Ali Gilbert is a singer/songwriter from the small town of Tamworth in the West Midlands (UK). He has been performing and writing music since his early 20’s. When he’s not performing at gigs and writing songs, he loves spending time with his family, playing football and hitting the gym.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown and current home has affected you and your music today?
“My hometown and the community have been a real significant part of my musical journey and shaped me into the person I am today. This has ultimately inspired me to write about personal experiences referencing to growing up in my hometown and the overwhelming support I have received from friends and family.”
What kind of sounds were playing around you as you were growing up?
“I would have to say that pop/rock, R’n’B and Hip Hop were always being played on my Ipod throughout secondary school which is when I really connected with music and artist’s/bands such as Eminem, Kanye West, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, The Killers, Papa Roach and Blink 182.”
Growing up, did you aspire a career in music?
“Growing up I lived and breathed football and other sports such as golf, cricket and skateboarding. Although I was always into music it was never something I wanted to pursue at a younger age I suppose at the time as I was so focused on trying to be the next Ronaldo or Messi! (laughs)”
What was it about music that later inspired you to pursue a career in it?
“When I was in my early 20’s I started listening to my uncle who was a very talented songwriter and was in a band called the Diversions Real. I remember how amazed and blown away I was listening to his musical talent and this was a real significant moment which inspired me to start writing songs and learning to play the guitar. Sadly, he took his own life some years ago at the age of 39 after battling mental health struggles but he will always be an inspiration to me and my musical journey.”
What can you tell me about the first song you wrote and recorded?
“I wrote my first song at the age of 22 called ‘Days Go By’ which I believe is still somewhere on YouTube. I was in a job at the time that I really wasn’t enjoying and also I found it difficult to spend quality time with my wife and family, so randomly one day whilst it was fairly quiet, I decided to write a song. I then went on to record this at a local studio after receiving a £50 voucher 2 hour recording session as a Christmas present.”
Who are some of your favourite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music?
“I would have to say that my uncle and grandfather are a huge inspiration when it comes to writing my own music. I also absolutely love artists such as Sam Fender, Ben Howard, Billie Eilish, James Bay, Damien Rice and The 1975 and take inspiration from there musical journeys.”
For those that are unfamiliar with your music, please sum it up with three words.
“Emotive, Authentic and honest.”
What song represents who you are best?
“I would say my single ‘Louder’ as this was written about speaking up for what I stand for and always believing in yourself regardless of the rejection and setbacks in life. It’s also a message to my own children never to give up on their dreams!”
What inspires you to write songs and what is your creative process?
“I would probably say most of my songs are inspired by my own personal experiences. I usually start with my guitar searching for a chord progression which inspires the mood and type of song I want to run with. I then usually write a chorus and build the verses around that. Finally, once I have written the song and got down the melody of the song, I get in the studio with my producer to get it recorded asap.”
What can you tell me about the new single ‘Run by the River’?
“This song was written based on a fictional character seeking forgiveness on his final road to redemption. I was out one morning jogging by a river and that’s literally where the chorus and melody popped into my head, I just needed a concept which came later down the line when I started jotting down ideas for the first verse which then setup the storyline for the whole song.”
You frequently post videos on TikTok and Facebook of you playing songs by other artists. What’s your favourite cover to sing?
“I love to try and put my own interpretation on songs and have recently recorded my own ballad version of Robyn’s huge hit – ‘With Every Heartbeat’.”
What musicians would you love to work with in the future?
“I would love to work with and collaborate with Billie Eilish. I think she is a musical creative genius! It’s a long shot but you can always dream.”
What would you say is your greatest strength as an artist?
“My greatest strenght is not being afraid to wear my heart on my sleeve and being completely raw expressing how I feel when writing and performing my songs. I hope that the listener can connect and relate and that it can reach out and speak to people going through similar experiences.”
What do you do when you aren’t working on music?
“I love spending as much quality time as possible with my wife and two beautiful children. I try and get to as many gigs and watch my favourite artists live. I have recently been to see Sam Fender and he was incredible!”
What can we expect from you in 2022?
“I am putting on two headline shows this year which I am super excited about! My first is taking place in Birmingham at the well-known popular music venue The Sunflower Lounge. My second will be taking place in the summer in London venue TBC with a full band performing all my original songs in front of a live audience which will be an amazing experience.”
What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?
“I love ‘Weights and Measures’ by Michael Flynn. I think his tone and songwriting is incredible! It’s definatley a driving through the mountains on a sunny day chilled vibe which I love.”
What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?
“Ben Howard – ‘Old Pine’. I love this song as the melody harmonies acoustic guitar are beautiful.”
(Photo credits: Matt Sefton)