Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Gabby Allong. Together we discussed their influences, being an Olympic hopeful, their new EP “Pardon Me”, and so much more!
1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you?
I’m honored for this opportunity. Thank you so much. I am blessed to be here.
2. You began writing poetry at age seven. What kind of poetry were you writing? Who were some of your favorite poets growing up? Do you still write poetry?
Initially, I thought of poetry as rhyming words that best describe our feelings. I still think of poetry in that way, but now I understand that poetry helps us dissect unfamiliar emotions. My favorite poets are, of course, the great Shakespeare and Rumi.
3. What song (or album) had an impact on you? Do you still listen to this song or album? How does it make you feel now?
When my sister went off to college, she left her most prized CD at the time with me. Fijación Oral by Shakira. I still listen to this album, and ‘La Tortura’ had the most impact on me because I was enamored by how Shakira described her torture of losing a former lover. The album still has the same effect on me. It’s not strictly a reggaeton album. It has eclectic sounds and is influenced by rock, pop, and blues.
4. Who (or what) influences you?
Life experiences like loss, love…emotions like anxiety, bliss…The people who influence me are my sisters, my parents. The artists who influence me are Whitney Houston, The Weeknd, Celine Dion, Toni Braxton, Beyoncé, and Kanye West…the list is too long.
5. Besides being a musician, you are also an aspiring cyclist. Could you share more of your cycling aspirations?
I’ve been cycling competitively since I could remember. It started at the velodrome in Queens, NY, and has taken me worldwide. It opened so many doors for me and I love it. I’m a track and road cyclist by trade, but my inspo in the sport started with BMX and the X Games. I aspire to be a professional cyclist by 2024. It takes a lot of miles…thousands a year…grit. I love it because it allows me to think of new music while on the road.
6. You’re an artist with Sofar Sounds. For those who may not know what SoFar Sounds is?
Sofar is this incredible community that combines a collection of artists and musicians and allows us to share our talents with various audiences in the most intimate concert setting in over 400 cities globally. Fans purchase tickets without even knowing the artists scheduled to perform. Sofar shares the city and town locations but keeps the exact venue location a secret until just 36 hours before the event.
7. What is your songwriting process?
I go into the studio and tell my engineer/producer to play whatever chords he feels. Once we find chords we both connect with, I begin humming melodies. Then he starts adding the drums. The drums are the heartbeat of any song, so this part is important. Even if the song is a ballad, I have to feel compelled to move and dance to the rhythm. We don’t overproduce the beat because we want to give ample room for my vocal instrument. Then I go into the recording booth and hum random gibberish melodies complementing the instrumental. The words quickly find their way over those melodies. I either ‘punch in’ the lyrics and sing them line by line or write an entire verse on my phone and sing it right away. It’s best to capture the rawest and most original emotions on tape. We can always refine the technique later.
8. 2019 saw the release of your first single “Rosé.” What was the inspiration behind this single?
The inspiration for Rosé was after I felt deeply rejected by someone in my life. I’m not a heavy drinker, so I quickly become intoxicated after drinking a glass of wine. On the particular night that influenced the song, I drank the entire bottle of wine. I was extremely ill and bedridden the following day. I felt as though I was frozen in time that entire day. I was unable to do anything but rest and recover. The weight of my rejection felt more like sadness, embarrassment, and humiliation.
9. Your lyrics combine introspection, depth, and humility based on your own life experiences. How does songwriting allow you to introspect?
Songwriting allows me to take self-inventory of my actions, promises, vows, and values, therefore, helping me make better decisions to refine my character. Growth is important to me. I once read, “when a flower stops growing, it dies.” That simple law of nature binds every living organism. It’s our responsibility to learn from our life experiences, grow, and share our learnings with generations that come after.
10. In 2019 you also released your first album “It’s Been Allong Year.” Could you tell us what it is was like putting this album together? Is every year an Allong year?
Haha, I love this question. Yes, every year is a long year and an Allong year. My family means everything to me. We go through so much together. When I put that album together, it felt like welcoming something new to the family. It was an honor to put that one together. I was so nervous. I hate listening to that album because my voice lacked maturity, but I’ve come to respect my state of mind during that time. Writing that album gave me so much confidence.
11. Earlier this year you released your EP “Pardon Me.” On it, you hope to go far away from here. If you could travel anywhere, where would you like to go?
Of course, there are places on my bucket list I’d love to travel to. However, what I dream of most often is building my dream home by the ocean side, celebrating my wedding, and being surrounded by my immediate family and closest friends. I’d like to travel to that place I dream about.
12. A human gets invited to see Gabby Allong perform. What kind of show can they expect?
A human can expect the most human and intimate interaction when seeing Gabby Allong perform.
13. What is next for Gabby Allong?
I’m training as an Olympic hopeful for the 2024 games, and I’ll continue to release music consistently. I’ll perform every chance I get.
14. Where can readers listen to your music?
On ALL digital streaming platforms!