by Stephanie Carlin
I don’t think it’s very often that we think of music as a form of therapy. Sure, songs can get us really excited and go insane, but, by allowing someone’s story to come into our systems, we can feel a sense of relief. The relief knowing that this anxiety and depression that we feel in our student experience is not only real, but palpable and realized by others… like seniorclassman Gaby Alegro.
Gaby Alegro is a Brazilian singer-songwriter from Miami, Florida. A voice student at Berklee studying Professional Music and set to graduate this May, her major influencers include Thirdstory, James Taylor, and Tori Kelly, incorporating pop and R&B to make her own, unique sound. Her first EP “Seasons” was released October 24th, with a release party on October 30th. “Seasons” chronicles her time at Berklee with each song representing a year for Gaby at Berklee.
With each listen, I can’t help but feel this wave of calm from this EP. The on-point musicians, the smooth mix, and the power of Gaby’s vocals just complete this solid groove that is so cool and so simple that you can’t help but listen.
I sat down to chat with Gaby about her EP:
Berklee Groove: Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to Berklee?
Gaby Alegro: I’m from Miami, Florida and I’m Brazilian. Those two cultures have huge influences on me as a person and a musician because music is so prevalent and important in Latin culture so I grew up constantly around all kinds of music. I wasn’t the kid that wanted to be a singer, though. For most of my life I wanted to be in the sciences. I went from wanting to be an astronaut or marine biologist to a neurosurgeon or physical therapist. Though I was always musically inclined, I fell in love with music and committed to it as a hobby when I was 16 and took it seriously as a career when I was 18 and deciding what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I found Berklee through a friend, applied and auditioned in 2014. I didn’t get in but had already decided that this was the route I wanted to take so I practiced singing, songwriting, and guitar incessantly for eight months and auditioned again. I started Berklee in the summer of 2016 and have done non-stop semesters since then.
BG: How do your experiences at Berklee relate to your EP?
GA: My EP is entirely about some of my experiences in my first year at Berklee. This was my first time experiencing all four seasons (in Miami we have perpetual summer), my first time away from my family for an extended period of time, my first time falling in love, and my first time being constantly surrounded by music. Aside from all the novelty, I applied a lot of the things I learned in and out of class throughout the EP’s creation. Every single person that contributed to the EP goes/went to Berklee. I probably wouldn’t have an EP if it wasn’t for Berklee in the sense that I would’ve never come here, experienced everything I did, or met any of the people I did.
BG: What was the songwriting process like? Was it nice to get out all of that energy from the year?
GA: My songwriting process is generally the same every time with a few exceptions. I usually start with chords then the melody and lyrics come together. Writing these songs was extremely therapeutic for me. That was the main purpose for their creation until I had three of them and realized I could put together a cool little collection of songs almost as a reflection on my first year here. I, then, felt some pressure to have the final song fit into the concept of “spring” but once it started to flow, it was very natural. Start Again took the longest to write because I hadn’t yet felt everything I was writing so I didn’t know how to finish it, at first. I spent hours on it every day for two months until I finally had a product I was proud of that accurately expressed everything I needed it to. Getting all my energy out through the writing process was, of course, so relieving but I didn’t expect the recording process to be just as cathartic. It gave me a whole new perspective on my songs and myself as a musician and person.
BG: And finally, how does it feel to release your first EP and performing your published works in front of friends and family?
GA: It’s incredibly rewarding. So much hard work was put into “Seasons” and I love what we got. I know I have a good set of songs under my name and that gives a certain sense of security as an artist trying to expand. Having nothing but YouTube covers from two years ago when you can’t pull out a guitar and play your song right then and there if someone asks to hear your sound is the worst feeling. So being able to pull up my fully produced collection of songs on Apple Music or Spotify and show it to anyone feels so cool. It’s also interesting to see everyone’s reactions to the songs: hearing about everyone’s favorite song, having people tell me they want to cover “Let Go” (the first song on the EP), and watching people choke up listening to it. I’m having so much fun watching this piece of my heart being received by people.
You can check out “Seasons” on iTunes, Spotify, and Apple Music.