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Weekend: After a two-year break, Gabrielle Aplin is back with an album and a tour and there is plenty to smile about

GABRIELLE APLIN is feeling positive. Very positive. If her new album title wasn’t enough to give it away — it’s called Dear Happy — then her unbridled enthusiasm for music, food and, well, life certainly is. Gabrielle rose to fame after posting covers of some of her favourite songs on YouTube, before recording The Power Of Love for the John Lewis Christmas advert in 2012.

Her debut album, English Rain, followed in 2013 and the second, Light Up The Dark, in 2015. Now she’s back with her third. ‘I’m so excited!’ she exclaims. ‘I’m really happy to start the year with a project. I’ve been making it for years, really. It’s a very positive sounding album. I wanted to make something hopeful and happy, I wanted to be able to listen back to it in five years or so and hear some happiness. It’s a very bright-sounding album, I think.’

That’s not to say that her previous records have all been doom and gloom, but she’s happy to spread her wings and try something new.

Embracing veganism: Gabrielle Aplin has a YouTube series, Food With Friends

The 27-year-old’s positive attitude, and a new, more experimental approach, is the result of taking two years out from releasing any music. But you wouldn’t have found her twiddling her thumbs or watching daytime telly. ‘I used the break as a time to experiment. When I was writing my debut album, it was the first time I’d ever done anything, so I was able to create without any eyes on me,’ she recalls. ‘This time, I’ve been learning about writing, working with people in different countries and putting myself outside of my comfort zone.

‘It was about realising not everything had to have a twinkly piano on or a guitar,’ she laughs. ‘It was a big, two-year-long writing trip, basically.’

Gabrielle also has a YouTube series called Food With Friends which showcases her love of cooking since she went vegan five years ago. How does she find the time to fit it all in? ‘Every time I’ve done the videos I enjoy them, but I’m definitely tired. The last series were filmed in my house and that helps with time management. I’m not Jamie Oliver, I just really enjoy food and plants and I’m happy to share. I don’t need fancy equipment.’ With it being Veganuary and all, Gabrielle has advice for anyone who might be considering going vegan. ‘It’s getting easier and easier. It’s not just limited to fancier health food shops now. It’s getting less expensive. Try and plan but don’t be overwhelmed.

‘When I first tried going vegan I was amazed how many options are available. It’s a lifestyle and habit change, any move towards it is something. Even if you cut down or change a few meals a week, that’s fantastic. It’s a big achievement, you don’t have to do everything in one go.’

That’s not to say it’s all quinoa and salads, though. ‘I’ve had too many vegan sausage rolls. I had three yesterday,’ she cracks up. ‘It’s nice to know that I don’t just have to have a banana when on tour.’

Gabrielle is working on being kinder to herself, too. ‘I try and be a better version of myself, and I really love planning, I know when I plan my time I’m more productive. I don’t make any harsh resolutions as I’ll get sad if I fail. I have a procrastination planner, and I actually procrastinate using it for planning. Having this album done, I’m ready to go. I’m not going to start 2020 going, “Oh Jesus, what do I do?” I’m set!’

Well, not entirely it seems… ‘I do need to rehearse!’ she laughs. ‘I’m so excited to play these new songs, I know them back to front already, but I haven’t toured for a while. I feel like, for the first time in a long time, I am excited to tour.

‘It’ll be happy, a mix of my tunes, I wanted to make sounds people could move to. I think it’s going to be bright and happy and fun and I’m excited.’

Gabrielle’s tour starts in Glasgow on March 4, gabrielleaplin.co.uk