If you've seen the new John Lewis Christmas advert, you'll have already heard Gabrielle Aplin. The 20-year-old singer-songwriter from Bath’s haunting rendition of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's 'The Power of Love' has stormed through the charts since featuring in the festive ad.
Gabrielle first came onto my radar in 2008, when my teenage emo YouTube searches led me to her cover version of You Me At Six's 'The Liar and The Lighter'- a video with over half a million views alone. As a fellow singer-songwriter and of a similar age to Aplin, I was hooked. The range of artists she has covered is wide: Paramore, Bob Dylan, Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder- all accompanied by either guitar or piano. There is no so song that she can't put her own spin on. And then there are her self-penned songs. With lyrics displaying maturity well beyond her years and catchy melodies, her music is addictive and takes you on a journey with every word. A prime example of this being 'Ghosts' from her first self released CD, the Acoustic EP.
This debut EP was released through Aplin’s own indie label, Never Fade Records. She was catapulted into the spotlight when the EP hit number 26 in the album charts, overtaking artists like Lady Gaga and the Saturdays. Add a sold out self-promoted UK tour, support from BBC unsigned, and performances at festivals, and it was clear from the beginning that Aplin was going to be a star.
Two further EPs were released, Never Fade and Home reaching number 15 and number 10 respectively in the UK album charts. I've been lucky enough to go the tours for each EP release, and unsurprisingly, she is amazing live as well as in the recording studio. Her stage presence is incredibly humbling and down to earth. She has the ability to captivate an entire room with her pitch perfect and unforgettable performances, from small intimate venues like the Borderline in London to much larger concert venues. The atmosphere at every gig has been electric with Aplin being awe inspiringly versatile, switching between piano ballads like Coldplay's 'Fix You' to Jamie T's 'Sheila' with ease.
As a fan from the beginning, it has been exciting to watch her grow from a YouTube sensation to having her music featured on E4's Made in Chelsea, supporting artists like Gotye and finally being signed in February 2012 to Parlophone Records. I’ve seen her grow musically and build the fan base that she deserves. When it was announced she was to be singing for the John Lewis Christmas advert, I felt stupidly proud. I do not know her but her music is so deeply personal and has the ability to reach into your soul and mean whatever you want it to mean.
Her style is simple and uncomplicated, her voice pure and heart-wrenching, her talent raw and unadulterated. With a debut album set for release in February 2013, the future looks bright for Gabrielle Aplin and I can't wait to see where it takes her.
You can listen to her music via the Gabrielle Aplin Official YouTube, or via the Gabrielle Aplin Vevo. You can also download her EPs via the Gabrielle Aplin iTunes page.
Image via GabrielleAplin.co.uk