Nothing impossible I have found
For when my chin is on the ground
I pick myself up, dust myself off
And start all over again.
“These lyrics have always got me going,” says singer-songwriter Gwen Diaz, all set to release her second single, Time, from her debut album, Gwen And The Groove in a couple of days from now. The Mumbai-based performer adds, “Music is a journey. Every journey has its ups and downs. Persevere. I feel every single person is unique. You might feel overwhelmed, you might feel insignificant but the music that is in you, has never been and will never be in anyone else. But don’t be afraid to express yourself.”
Talking about Time, Gwen shares, “Through this quirky groovy composition, I pay my respect to the greatest equaliser, time. The slinky bass lines contrast with the horns, symbolic of time that soothes as well as exasperates. The one thing we want to hold on to so tightly is the one thing that slips away so surely and cannot be conquered. Time has no bias. It treats everyone equally. It mocks us all.” The single will be available on itunes, spotify and all the major digital stores worldwide.
Youngest of three kids, Gwen recalls how a family party would never be complete without a “sing-song” as the family called it. “We have been in Mumbai for generations and our roots are her. Every family member had their own collection of music cassettes so I grew up listening to varied genres of music,” recalls Gwen who lost her father at the age of 10 which left her in a dark place for a long time. “But gospel music helped me cope. Some friends who sang with me in church were professional singers and got me on the ad jingle and Bollywood scene,” adds Gwen who has lent her voice to ad jingles for brands like Maybelline, Star Sports, Lays and countless original soundtracks and background scores.
How did the family react when she disclosed that she wanted to take up music as a career? “In my family, music was fine as a hobby but an unstable and unsafe profession. I was at crossroads after I graduated but knew I would not be happy in a 9-5 job. So I started teaching music to children and training my voice at the same time,” Gwen says, adding that singing in the church choir helped her hone her singing skills. “I got my training for my Trinity vocal exams with Samantha Edwards. I have trained in Hindustani music for a few years. My friend, Thomson Andrews, and I keep researching vocal exercises from around the world,” she puts in.
Gwen attributes her musical influences to artistes from a diverse palette of genres like Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Hans Zimmer. The compositions of Disney’s iconic movies and Broadway musicals helped shape her musical sensibilities. Gwen also writes and directs stage and street plays. In the past, she has acted in local productions of plays including playing the lead in the musical, Oliver.
Not this alone, Gwen has sung alongside the country’s biggest music directors and singers like AR Rahman, Amit Trivedi and Sunidhi Chauhan on television shows like MTV Unplugged, Coke Studio and major award shows in India. At present, she is touring the world with playback singer Arijit Singh.
Gwen considers her husband Nyzel Dlima who produces her music as her biggest inspiration. “He is the one who gives life to my compositions. He is the one who lifts my spirit when I want to give up. And he is one who gives me a reality check when I need one,” says the singer who tries to give an hour to vocal exercises, an hour to ear training and another hour to playing an instrument to be a better singer and musician. And sometimes, she just prefers to listen classical music or to watch a musical to unwind. “I have come a long way but I still have a very long way to go.”
Ask her about the favourites and she says, “I feel I am an old soul. I love the timeless ones like Stevie Wonder, Sting, Etta James, Queen. From the newer artistes, I like Adele and Norah Jones. Though Bruno Mars and Beyonce are quite popular on my playlist as well.”
The year 2018 is going to continue to be a year of her music, feels Gwen. “I will be releasing a few more singles from my upcoming EP that I shot in Rome. Then I am going live with my band for which I am really excited. There are ad jingles also in the pipeline.”
Want to listen to her new song, TIME, click here http://bit.ly/TIME_GWEN_ORIGINAL