Vikki Gilmore walked into Aunja Café wearing her big winter coat, her curly hair flying out of it. She ordered her curative drink to battle off any winter sicknesses, a ginger tea, and told me all about her nineteen-year old life as a singer-songwriter.
Where did you get your name from? Any relation to Gilmore Girls?
It’s my actual name actually but we’re pretty much all girls in the family so we get asked often about Gilmore Girls. I did write a song after watching an episode of Gilmore Girls though. It’s called Happy for You and it’s about what Rory would say to Jess when he wasn’t treating her right.
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What made you want to become a singer songwriter?
It’s a pretty funny story actually. I never thought I would become a singer; I would always write poetry when I was a kid. It was all the really cheesy stuff, you know. When I was young, I would sing always sing on road trips and my family would always say “okay… not again.” I was always really bad; it was pretty funny. In high school, one of my friends told me there was a talent show and that I should try out just for fun. I thought I could never do that but I sang with all my friends and from there, and I realized I wanted to do it by myself and then it all started. Eventually, it just became an outlet for me. It’s like therapy.
What’s your process to song writing?
It’s the same process you would go about writing in a journal, really. It kind of just happens whenever you feel something. I could be hanging out with a group of people and somebody will say something I’ll have to write it down. Or if I’m on the go, I’ll have to put a note on my phone because it will bother me all day otherwise. Then I get home and spend a couple hours on it. Sometimes it will take me a few months to finish a song, but the best ones are the ones that I finish in the same day.
Do your studies in psychology play a role in your song writing?
Sort of because the song writing process is very personal. I find that I write my songs in a way people can relate to and psychology helps with that. In Cégep actually, we were doing a segment on depression, and it was during that time that I wrote Empty Past. Psychology was my subject of interest I had throughout school and I found a way to combine the two.
Favourite part about singing and song writing?
It’s usually when I’m performing and I get to see the way people are reacting to my words. I did a show for an outdoor festival this summer and I didn’t notice this because my eyes were closed while I was singing, but someone took this photo of a couple dancing to my song. To me, that was the sweetest moment. It moved them in a way that moved me as well when I first wrote it. The best feeling is when the message you wanted to portray gets portrayed.
And you’re play here before, right?
Yes, I performed here last year and this February as well for Kickdrum x Jam for Justice Winter Festival. I played songs from my EP and three of my new ones. Only two of them are titled for now. There is Someone, which will hopefully be released soon, and Tomorrow, which I performed for the first time. I played a set alongside to friends of mine, Aidan Reckziegel and Wyler Diome-Montour (Of Wolves). It was a full house, filled with friends, family, and people down for some jams.
You’re releasing Tomorrow and Someone in the near future, can you tell me a little about these songs?
I’m recording Someone in the studio right now so hopefully it will be out in the next few months. The common theme for these ones would be internal conflict and trying to balance what you’re feeling with how you’re acting. And with a little romance to keep it fancy.
What are your other songs about?
A lot of them are about individual stories and sometimes about my own experiences. There was a very specific detail that I put in a song once and I thought nobody would notice but some friends came up to me telling me how they knew it was me I was singing about. So I’m not doing that anymore.
Do you have a favorite song you like to play?
It would be the new one that I just wrote, Tomorrow. I wrote it for a friend who recently went through a really hard loss. It’s my way of telling her that it’s okay not to be okay. You always have people telling you it will get better or to get over it but I want to tell her that it doesn’t have to be okay right now and it’s okay to grieve.
Who are your inspirations?
I’d say people like Joni Mitchel, Leonard Cohen… Canadians. The Lumineers are one of my favourite artists right now. They are my idols because of the messages that they portrayed. They brought communities together like Leonard Cohen did with the Montreal community.
How was it to sing for POP Montreal?
It was the biggest venue I had performed for. I got to see the area where all the artists get ready, it was really cool. It made me think it would be nice to have people to prepare and perform with. So far I haven’t had the chance to perform with a full band or to add more instrumental depth to the song that way.
What are your next steps?
Hopefully work towards a full length album. I have enough songs for an album, I just need to get the funding and it’s hard to balance school and music.
What are you going to do when you finish school?
Finally, what are your goals and dreams?
Performing at Metropolis. That’s where I grew up watching shows, you really feel like you’re connecting with every artist even if they have no idea who you are. That’s my five-year plan and it would be the coolest thing to happen.