THERE are some definite rewards being a journalist…
but there are enough negatives. Appreciation, from the people you review and feature, can be hard to come by but I guess that is part of the trade. One would think, after expending so much effort on a piece, a cursory ‘thanks’ would not be a struggle. I have assessed so many artists who do not share my work or take the trouble to read it – small wonder many of them break-up or fall out of music soon enough. Having a musician who actively encourages others and posts inspirational messages is a rarity. Musicians, by and large, focus on the songs and have very little time to engage in anything else. It is the demands of the lifestyle but those who do go that extra mile should be applauded. Gemma-Louise Doyle is someone I have been following a long time and is a woman whose backstory is worthy of a silver screen work-up. The London-based crossover artist speaks six languages and has a fully-trained four-octave voice. Aside from her range of fantastic cover versions, she releases her own material and has just released the album, Inspire (more on that later).
Right now, Gemma is happy and contented what she is doing but that was not always the case. As a young high-school student, she was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given a very bleak prognosis. Her parents were given the call that anyone would dread: Gemma was given mere hours to live. Overcoming such long odds is rare but recovering and growing to become a successful international artist is unheard of. That is why I wanted to feature her on these pages. Whilst Gemma was in hospital, she realised her singing brightened people’s days and made them better. Since a youngster, she had battled to be accepted; coped with bullying at school and had to deal with a lot of prejudice. Even in those early years, the start-in-the-making bonded with the stage and found a natural affiliation with singing. Maybe a coping mechanism in those early days: when lost in song, there were no troubles and any stress – it was all about the performance and speaking to the audience. It is a mantra and discipline she maintains to this day. Growing up in the north, there were few opportunities to perform. Gemma herself was a shy girl but maintained that goal: to have the courage to get on stage and amaze her friends. It wasn’t until the age of seventeen she plucked up the fortitude to regularly performed – including talent shows and being ‘spotted’ by an experienced bass player (she began singing whilst testing her first P.A. system at a Lancashire basement store and that was that). The experience she gained as a teenager was invaluable and provided the push she needed.
It is all well me quoting backstory and providing a biography but it only gives you a small window into an amazing performer and human. Putting aside Gemma’s upbringing and musical progress, it is prudent I drill down to why Gemma is so special (to so many). When producing inspiration videos and posting messages to her website you are humbled by a person who has endured a lot of tests and doubts. The fact she is able to provide such stirring and thought-provoking messages is no trick or publicity stunt. Gemma is always thinking of others and keen to spread love and well-being. How many people do you know who actively do that? Maybe some do that have a lot of time on their hands and are paid to do such things. There are very few professionals, especially in music, that engage with their audience in such a personal and profound manner. As I say, you can follow her on social media and check her website for updates and latest messages. I am often confused by musicians’ lack of connection with their fanbase. It is all very well providing music and fulfilling the professional contract but there is an inherent social one. You do not see many artists taking the trouble to engage with all their fans and ensuring they are okay – sending messages out there to inspire and uplift.
It is the music itself that, perhaps, leaves the biggest impression on those who follow Gemma-Louise Doyle. Performing as far as Las Vegas and the U.S.; Gemma has performed on prestigious cruises and global events. She performs to motivate and touch people around the world. Music, to her, is not just a career and way to utilise talent. She is very much in love with the craft and uses her incredible talent to influence other people and make them more ambitious and fulfilled people. So far, Gemma has performed thousands of shows and recorded five albums – Inspire being her latest. Original music is constantly being developed and her cover versions, Run being the most affecting and recent one that floored me, are hailed and legendary. She has that operatic range but is capable of switching between genres at will. When you get a singer with such a range they normally confine themselves to Opera or certain genres. That fear of crossing over and experimenting is often too lofty for many to negotiate. Gemma’s upbringing, where she was exposed to a lot of different music, means she is effortless when tackling a Pop number or reinventing a heavier, more Rock-based number. You only need to hear a few notes to realise Gemma is very much the real deal. She is no talent show wannabe – designed to sound like a chart act with no personality – and has a huge and infectious personality. All of this blends into the music which is unlike any you have ever heard. Make sure you order Inspire and see what I am talking about. From her original records to covers-only discs like Venture: you get a full insight into a special talent who has a lot more to say.
I am excited to see where Gemma-Louise Doyle heads through 2017. She continues to produce inspiration messages and has a busy diary ahead of her. On 22nd, Gemma plays London’s Primo Bar and will be every Wednesday of this month. There is a lot more to come and I recommend everyone follow her. I know there will be an original studio album in the works as Gemma is keen to pen new songs and get her voice on the page. Whatever you look for in music, you will find all of it in Gemma-Louise Doyle. She is an artist that is there for everyone and wants nobody excluded. This attitude to music will see her go far: she has already come a long way and survived. The fact she is still with us is remarkable enough but (Gemma) will not stop there. Last year was a busy and exciting one but 2017 is going to be pivotal. Not only are there gigs and chances to perform around the world but there will be plans in Gemma’s head. Of course, her messages of inspiration will come but music is always at the forefront. Following from Inspire’s release, where does she go from there? Maybe some original music or an album of covers? Perhaps an E.P. will come or a couple of singles? Whatever she has in mind I, like so many out there, will follow her and…
WATCH her fly.
Follow Gemma Louise Doyle