There are singers, and there’s Gin Wigmore. The New Zealand-born, L.A.-based artist’s raw, bluesy voice is so distinctive, some pundits are convinced it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world will recognize it.
Chances are, if you watch TV you’re already aware of her talents without necessarily making the connection. She’s synched her music to a slew of ad campaigns, from Johnnie Walker whisky to Alfa Romeo. She appeared in the background performing her song “Man Like That” in a Heineken beer cross-promo for the 2012 James Bond Skyfall film.
“If you align yourself with the right (product), it can be really powerful. You can have a huge other platform, a way for people to hear your music,” Wigmore tells Billboard.
The pull of those campaigns has even brought people to Wigmore’s gigs. “Oh yeah, that’s happened a few times where people have come up to me and said, “hey I heard you on TV and I came to the gig tonight to check you out,'” she explains. “You can’t get to every place, like the middle of Texas or Alice Springs, and yet people have heard you by virtue of the TV being on and your music comes in. It’s just another way to get fans and get that awareness for my music.”
Wigmore also maintains a traditional release strategy. This week she dropped the video for the robust retro-blues song “Willing To Die” (featuring Suffa & Logic), directed by her sister Lucy. It’s lifted from the Kiwi artist’s third album Blood To Bone (Universal), which opened at a career-high No. 13 in Australia. All of Wigmore’s albums have reached No. 1 in her homeland.
Synchs have been a solid strategy for Wigmore, though the streaming music model and its paltry royalties passed on to artists is one she is disillusioned with.
“How does anyone live in such a deluded world that they think artists can get all this shit and make records for free? I don’t understand that. Imagine a world without music. It would be so sad and awful and weird and not a good place to be in. Think about that every time. Maybe donate a bit extra, to music.” Wigmore’s works are on streaming music services, though the income is “pretty rough,” she admits.
Wigmore points to Adele as a source of inspiration. The British singer was the top selling artist in the world last year, according to the IFPI, and her album 25 has shifted more than 15 million copies since its release last November. Of course, 25 wasn’t released across subscription platforms.
“She’s gone,’ yup, it does cost something and I’ll make you f—ing pay for it so that I can keep making records.’ It’s a no brainer,” notes Wigmore. “You wouldn’t expect to go into a café and expect a sandwich to be free because you want to get fed. In any other aspect of society, we wouldn’t even conceive of that idea. It should cost something. The fact she’s like, ‘f— you, I won’t have my music consumable,’ I think that’s brilliant. That’s really good and for one of the biggest artists in the world to do that is awesome. She’s setting a great example for musicians. “
Like many fellow Antipodean performers, Wigmore calls California home (she’s married to Jason Butler, lead singer of U.S. punk band Letlive). L.A. is like a “mini country in its own city,” she explains. “You have the desert on your doorstep and being so central going over to Europe, New York, the U.K. or back to Australia and NZ, it’s a good little halfway point. It makes sense from a practical perspective.”
Wigmore completed a national U.S. tour last year and she’s coming back for a North American trek starting March 27 at U Street Music Hall in Washington, D.C.