FACT caught up with 90’s music icon Gabrielle, ahead of her performance at Abu Dhabi’s first ever Sunset Festival this month…

Hi Gabrielle! How excited are you to be performing in Abu Dhabi?

I’m so excited to come out and do the show! Last time I was there, I did pretty much everything; camel riding, dune bashing in the desert, I had a blast. My band are really excited too and we’ll be playing all the hits from the archives and throwing in a couple of new ones. On twitter some of the fans made suggestions of songs they haven’t heard me sing in such a long time, so I can’t wait!

Are international audiences different from the UK crowd?

When I’m abroad, you never know what to expect but I always have a lot of fun. The audience has a lot of love, and I’m more surprised to see people you wouldn’t ever think to have heard of you, singing your songs and telling you when they first heard your music – it’s incredible! To me, love is love, no matter where in the world I go.

How has performing on stage changed since the 90s?

For me, it doesn’t feel that different but what is different is the audience interaction. In the old days, you didn’t have phones facing you or before you’ve even finished your show, somebody’s tweeting about it with pictures – and it’s all done in real time. All of that is so much fun and you just have to go with the changes. It’s not fan mail anymore, it’s Twitter and meet and greets, but I’m enjoying and embracing it all and how the industry has moved on.

Has your music changed alongside the industry?

I stick to what I know. For example, when you look at Adele – she’s a classic singer – her music is original which can be made faster with a mix if it wants to be. We had so many different bands using that dance element and now it feels like we’ve almost come full circle. You’ve got to remember that taking songs and rehashing them, or sampling and covering them has always happened. For me, it just goes around, everybody is still taking a little bit of something from someone. Even Oasis were like a modern day Beatles!

And who has a bit of Gabrielle in them?

OMG! I don’t want to insult anybody [laughs]. In terms of when people talk about me, they mention Adele, but I just think she’s far more superior that I ever could have been! She’s just Adele through and through – the most amazing singer/songwriter. There’s no gimmicks, she just has to stand there and sing.

Do you get star struck?

All the time! I remember meeting Prince, in Abu Dhabi actually. It was incredible – when you meet people like that it’s a ‘wow’ moment. They have talent beyond belief and he was somebody I really admired and loved, and to get to meet him was amazing.

What’s the secret to your longstanding success?

Just staying true to myself. The moment you lose sight or faith in what you’re about and trying to achieve, that’s when it becomes less enjoyable.As long as you stay true to you and true to your craft, you’re going to have a blast. Plus my family too, they’re great! It’s been a healthy career and I’ve definitely found a good balance. The other big thing I would have to say is the people who come out and watch my shows, and the fans who buy my records. They’re the ones who sustain me and allow me to maintain this level. I’m just happy that as long as I can write songs and make music that people can connect to, we’re all in a good space. I couldn’t do it without those people! ✤

GO: The Sunset Festival takes place on October 21 at Zayed Sports City. Get your tickets from www.platinumlist.net