Virginia Claire Wigmore, more commonly known as Gin Wigmore, was born in Auckland, New Zealand to Peter and Adrienne Wigmore. Wigmore has two siblings: an older brother Olly and Lucy Wigmore, a professional actress well known for starring as Justine Jones in the long running New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street and a role in “Underbelly: Razor”.
While Wigmore was in Argentina at age 16, her father died of cancer. Upon her return to New Zealand, she articulated in song the pain of losing her father. One of those early songs, “Hallelujah”, won the US-based International Songwriting Competition in 2004,when she beat 11,000 songwriting aspirants from 77 countries to become the youngest and only unsigned Grand Prize winner in the history of the ISC. “Hallelujah” was also featured in the season 6 finale of One Tree Hill.
website: Gin Wigmore
music: Gravel & Wine
Gin Wigmore is a walking contradiction. Everything about her is a contrast, a juxtaposition. Her long blonde hair and fashion model frame belie the heavy black eye makeup and armfuls of tattoos she is ever adorned with. She’s a Kiwi-born singer-songwriter living in Australia, creating bluesy, gritty, whisky-fuelled, foot-stomping, deep-fried rock’n’roll straight out of the American deep South.
Her latest album was inspired by a trip “through Alabama, Mississippi, Nashville and Memphis, drinking moonshine in juke joints and learning about Elvis and Johnny Cash,” but recorded in sunny Santa Monica, California. Even the title of the record, Gravel & Wine, speaks of a parallel between the two aspects of her image; the sweet and the rough, the sugar and the spice.
“I took this trip to the South, and just gathered stories,” Wigmore says as we enjoy a brief moment of autumn sunshine outside a Surry Hills café. “I figured out that I wanted a really blues-y record, one with some real toughness, a gritty record with lots of drums and men singing and chanting.”
Despite the success of her debut LP, 2009’s Holy Smoke, Wigmore took a completely different tack with Gravel & Wine. She wrote with Julian Hamilton of The Presets, as well as blues legends William Bell and Charlie Sexton (of Bob Dylan’s backing band), hooked up with uber-producer Butch Walker in Santa Monica, and dropped her old band The Cardinals for new backing group The Black Widow. Despite Walker’s resume most notably including production duties for huge pop acts Pink, Avril Lavigne, Weezer, Katy Perry and The Wombats, Wigmore says the recording process couldn’t have gone more to her plans.
image credit: theaureview.com, truefire.com, kenleanfore.com