l e b a r W Photographed by Yazz Alali
TABLE OF CONTENTS AUGUST 2021 - MUSIC SPECIAL
ON THE COVER WRABEL PHOTOGRAPHED BY YAZZ ALALI FOR VIEWTIES.
Editor's note, p5 Welcome to the August edition - nº 27.
TABLE OF CONTENTS AUGUST 2021 - MUSIC SPECIAL
PAGE 14 SUZI MACGREGOR -
Suzi MacGregor, p14 introduces an experimental sound and speaks all about her passion and background.
anticipates his upcoming album and tour, speaking about his creative process and authenticity.
A MAGAZINE WRITTEN & DESIGNED BY
Published monthly at Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ad sales agent: Anny Andrades - firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions: viewties.co.uk @viewtiesmag
r e t t e L A the Editor from
elcome to the August 2021 editon #27 of Viewties!
Inside this issue, we celebrate music and the best of creativity brought to us by two very talented singers and songwriters. One is modern music’s most celebrated, versatile, powerhouse songwriters and rising artists, and speaks to us about his creative process, authenticity and his experience writing his '100% me song'. Then, moving to a more experimental sound, we speak to another gifted musician to discuss all about her passion in the practice. So much to learn, too much to hear and too much to get inspired by!
WRABEL Photographed by Yazz Alali
W S inger-songwriter Wrabel, has recently dropped his third single
‘back to back’ with Dutch sensation Duncan Laurence as the latest cut off Wrabel’s much-anticipated debut full-length album, ‘these words are all for you’, which will drop on Sept. 24 via Big Gay Records/Nettwerk. The album will usher into the world the next chapter from one of modern music’s most celebrated, versatile, powerhouse songwriters and rising artists. The release follows fellow album pre-release tracks “good” and “nothing but the love”, as well as the announcement of a short, intimate run of live dates, the nothing but the piano tour, which includes a stop at NYC’s Le Poisson Rouge and an album release show at LA’s The Regent Theater this late summer/early fall. Wrabel’s resume speaks for itself. He has toured alongside and collaborated with P!nk, has co-writing/performance credits alongside the likes of Kesha, Marshmello, Celeste, Backstreet Boys, Ellie Goulding, Louis Tomlinson, Louis the Child, Wafia, Cash Cash, and more. He’s released four previous EPs, has racked up 265 million streams across all DSP platforms, and his song “the village” has become an LGBTQ+ anthem. Viewties caught up with the musician to find out the latest on all these wonderful things, as he speaks about his creative process, authenticity and his experience writing his '100% me song'.
Wrabel Photographed by Yazz Alali
V: What I like about your music is that your lyrics are very meaningful and they transmit too much, I believe everybody can relate to them and they feel so honest and empathetic. For sure some of your songs feel like an anthem to many of us. Where does all this creativity come from? Was it harder to find inspiration during lockdown or did you still find stories hiding around these crazy times? Wrabel - That’s interesting. You know, I don’t really know where my creativity comes from, I have a hard time claiming it as my own really. I am very dependent on what I call ‘mystical magical muse’ that floats around in space, and sometimes it’s there and sometimes it leaves you high and dry and its gone. So, for me it’s very fluid and it comes in waves, and sometimes I’ll get a song idea that feels like it writes itself, and sometimes nothing. You have a whole day writing where it’s just dry, and that’s why I do depend on collaboration, which I guess weighs into the lockdown. I think one of the hardest parts about staying inspired and creative was that you can’t see people. I was pretty locked down and scared, and I didn’t really go anywhere and collaborate in rooms for over a year so getting online and facetime and zoom and trying to write songs was freakin’ weird at the beginning. I’ve tried to lean into it, I’ve had a lot of encouragement from my publisher and my management. Once I got in the flow of it, I was so thankful to have even the ability to get on a computer and write a song with someone. One of the big silver linings of the lockdown for me was writing my first 100% me song which was ‘nothing but the love’.
One of the big silver linings of the lockdown for me was writing my first 100% me song.
