Every now and then a song comes along that’s so intriguing, it captures the heart of everyone who hears it. “Bones,” the debut single from Ginny Blackmore, is one of those songs – a heartwrenching story of unrequited love. Though written during a painful time, the song has transformed Blackmore from a struggling singer and songwriter from Auckland, New Zealand, into one of Epic Records’ most captivating pop newcomers.
With this deeply personal ballad, Blackmore impressed veteran music manager Mark Sudack who signed her on the spot. Sudack brought her in to Epic Records Chairman & CEO L.A. Reid in November 2011. “That was the most magical day of my life,” says Blackmore, “I had to sing ‘Bones’ for L.A. twice, because the first time I was so nervous about the gravity of the moment that I choked. He said, ‘You have one of the best voices I’ve ever heard, and that’s one of the best songs I’ve ever heard, so why are you shy? I need you to come out of yourself and sing it again. I never give anyone a second chance, but clearly you’re a star.’” She nailed it the second time, reducing everyone in the room to tears and landing herself a record deal.
Blackmore has wanted to be a performer ever since her 9-year-old mind was blown by Lauryn Hill in Sister Act 2. Raised by a singer-musician father who ran her childhood church’s worship services, Blackmore wasn’t often exposed to secular music, “so watching Lauryn Hill was the first time I heard hip-hop, R&B and soul. I remember so clearly how excited I was. I came out of the theater and was like, ‘Dad, what was that?’ I was so impacted by it, I said to him, ‘That’s what I want to do.’ I chose music that day.”
By age 15, Blackmore had fallen in love with pop and R&B artists like Destiny’s Child, Usher, Pink, Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson. She began to write her own songs and left school at age 16 at the principal’s suggestion. “I was allowed to leave school provided I treated songwriting like a job,” Blackmore says. “I had to work from nine to five, five days a week.”
After four years of hard work, Blackmore moved to London and within six months, she had signed with her friend Daniel Bedingfield’s management, which led to a publishing deal with Sony/ATV. The plan was to earn a living writing songs for other people while plotting her own path to becoming an artist. “The problem was that I found it really hard to write for other people. Because I wanted to sing my own songs so badly, my heart wasn’t really in it. My songwriting wasn’t taking off, my personal life was painful…. Something in me cracked, and my songwriting dramatically changed.” Blackmore stopped taking writing sessions with other people. “I stayed at home all day on my own and wrote and sang whatever I wanted, it was my therapy,” she says.
From New Zealand to London, and now London to Los Angeles, Blackmore is finally where she wants to be: in the studio recording her debut album, an emotional, statement-making pop affair, a showcase for Blackmore’s painstaking approach songwriting and powerhouse voice, which she pushes to its limits, confiding her hopes and heartbreaks with a vulnerability that’s unmatched.
“The music is as honest as I could make it,” she says. “It’s my perspective on life, and I really hope people can hear themselves in it somewhere.”
And watch the video for “Bones” here: