Gabby La La’s first album, Be Careful What You Wish For…, is a wildly fun, endlessly charming and musically off-the-wall debut that’s rooted in a life-long dedication to music, both highly specialized and extraordinary. Well before the release of this album, Gabby’s proficient and vast musical talents with such instruments as the sitar, ukulele, toy piano, accordion and Theremin, have made her a decidedly sought after contributor for artists ranging from Snoop Dogg to Les Claypool, Macy Gray to DJ Boogie.
Gabby fell in love with music at a very young age. As a child, she incessantly sang the songs from the rags to riches orphan tale Annie around her Bay Area home. Lucky for her, a piano teacher neighbor heard her efforts and prodded her parents into getting her piano lessons at age five. She took to it so well that it wasn’t long before she and some friends were playing music on the street. By the time Gabby was 12, she was playing guitar as well, and after stumbling across her mother’s Beatles albums, she developed a new obsession … sitar. She began studying the instrument with one of its masters, Ali Akbar Khan.
Her first professional forays into the public music world came with her work with San Francisco beatmaster DJ J-Boogie and his Dubtronic Science outfit. She would later join the lauded collective Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra as one of several female MCs, before enlisting in Love Balm, her band with Lonnie Marshall. Her credits also include a contribution to Macy Gray’s The ID and an appearance with Snoop Dogg on The Tonight Show. Ironically, it was after attending a Bay Area Primus gig during the band’s Sailing the Seas of Cheese period — the very first concert that the young phenom was allowed to attend without a chaperone — that Gabby was ready to devote everything to music.
Love Balm, scored a fateful gig opening up for Claypool at the Fillmore in San Francisco a few years ago. After the show, Claypool asked multi-instrumentalist Gabby to add sitar to Purple Onion, the 2002 disc from The Les Claypool Frog Brigade. Soon after, while cutting The Big Eyeball in the Sky, the first album from Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains, Claypool asked Gabby to guest as a backing vocalist as well as a musician.
It was these sessions that led to the beginnings of Be Careful What You Wish For… with Claypool chiding her to get to the “real” Gabby La La saying “I want to see that character I see in front of me.” He and Gabby sought to flesh out the bare musical accompaniment she had written for her whimsical, fun and comical lyrics. As the first new artist to debut on Claypool’s Prawn Song Records in 12 years (since the debut from Charlie Hunter), the album is the product of her collaborations with Claypool – one of her childhood heroes. “He’s an amazing creative force in music today, and continues to be really open to all my ideas,” Gabby says of the Primus frontman, who produced the album and played its bass, percussion and drum tracks.