I wrote that song on my couch, I did like 12 versions of it, which I have never done in my whole life, I hate rewrites. I give up so easily on a song and someone’s like ‘why don’t you take another look at the chorus?’, and I’m like ‘okay it’s all bad so just leave it alone!’. So that was a cool thing - I can’t say that I would have sat down and tried to write that song if I was still in rooms with people. V: It happens to me that sometimes music helps me to write, some songs help me to find the right words to express my feelings, does this happen to you when you’re composing? Do you have a song or anything that ‘turns on’ the creative button in your head? Wrabel - Interesting. I almost find that the absence of sound gets my creativity going. Sometimes when I’m listening to too much it feels like white noise. I know at home, I think I’m the only person I know that has an actual cable box, and I just put on bad day time TV and it’s on like full volume all day, because my brain tends to go in the quiet. And so, when I’m really trying to find an idea or really home in on the news or any form of creativity whether its song writing or any sort of poetry, or you know I do little, I have a hard time calling it art, I guess I should because it is, like it’s for sale in galleries…. But anything I’m doing that’s creative I do quite like to light a candle and sit in the quiet for a little bit because then my brain starts going. That’s ...
kind of where I find my creativity. V: You have co-writing / performance credits alongside the likes of Kesha, Marshmello, Celeste, Backstreet Boys, Ellie Goulding, Louis Tomlinson, Louis the Child, Wafia, Cash Cash, and more. Do you find it easier writing for someone else than writing for yourself? Wrabel - It’s different every time. I’ve been told that when I’m collaborating for myself that it’s difficult for everyone else in the room because I can be particular. I don’t always know what I want it to be, but I always do know what I want it to not be. And that can be a difficult place. As someone that works with other artists for their projects, I know what that feels like, so I’m like yeah, I get that. But it’s different every time. My favourite thing is to work with artists that really know themselves and really wanna tell true stories and have so much heart and again going back to artists like Kesha, Pink and Wafia, they inspire me so much and when I’m in the room for them it’s my job to sit in the passenger seat, listen, pick up on something that they may say or a story they might tell, or a feeling that they might express, and kind of try to find songs in the room whereas for myself that’s me, I’m like in the driver’s seat being like ‘No! Not that!
Nothing but the Love was definitely a very unique experience for me and I’m so happy with howit turned out. V: In an industry that tends to compare musicians all the time, how do you do to keep yourself authentic without letting that affecting your sound and your essence as an individual unique artist? Wrabel - On a very basic level I just don’t listen to that much new music, because I tend to get insecure and take a comparison to heart, and either it can kind of be identity crisis. At the same time, I think there are some comparisons I’ve heard before like people will compare me to Chris Martin and I’m like oh my gosh that’s the most flattering thing in the entire universe. So, on some level I think we judge everything by comparison, but at the same time you know kind of leaning into your own identity is what makes an artist an artist, not in some ego-y holier-than-thou way at all, but I think we all have our own unique perspective and stories, and I think so long as I’m telling the truth that’s my story and that’s my identity. It’s a tricky thing but I do try and stay away from listening to too much new music because it can make me feel absolutely bonkers. V: It’s been years in the making, but finally you're soon to release your debut album ‘These Words Are All For You’. That’s an interesting name, who does this album title goes for? Wrabel - Yeah so, the title is actually because it’s kind of loaded. The first record that I made was in my first deal, I had signed my first big record deal and I went to London for 3 months and made this record that I had always dreamed of making. The last day of writing I had just been broken up with out of my first relationship, and it was the kind of cliché thing where you think that first relationship is the be all end all, this is forever and forever planning your whole life together, even into the afterlife. And so, I had the last day of writing two absolutely incredible people Dan McDougall and ...
Jimmy Hogarth. I said I have to say everything on this song because it’s the last day of writing, and you know this breakup just happened and I have to close the album with this, with everything and put everything like no pressure on this today. I was listening to this song by Frou Frou called The Dumbing Down of Love and its very much inspired by that. I think Frou Frou are just incredible. And so, we sat down and wrote this song, it’s called ‘love is not a simple thing to lose’. And the very last line of that song, which was the last line from the first album, and which has continued and is now the last line of this album is ‘these words are all for you’. That’s changed meaning for me a lot, at the beginning it was very much like this record is for this guy that I was with, and it was my first love. And now it’s kind of changed meanings, there’s still nods to him but I’m very much in love now and it’s for him and it’s for me, and it’s for you and everyone listening. And that’s been a cool thing that’s really shape shifted. But that song is still like one of the only songs I still get really emotional when I play it. You know, a lot of songs sometimes eases up a bit, like 11 Blocks at the beginning I was crying every time I played it, now it’s like okay I’ll do it with a big smile. I’ve played that song so many times and ‘love is not a simple thing to lose’ is something I’ve still played a lot, but every time it takes me back to that room, on that day, chain smoking my vogue cigarette outside, sobbing at the notebook, very cliché, on a rainy day in London. It takes me back. V: Did you have to re-worked songs? Do you worry about losing the song’s DNA (to call it somehow) when you change chords or modify lyrics? Wrabel - Yeah, I think completely that. I have a really hard time revisiting. For this record we tried to rework two songs that I love, or felt like there was something in, and neither of them ended up on the record because it just felt like this weird feeling where I was like this is not really the song anymore. And if the song wasn’t good enough then that’s fine, or if it just wasn’t the right vibe or the right sentiment or whatever, but I do have a really hard time reworking songs which is why the song ‘nothing but the love’ really surprised me that I wrote that by myself, it’s my first release ever that I wrote alone. I did the first production ...
sketches of that song which I have no idea how to work a computer, but I taught myself, and you know I think I did 12 versions of that song from the first night. I started it over a couple of weeks really, and I’ve never done that in my whole life, and that was such a cool process. I think because I was just by myself, I didn’t have input coming from anywhere else because I think I have a hard time sometimes with opinions, I can get really defensive. It’s weird you make something out of nothing that comes from nowhere and everywhere and then someone tells you their thoughts, and you’re like no… well this is just a thing that happens, I have a hard time kind of with all that. ‘nothing but the love’ was definitely a very unique experience for me and I’m so happy with how it turned out. But I don’t see myself doing revisions in the near future. V: You have recently released ‘back to back’, your third single this year, What is this song about and what is the symbolism you wanted to convey with it? Wrabel - I think that was the first song I wrote together with Leon who’s an incredible artist, I got to tour with her, just an incredible artist. With her and Curtis Mckenzie and John Mills. I came in with this idea of ‘back to back’, just the feeling of falling asleep, it’s kind of like that Ne-Yo ‘mad at you’, like ‘I don’t wanna go to bed mad at you, you don’t wanna go to bed mad at me’. Kind of that feeling of sharing a bed that you can still feel so far away from someone. Like you’re staring at the wall and the wall becomes 100 feet tall and the room starts growing, and you start imagining all the stuff and you go down this K-hole of sadness and all you have to do sometimes is turn around and be like ‘Hey, can we talk?’ or ‘hey I’m sorry’ or ‘hey I love you’ or whatever that is. So that’s what we really tried to convey with that song. And I’m such a fan of Duncan Lawrence, ‘Arcade’ - I freakin love that song so much. In Nashville they give out this award called ‘I wish I wrote it’ award, and if I was in charge, I would give it to that song a million times over. And he’s such a nice guy. Getting to sing this with him is really a dream come true.
Wrabel Photographed by Yazz Alali
V: ‘Nothing but the Love’ is my favourite song! I love that you chose to use the dancing to symbolise your feelings, to show that someone or something is showing you how to express yourself, the flow of expression. To mirror the love, you are so grateful to have found. This is also special because it’s the only song you wrote yourself on the record. So, when you worked on the music videos for your singles, do you bring your ideas? How is it to find the right ways to express these feelings visually? Wrabel - Visuals for me are always difficult, even just still images. I’m just so thankful for one of my best friends in the world, she’s like a sister called Yazz, she does all my visuals and a lot of the creative direction, and I just think she’s such a genius. Then when it goes to moving images, I don’t know what to do. I’m not an artist that has the mood board, I so respect and admire artists that are like that. I usually would just get a batch of treatments in and look at them and one thing that’s been different now doing this independent is we have more control I think, and even just of conversations that I have, and so with that video in particular I worked with a director called Michael Thomas. So, getting to just talk to him like this is what the song is about, this is what I’m feeling, this is the inspiration for it, that did so much for me to then feel like they’re understanding what you’re trying to do, cos I don’t think in visuals Some people do. I think in lyric and song based, but the visuals I’m always like I have no idea – I just ...
