She's been described as the next Tim Minchin, won endless caberet & comedy awards, caught the attention of Pharrell Williams, on tour more than a rock-star and YET, despite all her successes, Gillian Cosgriff is the most humble and down-to-earth pie you'll ever come across. I guess it should come as no surprise then that the queen of procrastination (self-professed) would give us her time to answer a few questions, be it out of kindness or avoidance of the next deadline...
What drew you to a profession in music?
We had an old upright piano in our house my whole life and I wanted piano lessons from as early as I can remember. I started learning when I was five and played ever since then. I lost the love for it a little when I was smashing through AMEB exams at school but after I finished and I was free to play whatever I wanted I found it again. I don’t think I ever wanted to do any job that didn’t have music in it. I love the wealth of opportunities it affords me as well – I spend most of my time performing right now but I also love teaching and working as an accompanist when I can too.
I think we often assume that humans communicate through talking but the other half of that is listening, otherwise we’re all just yelling into a void.
What does music mean to you?
Music makes sense to me – it’s one of very few things that I find to be equal parts logical and emotional. I don’t know quite how that works, being able to see both parts of it at once. When it’s good it’s like falling into a great book – you’re just piecing together letters into words and words into sentences but your brain can create this amazing imagery. It’s the same with notes and chords and melodies for me. Two foot stamps and a clap are pretty basic but I know exactly where I was the first time I heard them as the intro to We Will Rock You. (Grade four basketball competition, in which I magically deluded myself into believing that a three foot tall nine year old could definitely do a slam dunk. I could not.)
If you could share a sound with someone for the first time, what would it be?
Oh man, that’s tricky. I like the idea of giving someone a sound that’s usually annoying but they’ll love it because it’s the first time they ever heard it – like an alarm clock or a truck backing up. If I wanted to give them a beautiful sound I’d get a cellist. Cellos are magic.
Music makes sense to me – it’s one of very few things that I find to be equal parts logical and emotional.
What is your favourite piece of music and why?
Just ONE? There are SO many. My single favourite song is still Semi Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind. I know every word and it always makes me happy. Yes, I know it is about crystal meth addiction. I still love it.
Why do you believe hearing is worth caring for?
Hearing is so important to me. I think we often assume that humans communicate through talking but the other half of that is listening, otherwise we’re all just yelling into a void. We understand each other through hearing, it’s human nature. (Human Nature is also a band. I’m sure hearing is important to them too.)
If you could give one piece of advice to young musicians and music lovers, what would it be?
I just rewrote this sentence maybe fifteen times. I guess I’m still figuring out what young musicians need to hear! I’d say learn everything you can from your idols and then make your own thing anyway. Read Austin Kleon’s book, “Steal Like An Artist.” It’s short, it’s cheap, and it’s more helpful to me than any advice I could give. To young music lovers I’d say support the artists that you love in whatever way you can! Be aware that being a musician is a cool job, but sometimes the operative part of that sentence is the word ‘job’. If you want the musos you love to keep making music, buy their CD or their badge or their t-shirt, or go to their show, or tell your friends to go to their show. The greatest support to me is audience members that come back every year and bring NEW friends. What a bunch of legends.
Want to see more? Catch Gillian Cosgriff at The Butterfly Club June 14-18
for a return season of To The Moon and Back.