Updated: May 21, 2020
Gillian Heidi is a young American singer songwriter, with a talent beyond her years - we recommend you take a listen! Fans see her as a blend of Colbie Caillat, Camila Cabello and early Taylor Swift. An odd mix that magically works. Sweetness stirred together with intelligence, edge and angst. Thanks to Gillian for doing this interview!
Tell us a bit about your new EP, Unfiltered !
I wrote the songs on Unfiltered when I was 13 or 14 and worked with my piano teacher Patrick Hanlin to produce the EP, which we released independently in early 2019. It was really just a fun summer project, but when the lead single “What It Felt Like” started racking up streams, things started to get more serious.
What kind of things inspire you to write?
A lot of what I do is on the darker side. I’m thinking about specific instances. If I feel down about school or friends, I’ll take an emotion and directly channel it into a song. It’s all based on something that happened to me. I’ve always dealt with stress and emotional times through songwriting. Let’s just say that there are quite a few of them at this point.
How did you start out on your music journey?
I have been really musical since I was a baby. Rather than wake up crying in my crib, my parents would know I was awake when they heard me “singing” to myself. I was also inspired by my older brother, who is an amazing jazz pianist. I started playing piano when I was four years old and I wrote my first song only a year later. A few years later I “borrowed” my dad’s guitar and taught myself how to play. It has really been a pretty continuous path since I was a baby.
How has your life changed since releasing your debut single?
I was really surprised at the response I got from the release of What It Felt Like. I was approached by a lot of producers, including a couple of Grammy award winners that have worked with artists like Eminem, Nora Jones, U2 and Bruno Mars. It was overwhelming and a bit intimidating. I wound up working with Serg Sanchez, an amazing producer, and Hard 8 // Working Group, the management company behind Billie Eilish and, Finneas. I spent a big part of last summer traveling between Boston, New York and Nashville to record my upcoming album “3am”.
Who are your influences and what’s on your playlist right now?
It’s a cliché, but my main influence was definitely Taylor Swift. I grew up with her and idolized her songwriting and values. She taught me how to be authentic and tell a story. Other amazing artists that continue to influence me are Ella Mai, Finneas and Amy Winehouse.
Who be your dream artist to collaborate with?
Amy Winehouse, without a doubt. She was authentic and raw. Her songwriting was beautiful, both lyrically and musically. Rest in peace.
What’s been your most memorable gig so far and what made it stand out for you?
Last year, at the beginning of my freshman year in high school, I got talked into playing a couple of original songs in front of the entire student body. Playing in front of 500 of my peers – knowing that I would be harshly judged – was oddly exciting and terrifying at the same time.
What’s coming up for you next?
“High”, the first single from 3am, is dropping in late April. There will be a couple of additional singles after that, then the album. I am also going to be opening for Tate McRae later this summer in Boston, D.C. and Philadelphia.
Is there anything else you want everyone to know about you and your music?
The reason I listen to music is to feel a connection to someone else. If you have someone else say what you’re feeling through a song, you connect. That’s my ultimate goal by sharing my truth.