Interview – Gabriella Verdugo

Canadian pop singer-songwriter, Gabriella Verdugo has released her new single, “Finish Strong”.

Produced by Grammy-nominated and multi-award-winning producer Roy Hamilton III, the song is inspiring, radiant, and refreshingly reflective.

It also weaves neatly with the Milton, Ontario-based multi-talented artist’s musical passion to help others thrive.

“‘Finish Strong’ was written during a low point in my life,” Verdugo shares. “I felt alone, scared, and confused. During that time, music is what helped me through it. Listening to different artists and their songs touched me, in a way, and helped me to not feel alone.

“Music is my outlet, and always has been,” she continues. “I want to do the same for other people, and to inspire them and help them to believe in themselves. I wanted to write something that anybody could relate to no matter the circumstance.

“I wrote ‘Finish Strong’ in the hope that it would help to uplift others — give them hope, give them a sense of support, and give them a sense of belonging, so they wouldn’t feel alone.”

Check out the lyric video for “Finish Strong” below, and find out more about Gabriella via our mini-interview.

First off, care to introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Gabriella Verdugo. I am 15 years old and I am from Milton, Ontario. I’ve always loved music, so this is definitely a dream come true. My mom sings so she’s the one that taught me a lot about singing. Growing up I would always sing with my sisters. My sister Julia and I would sing melody and my sister Bella would sing harmony. My parents say that I could sing before I could walk, so music has always been a huge part of my life. My family is made up of my two sisters, and my Mom and Dad. They are the most supportive people ever, definitely my #1 fans. I play multiple instruments and I am all self-taught. I play acoustic guitar, ukulele, piano, and electric guitar. The first instrument I picked up was a ukulele. Then I gave up and started again a year later. A few months after that I picked up my acoustic guitar and learned a bunch of chords in like less than a week, and fell in love with it. My favourite instrument to play is the acoustic guitar.

Tell us about the recording process behind “Finish Strong”?

The recording process behind Finish Strong was very surreal. When I was younger, I always used to think about what it would be like in a studio, and this definitely went above my expectations in the best way. Finish Strong was the first song I’ve ever written, and I was expecting it to be a lot harder than it was. To come up with the words, the melody, and all the instrumentation, but it came to me pretty easily. I wrote the song in about two or three Studio sessions, and the next thing you know we were recording my guitar to do demos over. Later we got the professional acoustic guitar recording and once again did more vocals over that demo. Then we added more instrumentation. And the way that went was acoustic, drums, bass, then others. When we finished the whole instrumentation part of Finish Strong, we recorded the song. The thing was with the first recording session, it sounded so great, but we knew it could be amazing. So, I went back to do the second recording of the official song and it turned out amazing. All the vocals that we used for Finish Strong were from the second recording day. My producer Roy Hamilton III was really great with teaching me techniques and all these different things to show emotion through my voice and really connect to people. One of those things was turning off the lights in the booth and just closing my eyes and letting myself feel the words and the music as I was singing. That day was the day Finished Strong became amazing. Then a few weeks later, we went back into the studio and did harmonies. When I wrote Finish Strong, I was thinking that I didn’t want harmonies. Then I wanted harmonies, then I didn’t want them, it was a decision that I really flip-flopped with. We decided that we would record the harmonies and if we didn’t like them, we wouldn’t use them. So, we recorded them and it turns out, it gave extra emotion to the song. Overall recording in the studio was such an amazing experience!

What was the highlight of 2020?

Besides doing everything with Finish Strong, the first thing that comes to mind is my trip to Florida before COVID. My family and I love to travel around the world and we’ve been to multiple places. I’ve been to places like Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Portugal, and a lot more. My highlight was that trip because I went to a Marine Hospital/aquarium called Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA). There’s a movie called Dolphin Tale and I’ve loved it since it came out, so I was about five. I have always wanted to go there since then. In February of 2020, a month before COVID, we went and I was able to see the dolphins, turtles, sharks, and all the other marine life. Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a non-profit organization and they rescue, rehab and release. Unless animals need to stay there, they will not keep them. And if they do keep them, they are treated properly and kept safe. That was definitely a highlight. I got to feed jello to a dolphin named Nicholas, which was so cool, and now he’s my favourite dolphin because he was so sweet. The whole trip to Florida was great too, we went to Disney Springs, hung out with some family, and went to the beach. I love the ocean, so anytime I can go into the ocean it is definitely a highlight. A lot of the things that happened on that trip are all highlights and something that I will always hold dear to my heart.

What do you hope to accomplish in your career in 2021?

Something that I want to accomplish in my career is to perform Finish Strong in front of people. If that’s online, in a coffee shop, or literally anywhere. I want to have the ability to really connect to people live. I love performing and I hope that I get to do it more in the future. I would also love to have the ability to write and record more music. I feel like writing music is such an emotional process, and it’s a way that I can connect to people on a different level. The amount of feedback that I’ve gotten on Finish Strong is amazing. It has been unreal to hear people say my song has touched them in a way that nothing else has before. I love that feeling of being there for someone even if I don’t actually know them. Something else I want to accomplish is to help people believe in themselves. Sometimes believing in yourself can be really hard, especially if you’re trying to reach for a dream. I want to continue chasing my dreams, and I hope that pursuing my music career can really help someone understand that anything’s possible if you put your heart into it.

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