Gabby Young, 28, is the NW5-based lead singer of ‘circus swing’ eight-piece Gabby Young & Other Animals, who released their second album ‘The Band Call Out For More’ earlier this year to wide acclaim. The promo vid for current single ‘Walk Away’ was shot on Hampstead Heath (in this shelter). Gabby Young & Other Animals headline Bush Hall on November 15th.
When were you happiest?
I actually think right now. I fully believe the older you get, the happier you are. I know what works for me and I stick to it. Oh, and living next to Hampstead Heath makes me happy.
Where would you like to live?
My dream is to own the whole house of the flat I live in. My boyfriend and I spent 3 years doing up our large-for-London garden from an overgrown patch to an eclectic haven – and I want to grow old there. It’s amazing to be living somewhere for over 3 years and still feel excited walking back home – I’ve never felt like that before.
What is your favourite sound or smell?
There are lots of them, from the bustle on Kentish Town Road to the grass being cut in the parks. But the other day I was in Swain’s Lane and there was an opera singer practicing in a house along the road; it was a special moment. I just sat and listened for a while and probably looked like a crazy woman with a grin on my face.
What is your greatest life achievement?I’m lucky enough to have a few new ones each year and they keep getting bigger and bigger. Last year was packing out KOKO and getting 42 people on stage with us, including aerialists and a samba band. This year so far it’s got to be performing a whole hour long live show for national TV in Germany that will be broadcast in November.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That everything happens for a reason – my mantra since I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 22. Even that cloud had a silver lining as it was the kick I needed to change my life, move to London and stop compromising on my dreams.
What is your earliest Kentish Town memory?
I first came here when I was 19 to play a small acoustic gig at now sadly defunct Monkey Chews – the audience reacted so well to my songs that that was the night I first thought ‘I could actually be a singer/songwriter’.
Where do you hang out?
If I’m not on tour or working at home I’ll be either on the Heath with my Jack Russell, Hobbes, eating warm scotch eggs at The Bull and Last or watching films in the comfort of the Everyman Theatre’s sofas.
Best experience was that gig at Monkey Chews as I met my boyfriend and band mates. Worst was a few years ago trying to get a bus back home but everyone having to get out and walk because of the fire off Highgate Road – a horrible thing to see and luckily no one was hurt. What was even more terrifying was the fact that everyone was running towards their home wondering if that was the place that was on fire.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
If I told you I’d just be drawing attention to it!
Tell us a secret.
I’ll tell you two. It took me seven times to pass my driving test and I’m allergic to alcohol.
What has your career taught you?
To keep working hard always, never give up and let people help you.
Describe yourself as an animal.
I used to think I was a mole, always burying myself in the ground and avoiding all conflict. I still hate confrontation but my confidence has grown so much I now feel like a rabbit bouncing around.
Photos: Gem Hall