want to look really pretty. As long as I can get a little glammed up. On the good video I worked with an incredible director called Carlos, and the same thing with him. I really appreciate people that want to hear what the songs are about, this is an interesting lyric, ''what’s that lyric. Maybe there’s a moment in the video where we can play off this lyric, tell me more about it.'' And that’s been a really cool experience for me. V: You’re also soon to start an intimate run of live dates, ‘the nothing but the piano tour’. How are you preparing to jump into this experience? Why would you recommend the audience to attend? What do you think will surprise them from the shows? Wrabel - I have no idea! I am an avid under preparer, I’m usually writing a setlist 5 minutes before I go on stage, or even just looking through a notebook as I’m on the stage. I try to keep things really… casual's the wrong word, I guess natural? I try to leave room for surprise in everything I do. Because it keeps it fresh for me. I feel so lucky to have some fans that come to every show when I do a tour. And so, I don’t want them seeing the same exact show with the same exact set list every night, so I try to always leave room for a surprise, and I think if anything I’m more emotionally preparing for the emotional influx of overwhelming feels of just being ...
I really appreciate people that want to hear what the songs are about. able to tour again. It has been such a long time, there’s no better feeling really than to be able to share stories and smiles and laughs and tears and all of that with real people, so I’m really excited. V: Last question, as my nationality is Argentinean, I’m curious to ask you if you have ever seen or experienced any type of art/ culture from Argentina? Wrabel - I haven’t, my brother and his wife went to Argentina, were just so blown away and so ever since they got back and were telling me about it, I’ve always wanted to go but it’s one place I haven’t made it to. But as the world starts to heal and feel safer, I hope to make it out there.
Wrabel announced that track ‘london’ is coming August 27th.
Wrabel Photographed by Yazz Alali
uzi MacGregor is a vocalist and composer who got my
attention when I saw her performing live in the short film Bridge by Gemma Barnett. She has an amazing gift and that’s what she makes clear
when saying - ‘‘I felt I always still had the rootsy, blood harmony, folk singing element to my musical life through my family.’’ Suzi makes use of her beautiful gift and is ready to drop her first album, which is currently in the works. In a conversation with Viewties, Suzi introduces her art and beautiful vision along with exciting news about her upcoming plans.
V: I saw you performing your music live in Gemma's short film Bridge and I immediately felt so connected to your music. I love artist whose sound is so experimental and authentic. You were described as a gifted musician, so I am very curious to know now your first memories with the music? When was the first time you picked up an instrument and started playing? Suzi - wow, yeah, so my first memories with music all start with my family. I grew up singing in harmony with my family really, I guess. My parents both sing and Dad plays guitar, and we would play all together at charity concerts and things like that. My strongest early memories of first singing were in long car journeys to West Wales for holidays. My two sisters and I would all have our sony walkmans and be singing out loud! I remember I would be playing pop songs like S Club 7, my older sister would be playing something like Rage Against The Machine, and my younger sister was listening to some kind of soft rock like Busted! haha. We'd get annoyed with each other's different tunes, so we would just start singing along with each other. Luckily, our parents always encouraged us, and still do. We all sing, write and play music now. My grandparents paid for my piano lessons from age 7, and I started classical voice lessons aged 11.By the time I was 13 we had moved to West Wales, and I picked up the guitar then, because it was easier to sit ...
on the beach and play music with the guitar than with the piano! That's around when I started writing my own songs too. I continued the classical training right through to University, but I felt I always still had the rootsy, blood harmony, folk singing element to my musical life through my family. V: What inspires your compositions? Do you feel you create music for yourself or the aim is to inspire other people as well? Suzi - Usually, my writing comes from the urge to sing out a feeling, or a reaction to a feeling! It's quite a physical sensation for me, and the melody comes first, then words form. I create music as an expression for myself for sure, but I feel like that expression can hopefully be a source of inspiration to other people too. I want to inspire others by taking them to the 'other side' through my singing and music - the place where you feel, reflect, wonder and get little shivers down your arms! V: What musician do you admire most and why? Suzi - I've always admired Joni Mitchell, since being a teenager. I love a wide range of music - but folk music and Joni was always a direct line to my musical soul! (that, and somehow, musical theatre!) Anyway, with Joni, her voice resonated with me. As I learnt to sing along ..
I continued the classical training right through to University, but I felt I always still had the rootsy, blood harmony, folk singing element to my musical life through my family. to her songs, I felt my voice kind of 'match' with hers and the intricate melodies were a challenge compared to most other tunes. I love the versatility of her voice, it flips and falls and swirls with lyrics that are so vulnerable and honest. She is a brave artist and expresses that through heartfelt, vulnerable music - I really admire that.
