No place like home

No place like home

Two of our junior reporters met British singer Gabrielle Aplin as she stopped in Hong Kong on the latest leg of her world tour


Gabrielle Aplin performs all over the world, but her home and her family are the biggest influences on her music.
Gabrielle Aplin performs all over the world, but her home and her family are the biggest influences on her music.
Photos: Leon Lee/SCMP
We met English singer-songwriter Gabrielle Aplin as she enjoyed a well-earned cup of tea. Having just finished touring with John Mayer as well as performing in South Korea and Japan, the 21-year-old had landed in Hong Kong before playing the penultimate show before her English Rain tour wraps up in Taiwan. "I'm really enjoying travelling," she said, as she sipped her tea.

Growing up in a family of musicians, Aplin was never a stranger to being on the road. "I used to tour completely on my own and I was the only girl," she said. "But now I have a team with me and we all get to hang out. It just makes you appreciate home more." She has to make a special effort to make time for family and friends when she's on tour.

Aplin has definitely experienced the perks of travelling to different countries, especially Japan, which is 9,000 kilometres from her hometown of Bath in England. "I feel like I'm from Tokyo," she laughed. "I love making Japanese food when I'm at home."

She enjoys sightseeing while on tour and looks forward to exploring Hong Kong before her show. "I really want to see the Big Buddha," she said. My junior reporter colleague Wincy had a couple of recommendations for Aplin, and by the end of our interview, she was looking forward to venturing into the busy crowds of Mong Kok and even savouring some KFC egg tarts.

Once the tour ends, Aplin will have more time to pursue her other passions, including photography and painting. However, it won't be long until she is back on the road touring. "I'd like to do [US music festival] Coachella and tour with Coldplay. That would be incredible." Aplin is sure to continue travelling the globe impressing her fans.

May Huang

It has been a rapid rise for Gabrielle Aplin, from singing to her YouTube subscribers, to playing sold-out shows across Britain and Asia, to topping the UK singles charts all in the span of four years. Her first album, English Rain, has been a huge success, debuting at number 2 in the UK albums chart.

But who is her ultimate inspiration? The answer is British acoustic singer and songwriter Nick Drake. "I grew up listening to a lot of the music that my parents listen to," Aplin said. "He's got an amazing and unique story." Her favourite song, Which Will, comes from Drake's 1972 album Pink Moon.

"He's definitely inspired my writing lyrically and to do something unique and mine." In fact, Aplin preferred to teach herself guitar instead of taking professional lessons since Drake also taught himself to play the guitar. "I grew up in Cornwall and the music that comes with the surfing scene is quite folksy. A lot of singer-songwriters and hippies emerged from there ... it really influenced me."

In terms of her own songwriting style, she prefers to stay true to herself. "I don't really focus on my voice, I just focus on the song," she laughed. "I'm trying my best everyday."

As well as drawing influence from Joni Mitchell, Suzanne Vega, and T. S. Eliot, she also tries to include an element of home in her songs. "Instead of writing for people, I just write naturally," she said. "For example, I wrote Salvation about my dad. It was a really weird experience, a holy thing."

Aplin has already recorded a number of duets but revealed that her dream collaboration would be with either John Mayer or Bon Iver. "It would be amazing."

She also offered some tips for aspiring singers looking to follow in her footsteps. She said that if you want to make it to the top, you have to take every chance. "Definitely make the most of your resources. Always write. Always take every opportunity. Do loads and loads of gigs. Don't just do the ones you think are big; every small gig is really important."

Wincy Leung

Young Post organises regular activities for our junior reporters. If you wish to join, send your name, age, school and contact details to with "jun rep application" in the subject field

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