By Gamal Hennessy
New York Nights wraps up its focus on nightlife and music by spotlighting a new face in American music. Virginia “Gin” Wigmore is a chart topping signer/ songwriter in New Zealand who has played with established American artists like John Mellancamp and Sheryl Crow. She sat down with me at the Hudson Hotel last weekend as a part of her second US multi-city tour to discuss stage performances, nightlife neighborhoods and the draw of New York City.
GH: You were sixteen when you did your first performances. Tell me about that experience.
GW: I was incredibly nervous when I first started. I was very intimidated by the thought of performing in front of a crowd. Then I looked out into the audience and realized that there were only six people sitting out there. It was just a couple of my friends and a few homeless guys who were there free drinks. My stage fright was much easier to deal with after that.
GH: So why did you stop doing those shows?
GW: The open mic show had a winner every night and one night I won. When I went to collect my massive $6 prize, they asked me for my name, age and all that stuff. When they found out I was too young to be in a bar they kicked me out and told me I couldn’t come back without my dad.
GH: So you would have been better off if you lost the contest?
GW: Yeah, I should have let them keep their $6.
GH: I assume that when you played in New York for the first time there were a lot more people in the audience.
GW: Absolutely. We did our first show at the Cutting Room. The place was packed with media people, record executives and folks like that. It was one of the most amazing shows I’ve ever done. It’s one of the things I love about playing in New York.
GH: Why is it so important to you to play here when you’ve had so much success in Australia and New Zealand?
GW: When you are growing up as a musician in any country, you want to get to America and you specifically want to get to New York City. That’s the pinnacle of live performance. The only way you could be a bigger deal is if you did a show on Mars or something.
GH: You mean playing in really large venues here?
GW: Not really. Once you get to New York, it could be a tiny little place or a big hall. The key is getting a show in New York. We’ve done some amazing sets at places like the Mercury Lounge, and I would have loved to play at a place like CBGB before it closed down.
GH: So what types of spots do you like to hang out in when you’re in New York?
GW: I love spending time in Greenwich Village at spots like the Spotted Pig and I really want to go back to areas like Park Slope and the East Village. I’d probably get a place over there if I could.
GH: Are you planning to move to the City eventually?
GW: Yeah, once my plans for worldwide domination fall into place. It won’t be long now.
You can see Gin’s latest videos on Youtube or visit her Website to find out more.