If Amy Winehouse and Adele scissored, the result would be Gin Wigmore. This Kiwi’s songs are soulful and raw but yet somehow delicate. Her music took her out of New Zealand to conquer Australia, and now she’s ready to make a household name of herself in America.
But whenever she is in the spotlight, she is far from home. “You don’t have big dreams growing up in New Zealand,” she says. “You either want to be a teacher or a football coach. If I went home and told them that I’m big in Australia, they’d call me a dickhead and tell me to milk the cows.”
Wigmore lived the life of a rock star way before making it. She first got into music by sneaking into open mic nights at age 14. The folks at the bar didn’t learn her age until she won one evening and they asked for her information so they could reward her with a take of the door. She returned the following week with a parent in tow, but the ordeal put a halt to the fun part of bar culture for her, and she stopped going. It wasn’t until she entered and won an international songwriting competition a handful of years ago that she got back into music.
The singer-songwriter’s new album, Holy Smoke, just went three-times platinum in New Zealand, but it’s her publicist who informs her of this when she stops by the INKED office. In fact, Wigmore can’t recall the last time she was home. “I’m either on a plane, on stage, or in a hotel room,” Wigmore explains about her Shermanesque march on tour of Australia and America. She performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! as part of her three-month American spring tour and caught the ear of Steve Madden, who then brought her under the wing of his shoe empire for various projects, including some forthcoming in-store concerts in the States.
And when the subject turns to finding love in her Samsonite existence, she says coquettishly yet confidently, “It makes it hard to have a boyfriend.” Love, Wigmore says, is what every great song is about. Her favorite song and perhaps the gateway drug to her music is the single “Hey Ho.” At first listen it sounds light, sweet, and radio-ready, but once you delve into the lyrics (“You should know that nothing leaves my side/I’m gonna come around/I’m gonna shoot you down/You knocked my crown/Now you can go six feet underground”) you catch her edge.
Speaking of love and her fangs, her penchant for ink caused a former paramour’s derision: “A bastard ex-boyfriend came to me one day and told me if I got any more tattoos, he’d leave me because it would”—here she raises her hands to form air quotes—“‘make me unmarriable.’” So she got more art done, and look at her now. Good call, jerk.