively-and-euntrepeneurial-driven non-fiction and fiction works from authors like Chuck Palahniuk.
    • Then you’ve got your typical tv and movie watching–anything from your classics to modern anime.
    • And obviously, as someone in esports, I play games. Sometimes it’s PC games like VALORANT, League of Legends, and TFT. Sometimes I’m on console, with a particular love for visual novels like Dangangronpa.
  • Top 3 favorite songs right now?
    • “Right now” is definitely the right way to put it! I’m always switching up my tastes and musical deep-dives. But I’d say currently, my top 3 songs–if I limited myself to recent releases–in no particular order would be…
      • HOPE – NF
      • Code Red – Token
      • On Meloncholy Hill – Gorillaz
      • (a quick bonus) Church Outfit – Poppy
      • (a quick bonus) Off My Mind (feat. K.Flay) – Joe P
  • Top 5 artists that inspire you?
    • Hm, in no particular order…
      • Linkin Park & Mike Shinoda
      • Twenty One Pilots
      • NF
      • Bo Burnham
      • Ashnikko
  • If you could tell people one thing about yourself they may not know, what would that be?
    • To be honest, most people don’t realize how complicated my upbringing was. I lived in 10+ homes by the time I graduated high school and attended 3 different middle schools complete with a mid-year switch. While most of my formative years were spent in Florida, I also lived in California (born in Berkeley), Texas, Maryland, and Italy. Since high school, I’ve lived in Kentucky, Illinois, Georgia, and California (the Bay Area and Los Angeles). Most moves greatly differed in reasoning. I’m also a twin, which most people don’t know unless they knew me as a child/teen. So, lots of surprises, I guess!
  • What do you want listeners to take away from “ribcage (awakening)”?
    • “ribcage (awakening)” reflects the moment in which I decided to awaken to keep myself from breaking. For listeners, I hope they can connect to that feeling, a need to escape our pain through an uplifting sense of exploration. For me, this song is just the prologue of my new chapter as Gabby Durden. This is just the beginning.
Guitar Girl Magazine

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