Artist Interview: “Runaway” by Ali Gilbert

Q: I’m shocked because you’re self-taught yet you wrote “Runaway,” which is beyond amazing. I was speechless, especially with the guitar riffs that kind of resembles John Mayer’s fingerpicking style. I have to know what that journey is like, to be self-taught and work on your music because you’re self-taught creating masterpieces like “Runaway.”

GILBERT: This was the second song I wrote from my debut EP ‘Truth Be Told’; it literally came out nowhere! I didn’t have much writing experience at this point, but after strumming a few different chord progressions on my acoustic guitar, the melody and the concept of the song came into my head kind of organically. I then spent the next hour writing down lyrics ideas for the chorus and verses and then put the pieces to the puzzle during the next few days! I then had a song ready to record and build other instrumentation around.

The kind of sound I was looking for takes inspiration from artists such as John Mayer, Damien Rice, and Paolo Nutini, however heavily influenced by my Uncle Adrian Bailey, who was a truly gifted and talented singer-songwriter and musician who unfortunately passed away 11 years ago after taking his own life. His music is timeless and will continue to inspire me to create and write songs which hopefully connect with listeners the way his music connects with me.

Q: Now, everyone knows that a lot of melancholy-type songs stem from personal experiences, did the song stem from a personal place? What was it like to put such personal lyrics out to the public?

GILBERT: This song was written from a personal place and is about losing someone who’s been a huge part of your life suddenly leave without reason, leaving you asking yourself endless questions as to why. Hopefully, the lyrics connect with listeners from all walks of life who have experienced similar situations.


Q:  Tell me about your emotional and mental process in writing the song. Was it therapeutic or difficult?

GILBERT: The process of writing this song was both therapeutic and difficult, although the lyrics stem from a personal place and bring to the surface raw emotions which before had been suppressed for a long while; however, the therapy for me was actually writing down the lyrics and releasing the song which was almost closure in a way based upon those experiences in my life.


Q: What was the best part about working on “Runaway”?

GILBERT: The best part of working on Runaway was the process of experimenting different variations and instrumentation around what was initially started as a simple 4 chord acoustic progression which I came up with in my kitchen at home, which eventually fit perfectly with the emotions of the song.

Q: Now, I know we’ve had hard times during the pandemic, but what would you say are the highlights of your music career?

GILBERT: The highlights of my career so far have got to be performing my own original songs to a live audience at my first ever headline show at the 02 Institute Birmingham and also finding self-therapy in what comes with writing songs and collaborating with other musicians and local artists.


Q: Thank you so much and we look forward to hearing more of your work. Any parting words for your listeners?

GILBERT: I hope my music continues to tell a story about my life journey and experiences along the way and continues to reach out to many more people far and wide who it can relate, connect and inspire.

Interviewed by Taylor Berry

Photo Credits: Matthew Sefton

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