New Zealand singer-songwriter Gin Wigmore has the perfect attitude for an opening act. "When you're starting out, you just need a crowd, a platform to play in front of," she told Rolling Stone when we met up with her at the Warped tour kickoff party in Los Angeles. "At this stage I don't care who I'm out with. I just need to be playing music."
Wigmore's sophomore album, Gravel & Wine, which is double platinum in her native New Zealand, is finally being released Stateside, two years after it came out at home. The singer and her band will be showing off her positive attitude opening for American Idol winner Phillip Phillips and then all summer long on the Warped tour.
Wigmore performed a dazzling set at the Warped kickoff party, mixing country, rock and alternative with complete control onstage. She isn't sure how her singer-songwriter bent will translate to the asphalt jungles of Warped. "I feel like I'm a bit of an odd one out on this tour, to be honest," she said. "First off, I don't know if I'm wearing enough black or eye makeup, but we'll figure it out."
But Warped founder Kevin Lyman has little doubt that Wigmore will become one of the standout performers of this year's festival. "I'm really excited about her," Lyman told us. "[She], to me, is gonna be the thing that pops out."
Wigmore plans on just being herself when she hits the stage each day. "You just gotta go out and not change yourself to the audience. You gotta play what you like – what you think is good, real music that's true to yourself," she said. "Hopefully people will dig it. And if they don't, well, so what. I don't think you can try too hard, leave out the handclaps because that's not cool. You just do exactly what you do – play a fun show and enjoy it."
One of the things that stands out about Wigmore is her comfort, both onstage and off, though she says constantly launching her album in new markets can get tiresome: "It feels like it's just rebirth, rebirth, rebirth. It's like having the same child over and over again. It's fucking horrible at times, but it's a big one to have it out in the States."
It also helps that she believes so strongly in Gravel & Wine. "I think it shows the strength of a record when you can play those songs over and over and you still find a love for them. That's really cool," she said. "I find that still with this record, so it's quite a strong record for me."
If anything, her worries about her first summer on Warped are much more about the grueling tour schedule. "I keep hearing that it's a really tough tour. It's hot, and you earn your stripes on knowing how to tour properly after this kind of run," she said. "It's so many back-to-back shows – I think that's the hardest thing about it. We'll give it our best, and hopefully we last through it and don't become too much of a shell of a human being by the end of it."
She said she's ready for the brutal heat of playing midday in places such as Nevada and Arizona: "We've been in winter so long, touring Europe. It's fucking cold over there and quite hard, so I'm keen to get a bit of vitamin D and play music at the same time."
If the weather does get to be too much, she has a plan. "I'm just gonna bring my togs and go swimming. I thought about getting a paddling pool and just blowing it up, putting water in it and drinking my cocktails."