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Gabriella Cilmi poised to make a big splash

Gabriella Cilmi

Feature by Jack Foley

TIPPED widely as a major new talent for 2008, Gabriella Cilmi released her debut single Sweet About Me on Monday, March 17, 2008, having also provided the theme tune to ITV’s Echo Beach.

Designed to bring a little fun back to pop, Sweet About Me is a slinky soulful pop song, about making trouble and getting away with it.

It has already been playlisted by Radio 1’s Jo Whiley, as well as Radio 2 and Capital FM [an impressive six weeks before release].

But who is Gabriella?

Well, she’s an Australian whose dedication and obvious talent have helped her to achieve widespread success despite receiving a firm rejection from her high school musical auditions.

Determined to prove them wrong, Gabriella teamed up with some local Australian boys and did her own thing – mainly Led Zeppelin, Kings Of Leon and Jet covers.

But it proved enough to give her the confidence to take the stage at a local Italian festa (Cilmi is Italian-Australian) in her native Melbourne and one Jumpin’ Jack Flash later, she had herself a local record deal.

Co-writing all her material, the deal allowed Gabriella the excuse to up sticks and relocate to London where she has been busy working with eccentric pop producer Brian Higgins.

Currently working with Franz Ferdinand, Annie and the UK’s perenial No.1 girl group, Sugababes, Higgins and longtime collaborator Miranda Cooper traveled to Australia, Los Angeles and finally London to write with Cilmi for her debut album Lessons To Be Learned, due for release in Summer 2008.

And it’s clearly been a match made in heaven as Gabriella has barely looked back since securing the deal.

For instance, it took one chance performance to convince the producers of BBC2’s flagship music show Later With Jools Holland to book Cilmi (pronounced chill-me) for the same acoustic slot that would set KT Tunstall and Corinne Bailey Rae on the road to million-plus album sales.

And it took one spin of another of her songs, Sanctuary, to convince the music supervisors on the recent St Trinians movie that Gabriella’s music should feature in the film and on their soundtrack, alongside the likes of Sugababes and Lily Allen.

The same song had a similar effect on the producers of the new primetime ITV drama/comedy series Echo Beach who chose the newcomer to record the theme tune, a cover of the Martha & The Muffins indie staple.

With variety the spice of Gabriella’s newfound success, the debut single Sweet About Me is a sensual grooving ditty that best introduces Cilmi, while other tracks on the forthcoming album, such as Don’t Want To Go To Bed Now and Save The Lies, are fast paced retro rockers fusing punk feminity of Blondie and Patti Smith with indie grit of The Killers and The White Stripes.

Such was the strength of public reaction to her performance on Jools Holland that her debut album jumped into the Top 10 of Amazon’s Pre-Sale Chart, with the album release still a couple of months off. Like we said, she’s clearly one to watch…