V: As a writer sometimes I feel I see emotions and reality in words, but as a musician, do you see the world in melodies? I believe music is another language, but how do you know it so well in terms of stories and feelings? Suzi - Yes, I definitely believe music is another language! I'd say, for me, I physically feel the melodies. Almost like they come from my body?! It's like an energy that rises up and needs to be expressed. But I get what you mean in terms of experiencing the outer world in a musical way too. I think musicians do hear melodies in the world around them. That's why the land and the environment around you can really influence the soundscape of the music you create. I've lived in rural places throughout my 20's, and I have sung in caves, forests, beaches, rivers, and in countryside cathedrals and chapels playing with the acoustics. I feel like the 'music' of these places have helped to shape my voice and my writing. I have spent the last 8 years really venturing into the world - travelling, living abroad, being with the land, and I know that has brought me closer to my own authentic voice, especially after years of classical training which, even though I'm grateful for, can feel restrictive. V: You have some amazing covers uploaded on your YouTube channel, are you thinking of making your own music and sharing it on the platform anytime soon? If so, what kind of vibes are we going to get from it? Suzi - Ah, thanks! I'm glad ...
I think musicians do hear melodies in the world around them. That's why the land and the environment around you can really influence the soundscape of the music you create. you liked the YouTube covers. YouTube was the first platform I ever used for sharing music! So yes, I am in the process of making my first album. It's a bunch of tunes I've been writing and developing for the last 3-4 years. I'd say it's a pretty soulful collection of songs - some are the good old classic break-up ballads which I just need to belt out! Some are more story-orientated, others more light, fun and poppy. But the overall vibe I want to create is bittersweet, moving, fiery and ...
hopeful - I want these songs to give a strong sense of hope. V: Social media has become quite important during these crazy times, are you finding that you use it even more to stay connected with your close ones and other musicians? Suzi - Yes, because I've lived in quite a few places, I have friends all over the place so I use it a lot to keep in touch. And with family too when I'm away from them. Although I got to say, there's nothing that beats an actual phone call or video chat and proper catch up! I think Instagram can be quite detrimental to artist's I know we all go through phases of comparisons and all that fun stuff. But generally, it's actually quite an exciting way to connect with other musicians and it is so versatile. It's quite a new thing to realise that location perhaps is becoming less important to make music and collaborate as so much of it has had to be done remotely throughout the pandemic. Nothing beats actually creating live music in a room with other musicians - but social media can for sure be a really good way of networking. Can't say I've cracked it yet but I can definitely see how it works!
V: The art we do leads us to live amazing experiences, as well as learning. What is the lesson you feel music has taught you? Suzi - Ooo, wow, that's a big one. Okay, so I think ultimately, the biggest lesson music has taught me - and still teaches me - is that there is something MORE than us. I know that music lights up certain parts of our brains and allows us to experience heightened emotions, there is a psychological element to it of course. But whether you want to call it energy, inspiration, art, god, divine, whatever - for me, music is a channel that helps us all to tap into the source. That's what moves us. Music also teaches me to trust, and to let go of ...
expectations - especially when I am improvising with my voice. V: Last question, as my nationality is Argentinian, I’m curious to ask you if you have ever seen or experienced any type of art/culture from Argentina? Suzi - I have spent a lot of time in Costa Rica where I've met lots of Argentinians - I'm here in Costa Rica now in fact! I was hanging out with an Argentinian just yesterday and we're hopefully going to jam tonight. Honestly, most Argentinians I have met are so naturally expressive and artistic, and are not shy to sing. Music seems to be so central to your culture. I love that. I remember when I was travelling in ...
for me, music is a channel that helps us all to tap into the source. Peru, I met an incredible singer called Lorena Gomez from Argentina (check her out!) who was touring with two percussionists. She just sang her heart out and played incredibly complex rhythms on percussion instruments at the same time. I asked her afterwards for a singing lesson and we had a vocal session the next day in the hostel. Her voice was so powerful and she studied and sang lots of typical folk music from Argentina. And she for sure does it justice. Incredible. I would love to sing with her again one day. Oh, and I have experienced 'La Parrilla' (old school Argentinian BBQ grill!) with my friends here in Costa Rica... so much food!
Suzi is currently travelling and working on her album, supporting herself through online work. Any copywriting/editorial work or online vocal lessons, please get in touch with Suzi at suzinaomi.wixsite.com/website-1
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