Gin Wigmore Reveals ‘Fierce Truth’ About Toxic Music Industry on New Album
The music industry can be a dark corner. From Kesha's harrowing story to country singer Katie Armiger's ongoing battle against her former label, artists—especially women—have faced betrayal, exploitation and abuse. Add Gin Wigmore to that growing list: On her forthcoming album, Ivory, Wigmore hopes to expose "a fierce truth of my experience within the music industry."
The gravel-voiced singer compiles "a collection of not-so-pretty stories I have been trying to articulate for many years" on the new LP, she share. Thus, the album art represents a distorted visage of herself, "morphing into an aggressive animal." Appropriately, she thought it "would be a good way to show that I am ripping through to the blood and guts of what it really feels like to be a musician."
Ivory is anchored by Wigmore's ferocious, groovy single "Cabrona," a rock-soaked pop track illustrating what it means to be a "bad girl." Below, Wigmore discusses her new album, motherhood and dismantling the patriarchy.
This album has a more uplifting edge to it, as compared to 2015's Blood to Bone. Was that something you determined at the outset or did it manifest at some point while writing/recording?
I did, actually, set out with a very clear intention for this album to feel more empowered and positive from the get go. I felt rather miserable, mentally, when I was writing Blood to Bone and made it almost a mission statement to not repeat a doom and gloom state of mind with the next album.
Of the songs, I'm most intrigued by "Odeum," which references a live performance space. What's the story there?
I really like this title, too; it evoked this sort of grand mystery to me. The story behind this song is to question and analyze the patriarchal layout of our system. [It's] an open letter of sorts to the misogynist that still believes it’s okay to act so poorly towards women.
Musically, where did you want to go on Ivory, and do you feel you accomplished your goals?
The coolest thing about writing the album was that there was no pressure or expectation on what it “should” be. Therefore, I had no real “goal” for it. Instead, it was just a very fluid and enjoyable process of writing whatever I felt like writing on any given day.
You've spoken about how becoming a mother has made your artistry "far more selfless." How is that expressed in your songwriting?
I think it is more expressed in the process of how I decide to introduce my music to the world now. My songwriting still discusses many self-indulgent ideas. However, it is the idea of understanding that music is something far greater than myself, and that new attitude has come from becoming a mother. An altruistic backbone to the release of my music and the scope of its benefit is very important for me these days. Music has no bounds and is able to be enjoyed and experienced in so many different ways ... This is also something I have been trying to explore with my #GIRLGANG project.
How is being a mom treating you? Are you getting any sleep?
It’s so awesome, in every way. It is seriously like waking up to the best present under the Christmas tree every morning. I mean, he can often be a present that screams at you, throws up on you, pees in your face and sucks every last ounce of nutrient out of your body... but it is absolutely worth every second of it. That first smile in the morning to his last kick in the bath tub in the evening is more precious than I could have ever imagined. I am thrilled to be Ivory’s mama, and I am so much more excited for the future now that he is part of it.
What has your son taught you so far?
Graciousness. Patience. Presence.
It has been nearly nine years since your first record, 2009's Holy Smoke. How do you reflect on the journey between then and now?
Wow, that's digging back in time! When I listen back to Holy Smoke now, I hear such an innocent naivety. It’s endearing to picture the wide-eyed lens on life I had back then about almost everything... That sounds like I am such a bitter old biddy now!
I just think I have lived and learned so much in the past ten years, so it feels weird sometimes listening back to these records that feel like such a departure from who I am today. However, I still believe that is the coolest thing about making records: they are truly a public journal of an artist’s chaotic and irrational life.
What have you learned about yourself, this business and music in the past decade?
I have learned that you must be open to learning and trusting in others. Along with that, I have also learned that in order to look back and be proud of the work you have done, you must be the one with the vision and calling the shots at least 90 percent of the time. I've also learned that the most sacred part to having a career in music is the actual writing of it. At least, that’s where my heart lies with being a musician
Ivory is out March 23.