Two big invites, a raucous Buffalo show and a new puppy highlighted the Kiwi singer’s year.
With her distinctive, soulful vocals, Gin Wigmore has carved out a unique place for herself in listeners' playlists. The New Zealand native, who now calls Los Angeles home, has always been about embracing individuality, even as far back as age 14, when she came home one day with a tattoo across her entire back.
Last month, Wigmore released her latest single, “Dirty Mercy,” which is the first off her as of yet unnamed fourth studio album, due out in 2017.
Currently finishing up her second US tour of the year, Wigmore sat down with us before a recent show to recount her many highs, and a few lows, of 2016.
Most important lesson you learned, or that was reinforced, in 2016: Not to worry about things, because it is gonna be what it is gonna be. That was reinforced after stressing about trying to get an album budget, and whether I was going to be able to release an album, and who was gonna put it out, and all that kind of stuff. I spent about two weeks making myself sick at the end of September/early October, and it really was out of my hands completely.
Biggest point of pride from this year: My ability to just get on with it, basically. Rise above, and get on with it. Very rarely am I held back by someone telling me I can’t do something, or that “this is not an option.” I just make it so it is an option, and it is executed, and it’s done.
Person who floored you with their kindness this year: My husband, Jason Butler. He is always kind to me. Even though I can be really unkind, at times, to him, he always follows that with kindness. I don’t know where he finds it, but he does.
Moment that made you cry tears of joy: An offer to play in Antarctica. Scott Base is having its 50th anniversary, that’s in the New Zealand part of Antarctica, and they are having a celebration, and they’ve invited me and my band to come and play in January 2017. For six days we’d go down there, and basically see Antarctica, go to a penguin colony, visit the glaciers and play a show. It will be the best thing I ever do in my life, I’m 100% sure of it. It’s fucking awesome.
Moment that made you cry tears of sadness: There was a huge amount of sadness around the fact that this whole presidential election — I live in the States, I live in Los Angeles, I have now for three years, and it’s not my home country, but it is where I live, and it’s where I love — and having this president be elected, really it’s not so much him that brought about the tears of sadness, it’s the fact that climate change, and the environment, and our world, are now most likely being put on the back burner. That brought tears of sadness, a huge amount of sadness, actually.
Favorite moment on a tour bus in 2016: Not having to pack up my suitcase and take it to a hotel every day. I love that about tour buses. There’s something about having to unzip a really packed suitcase that’s such a fucking pain, so when you don’t have to do that, on a tour bus, it’s awesome.
Personal travel horror story of 2016: [laughs] I’m the only girl in my whole touring party. I have an all boy band, and all my management is male. I have to deal with snoring; I have to deal with the video games and shitty eating from the boys; drinking and figuring out where to go meet chicks. There’s a lot of that, but you know what I hate the most? On tour buses, everyone thinks air conditioning is God’s gift to the world, and I fucking hate it. I hate that the most about tour buses, everyone thinks it’s gotta be like 50 degrees on the fucking tour bus.
Favorite concert you performed in 2016: I really liked playing in Buffalo, NY. It was really awesome. It helps that three of the members of my five person band are from Buffalo, so we had all their family out, and it was just a really awesome show. The tickets were like half sold before we went there, and then on the night (of the show) it sold out, and a sold out show is always wicked. Buffalo, NY, really fucking turned out.
Favorite concert you attended in 2016: We went to Adele, and she was fucking awesome. She is, hands down, one of the best, if not the best, female singer of my lifetime. During my 30 years of being on this planet, and who’s been born in this time, I’d say Adele would be the best singer. She’s fucking on it.
Favorite musical discovery: One is Breakbot. They’ve been around for a while, but I just discovered them. They’re awesome. And then I found this dude, Michel Polnareff, he’s a French dude (age 72). I’m always digging in the past. I think the past is most exciting for me.
Album, new or old, that stayed in heavy rotation in your personal playlist in 2016: Band of Skulls was a really big one in heavy rotation. So was Ryuichi Sakamoto. He did the soundtrack for The Revenant.
Favorite TV addiction: I loved The Killing, and then, because I’m a massive sap, Grey’s Anatomy. It’s such reliable drama. You know someone is gonna fall in love, have sex with the wrong person, or die, in the span of half an hour.
Favorite movie you watched in 2016: The Jungle Book. That was awesome.
Most embarrassing song you caught yourself singing along to this year: “Call Me Maybe.” [laughs] You get so judged on that.
Most moving fan interaction you had this year: I got offered to play at someone’s wedding in Palm Springs, which we are gonna do. That was really moving. I’m also really moved when people cry at shows. I think it’s quite a phenomenon for me to experience. It’s such an outpour of emotion over me singing, and I think it’s really cool. It’s really moving.
Favorite married moment of 2016: I’d say I’m properly obsessed with animals. We’ve got three dogs. The third dog came about because I was dead set on getting a French bulldog. I presented my case to my husband, and explained why this is a really good move for us. It was like a PowerPoint presentation. I won.
We got the French Bulldog, and then he cried all through the night for the next three nights, and on the third night I rolled over in bed, and I said, “Babe, I think I’ve made a big mistake getting this bulldog.” He was like, “It’s alright, we’ll make it work. We’ll figure it out. We’ll get through it. We can’t give it away. We’re sticking to it. It’s gonna be OK.”
I think that was a really nice married moment, for me, at 2am, to be like, “I fucked up, you were right,” and for him to be like, “It’s alright babe, we’ll deal with it.” He’s very good at that, and I think that’s a really cool thing about marriage, we’ll get through it together.
We kept that little dog, and I’m so glad. He’s the sweetest thing in the world. It was a very nice moment in marriage to be such a team even though I clearly made an impulse decision.
Best new skill you learned in 2016: How to ask for help. I stand by my decisions so much, and I’m very impulsive, so it’s like, “I made this decision, it’s the best decision, and I’m gonna do it, and I don’t need your help, I’m gonna do it all by myself, and everything’s gonna be fine. Everything’s gonna be great.” I had a really hard time admitting that I was wrong, and then asking for help.
Thing from 2016 you hope stays in 2016: Donald Trump.
Trend you can’t believe you, or a loved one, hopped on in 2016: You know those shoes that have the toes? A friend of mine loved them about two months ago, and I kinda couldn’t believe it. We met for coffee, and he walked up in these shoes, and I was like, “What are you thinking?”
Thing you’re most looking forward to in 2017: Releasing my album, and getting pregnant. We’re taking every means to make both things possible.
See your favorite artists' best and worsts of the year by visiting our 20 Questions page.