We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabrielle Helfer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gabrielle, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
Risk taking has always been a part of my life as an artist. Getting up in front of a crowd of people and performing is brave. Walking into a room of people you don’t know and being able to network is brave. Pursuing a career in music when many people don’t think it’s an optimal choice, is brave. I believe that the seemingly small risks we take, are actually the most impactful in the grand scheme of things. And in a field where uncertainty can be routine, it is crucial to be fearless and to believe in yourself and your voice.
The greatest challenge and competition I’ve faced has been within myself. Since I started writing music, I have consistently felt an innate pressure to be better than my last project, and to continue to grow with every piece of music I write. Sometimes that can be overwhelming, but I have learned to shift my focus away from competing with others, to solely competing with myself.
The people and artists I look up to the most are the risk takers. The people who never let negativity side track them. The people who were afraid to make certain moves in their life but did it anyway. Those people are my heroes because they taught me that risk taking is just another part of the job we have chosen to do. And not only do we have to be fearless, but we have to do so with vigor, grace, resilience, and love.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I write music for film, tv, web series, podcasts, funny cat videos. I love scoring everything! One of my biggest priorities as an artist is to nurture relationships. I have the most fun when I’m working with directors who I have become friends with. Recently, I’ve been working on a feature film with a director named Shubham Sanjay Shevade. He and I have become good friends, and think about our goals the same way. I think of my job as creating a family with each new project. I love being able to discuss the work openly with the director, and bounce ideas off each other, in attempts to grow and challenge myself in my art. I’m excited about more projects to come in the future, and more friendships to be made. I’m excited to tell stories that spark conversations, and new ideas in people’s minds. Movies have so much to teach us, if we’re willing to listen. My artistic journey is never ending, and I’m so grateful for that. I’m grateful for the bumps along the way because I would not be here today without each one. A long time ago I decided that I would welcome challenges, embrace change, and accept fear. Is it easy? Definitely not. Do I have to remind myself to think positively? Absolutely. But like everything in music, it’s practice. Practicing having a positive perspective and reminding yourself that this is your dream, and that obstacles are merely building blocks towards becoming a stronger version of yourself. And having people in my life who are on my team with only love and support, is the biggest game changer.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was in LA, and covid wasn’t happening… I would take them to Malibu, because that’s a must. I also love hanging out in Los Feliz and Silverlake. Silverlake Ramen probably has the best ramen I’ve ever had in my life. And right next door, Van Leeuwen has the most amazing vegan ice cream. I’m from Northern California, so I would also take them up to Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur. Some of the most beautiful cliff side beaches are in Monterey. I would also take them to Santa Barbara to see the beaches there too, and go for hikes. But there’s nothing like staying in and watching a movie with a bottle of red wine with your best friend.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many indelible people who have had my back always. Here are some of them – Peter and Eleanor Helfer – My parents have been a constant shoulder to lean on my entire life, not just in music. The way they listen to me, give me advice, encourage me, believe in me, and love me has put me where I am today. They are both so successful, brilliant, kind-hearted, hilarious, loving and cool people. I have them to thank for everything, and they have inspired me in my life and in music without even realizing it.
Lauren Helfer – Lauren is my little sister, and she is truly my soulmate and my best friend. She is insanely bright, beautiful, terribly witty, loving, and has incredible taste in music. She has always been one of the first people I go to with feedback on my music, and the first person I go to on a bad day. Lauren has an intrinsic strength about her that people can’t help but notice. Without Lauren, life truly would not be close to complete.
When I met David in 2017, I knew I had met someone extraordinary. His talent for music made me furious at first because I didn’t understand how someone could be so gifted! And at the same time he was so approachable, warm, funny, thoughtful, and a fierce friend. It is extremely rare when you meet someone who immediately lights up your life, sparks new ideas in your head, and ignites a flame in your soul. That’s what David did, and has continued to do for me. I’m forever grateful for him, and how he has changed my life, and my music.
Mekayla MacPherson – Mekayla and I have been friends since freshman year of high school. Mekayla is a force of nature, and unlike any other human I know. The energy she brings into a room is something I have admired since I met her, and not one day has gone by that she isn’t truly herself. She has been such a loving cheerleader to me, and a die hard friend. She loves fiercely, lives her life fiercely, and I look up to her more than she’ll ever know.
Hummie Mann – Hummie is the director of the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program in Seattle, where I earned my Masters Degree. He bent over backwards to ensure I had the most thorough education possible, and that I also had fun along the way. What I miss most about studying with Hummie, is the way he pushed me to dig deep within myself to write the best music I had in me. This is a habit I have adopted in my professional life, thanks to Hummie. He set such a high standard for the music we were writing, but also taught me so much about cultivating relationships with filmmakers, and the importance of being yourself. Thanks to Hummie and my incredible professors and friends, my time in Seattle was so beautifully exceptional, and I miss it every single day.