Gin Wigmore could be a stranger to you, but not for long.
New Zealand native Gin Wigmore first caught the world’s attention with her 2009 debut “Holy Smoke” and the critically acclaimed follow-up in 2011 titled, “Gravel & Wine”. Her raw and emotional voice delivers a mix of genres, often in one song pop, blues, soul, and rock n’ roll.
“Blood To Bone” finds the 28-year-old evolving from her roots to create an album loaded with diverse intent and assertion of her new-found stride as a musician. For her, it’s an album of many firsts – she sits behind the piano, stretches her voice into falsetto, manages all the backing vocals on the album, and steps into the role of co-producer.
The end result is her most powerful release to date.
Here are 7 fun facts to get you better acquainted with the uber talented singer-songwriter that is Gin Wigmore ;)
1. Her real name & her first song
Professionally, she’s known as Gin Wigmore, but her real name is Virgnia Claire Wigmore and she was born in Auckland, New Zealand to Peter and Adrienne Wigmore. She has 2 older siblings: brother Olly and sister Lucy Wigmore, a professional actress known for starring as Justine Jones in the long-running New Zealand soap opera, “Shortland Street”. She married Jason Butler, lead singer of the band Letlive. during a private ceremony in Hawaii in September 2014.
As Gin Wigmore, she writes and sings, but her talents span beyond just writing and singing. Gin can also play the guitar as well as the ukulele. When Gin was only 14 years old, she was inspired by David Gray’s album, “White Ladder”. It was then that she wrote her first song, titled, “Angelfire”.
2. “Hallelujah”, a tribute to her late father, became a springboard for her career.
When her father died of cancer 2 years later, she stopped writing and playing music. She went to Argentina on an exchange program to teach at a kindergarten. On her return to New Zealand, she wrote “Hallelujah”, a tribute to her father. Her sister, Lucy Wigmore, entered the song in the US-based International Songwriting Competition in 2004 and Gin beat 11,000 songwriting aspirants from 77 countries to become the youngest and only unsigned Grand Prize winner in the history of the competition.
“Hallelujah was my way of telling my family I had dealt with dad’s passing and honestly, I didn’t want to share these feelings with anyone else. I wanted the moment for myself and my family.” – Gin Wigmore.
Oh, and by the way, Gin’s sister paid her entrance fee to the International Songwriting Competition in 2004. She still hasn’t paid her back.
3. “Blood to Bone” isn’t her first album – she has had a few!
Gin released her debut album, “Holy Smoke” in 2009. The first single from the album, “Oh My”, debuted on the New Zealand Singles Chart at #21 on 24 August 2009, moving to #7 the following week. It peaked at #4. Her 2nd album, “Gravel & Wine”, was released in 2011. The 1st single, “Black Sheep”, appeared in S08E12 of “Grey’s Anatomy”, in S02e02 of “Teen Wolf”, and in S05E05 of “The Good Wife”. On top of that, Gin appeared singing it on “Gift of Revenge”, a segment of ABC’s “Revenge” (TV series) S02E07.
“Blood To Bone”, her latest album, was released on 26th June 2015.
4. Her songs have been featured in various commercials
Beyond just TV shows, “Black Sheep” was also used in a TVC for Guinness Black Lager in US. Her other single off “Gravel & Wine”, titled, “Kill The Night”, was used in commercials such as Alfa Romeo in Australia, Commercials with the song include Alfa Romeo in Australia, Nationwide Insurance in US, and a worldwide short by Johnnie Walker. Not forgetting, Gin was featured in a “Skyfall” tie-in commercial from Heineken performing the song “Man Like That”, which also featured James Bond portrayer Daniel Craig and Bond girl Bérénice Marlohe.
Or watch the longer version here.
5. There’s a stark difference between Gin & Virginia
It’s true, Gin/Virginia is full of surprises. As Gin, her voice is raspy and raw when she sings. But you’d be surprised to find that as Virginia, her speaking voice is high-pitched and girly! On top of that, Gin is also known for her edgy and mysterious outlook on stage as well as in her music videos. You’d never find her without eyes ringed with dark kohl eyeliner, dark roots through her bleached blonde hair, and tattoos on her arms. In fact, she often gets compared to Amy Winehouse.
As Virginia, however, she’s your ordinary friendly and chatty Kiwi girl with a “girl next door” vibe. A complete opposite of her brooding image!
6. “Grave & Wine” was inspired by Mississippi and Alabama
For “Gravel and Vine”, Gin said that the songs and music were inspired by the 2 months she spent in Mississippi and Alabama, listening to the music there. On top of that, she also watched a lot of old films, including westerns, and embraced the American south in every way.In publicity material, she writes that she spent time in the “juke joints” of Clarksdale, Mississippi, learning from locals about “the real blues”. So the songs have a masculine energy about them, delivered in her sassy, seductive style.
I got down to business and started writing furiously. I wore my fingers down to a callous state writing with every Tom, Dick and Harry around the world, including a chap named Charlie who plays for a man named Bob, to wrestle my emotions and bring out the raw grit hiding in my tightly guarded sub-conscious. Lucky for me, it all paid off in the way of 11 tip-top songs that have the love of a cowboy, bathe in a little lonesome blues, dance to a touch of rock ‘n’ roll and have the swagger of a woman past midnight.
7. She’s spends more time in the US than at home in Sydney
Gin previously revealed that while she was making “Gravel & Wine”, she lived for 3 months in edgy Venice Beach and biked along the boardwalk to Butch’s studio every day, carrying her stuff in a basket on the front. “It was a beautiful studio with lamps and fairy lights. It was relaxing and loungy. Butch likes nice wine, too, so there was a bottle or two around,” she said. In fact, although she has a house in Sydney, Gin said that spends so much time in the US that it feels like her 3rd home. “I love the energy in the US, you know. Everyone is really psyched. You feel really privileged to be there,” she added.