Lockdown love | 

Singer Gabrielle Aplin reveals she fell in love with Limerick after being stranded in the city

‘It was just another city to me and I just thought I’d have a nice time there, but I actually got quite sad when the van got fixed’

Gabrielle Aplin

Alfie and Gabrielle

Eddie RowleySunday World

Singer-songwriter Gabrielle Aplin has revealed how she fell in love with Limerick after being stranded in the city for a weekend when her camper van broke down.

Aplin (30), whose partner is Alfie Hudson-Taylor of Irish duo Hudson Taylor, said the couple have mutual friends who have a recording studio in the city.

“We were over in Ireland with a camper van last summer. The van broke down in Limerick on a Saturday morning, so basically we lived in Limerick for a few days. We had to wait till Monday to get the van fixed and I said, ‘f**k it, I love it here.’

“Before that I didn’t have any thoughts about Limerick. It was just another city to me and I just thought I’d have a nice time there, but I actually got quite sad when the van got fixed.

“Limerick is an amazing city. We have friends who have a studio there and Alfie has worked in it. I think it’s the most underrated city and the people there are great.”

Back with a new album called Phosphorescent, Gabrielle reveals that she wrote in during lockdown while living in the idyllic countryside of Somerset, England.

“We came here in 2020, just before lockdown, the really bleak one,” Gabrielle says, chatting on Zoom from the home she shares with Alfie.

“When the lockdown happened I thought, ‘What am I doing to do?’ I was just so scared. Because it’s a rural community you barely see people for days on end.

“Mentally in lockdown I struggled quite a bit. I struggle with change anyway, I need routine. I did find it hard because one day I was on tour and the next day I was at home. In terms of creatively I was stagnant for a while. I didn’t really consider myself an artist for six or seven months of the pandemic. I was just in shock for quite a while.

Alfie and Gabrielle

“Eventually I started to write songs again, not that anyone told me to make an album, but because I’d completed Netflix, I’d tidied up the entire place, I’d DIY-ed every corner of my house and I had nothing left to do.”

Although it took a toll on her creativity for a while, Gabrielle reveals that the pandemic did allow her relationship to blossom.

“Weirdly the lockdown was a nice time for myself and Alfie,” she tells me. “I was the longest time we had spent together in 10 years. Sleeping in our own bed every night was really nice.

“We don’t hate each other and that’s really good. It’s quite an achievement for me because I’m annoying,” she laughs. “We never really argue. It’s so weird we’re so chilled, but he’s definitely the calm one. He is so level-headed and normal. I’m definitely a bit more scattered and all over the place. He definitely has his sh*t together a bit more than I do.”

Gabrielle, whose stand out songs on her new album include Good Enough, Call Me, Anyway and I Wish I Didn’t Press Send, has clocked up a billion streams with her songs.

Sadly, these days that’s not reflected in earnings. “Yeah that’s a big number, so where’s my private plane” she laughs when I mention it. “It’s mad, it’s crazy, but if it was a billion sales it would be a different thing. But people who hit play a billion times that’s mad to me. I don’t quite know how to comprehend it. I’m very grateful.

“I’m able to survive. I live in a small enough house and I can eat and whatever, so I’m fine, I don’t need anything else. But things need to be looked at to make sure that money is funnelled to the right places and artists and songwriters aren’t getting shafted. It’s important that art has a monetary value as well to survive.”

The lowdown: GABRIELLE Aplin’s new album, Phosphorescent, is out now.

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