Zaynab Abigail, stage name “Gail”, is a singer-songwriter and UEA student. Her debut EP Sweet Nothings was released the 25th of September. This interview was conducted before her amazing performance at the Wild Fields festival on Saturday 12th of September.
So, how do you feel about performing again?
It’s the first time in like, seven months, I did a couple of gigs at the start of the year, one at the Birdcage and one at the Louis Marchesi– a lot smaller– this is like a cute small stage as well, but, obviously being at a festival is so crazy for my first gig back.
How did lockdown affect your creation process?
So I was doing an EP at the start of the year, and I sort of couldn’t finish doing that for a while as my friend who produces for me– we do it at his house as he has a studio and I couldn’t go there because of lockdown. But I figured out ways around it– I could do some of it at home. And I started writing loads of lyrics about self-isolation!
What can you tell me about your new EP?
It’s… basically about love? I suppose? And heartbreak, and all the different phases of that experience– I guess being really in love, then things ending when you don’t really care, and then… you care a bit too much, just all sorts of stuff to do with that. I suppose it’s on the same energy as ‘Gold Beemer.’
What have you been listening to recently?
I really love Rina Sawayama and her album that came out this year… So good. The best pop album this year. I also really like Dua Lipa, Future Nostalgia… I mostly go through phases of listening to the same thirty songs for like a month. (laughs)
What have your favourite albums/songs of the year been?
Ummm… “STFU,” by Rina Sawayama, it’s like a metal track by a pop artist and it’s amazing.
Who would you say are your biggest influences?
I wouldn’t say I have that many influences, like on my sound, I just sort of sing it and add guitar to it and it’s very simple and unromantic and very easy? In terms of the lyrics I write… In terms of how they construct their songs I really like Nilufer Yanya, and I also like Stella Donnelly and Julia Jacklin, and then I really love Frank Ocean…
How do you feel about going back to university?
I’m pretty excited, I’m a bit sad that things can’t happen as usual, because societies have made my uni experience, especially the ones I’m in– I’m especially excited to go back to start my dissertation.
What is your dissertation about?
So I do English lit and film, and my dissertation is on coming of age films– teenage girls in coming of age films. I’m really excited for that!
You can listen to Gail’s debut EP Sweet Nothings here.