What do you get when you mix neo-soul, alt-R&B and a keen sense of emotion? Gabrielle Current , a rising singer whose mysterious, wrenching and alienesque music has a very human center.
Without as much as an EP out, she's captured enough fans to secure millions of streams — and a cosign from FINNEAS for being one of his favorite artists to work with. Current's been training to be a musician since she was five years old and now her time has arrived with the release of her debut EP, Virgo, out now.
Along with it arrives "Serenity," a single that packages what Virgo is all about. There's some dream-infused synths here and melancholy melodies marinated in soft jazz, as well. It fits right into Virgo's poetic examination of how a person feels, loves, mourns and grows.
"This project is about learning to let go of things that aren't meant for you in order to fall in love with yourself," Current tells PAPER. "Virgo felt like the right collection to share because as I landed on a sound that really felt like me, I also gained a deeper understanding of the woman and artist I want to continue growing into."
Below, Current explains the tenacious, ethereal and mesmerizing sounds of Virgo across its five tracks.
"Make It Right"
I wrote "Make it Right" before I even experienced it. Sometimes I strangely think I manifest the songs I write into actual experiences. This song is about a toxic connection with someone I was not wanting to let go of. At the time, I was clinging to this idea that I could only receive love from others. My grip on that relationship was strong even when the other person was pulling away. My producer and I went through so many versions of this song trying to find the right fit instrumentally. We wanted to keep the sound mellow and introspective without being overly sad. The hook musically has an underlying tone of positivity and hope, almost in a subconscious way, similar to that voice in the back of your head telling you that everything is going to be okay when you face challenges and loss.
"Plenty" is a question mark. Some ties sever without warning and I think those breakups are the hardest to swallow. It's about the unanswered questions I've had to internalize and a false sense of confidence that often follows the experience. "Plenty" is ironic, too, because what is plenty for the one that gets away sometimes leaves the other feeling empty. This is a song about that unevenness. I often feel that writing sessions are like therapy. I started the idea with my friend Barkley, who's an amazing writer and artist. We sat on the floor of her living room and fleshed out the lyrics and melody on her acoustic guitar. After working on "Plenty" for a while, I realized that while I was writing about things that were troubling me. Uncertainty isn't necessarily a bad thing and the production of the track ended up reflecting that. If you accept what is out of your control, you have the ability to welcome the new with open arms.
"Down the Line"
"Down the Line" is about a very challenging relationship with someone close to me. I finally got to a place where I was satisfied being on my own. I was learning more about my healing patterns and how to lean on myself instead of waiting for someone to change. This was the first song I wrote for the EP and it set the tone for the entire project. I knew I wanted to continue writing about my self discovery and self-love. "Down the Line" is a reflection of my ability to process change and experience the freedom that comes with it. It was through letting go of this relationship that I gained an independence and a freedom that could only come from me.
"If I Fall"
"If I Fall" is the turning point in the EP's storyline where I began to accept and internalize all of the changes in my life at the time. I'm no longer gripping, both lyrically and melodically, to loss but reminiscing with gratitude. The irony is that I didn't really plan out the concept for this song. It was one of those songs that just wrote itself and when I listened back, I realized what I had accomplished emotionally. This was the first time I was able to reminisce on heartbreak and find empowerment in the growth that inevitably comes.
"Serenity" is about finding peace in letting go of what isn't meant for you. I realize that wholeness and love comes from within, and I had to learn that eliminating what interferes with that is not a selfish act. This was the last song I wrote for the project and it felt like an epiphany.
Photography: Nicole Lewis