Practice, practice, practice. Emerson College instilled the need to rehearse into singer-songwriter Gina Alibrio ’05.
“Incessantly, regimented practice – leave time for that. Technical practice,” said Alibrio. “I’ve never had an issue with interviews because of acting classes. My shows are shows. I’ve managed to make a connection with the audience mostly because of Emerson Stage giving me the skills to do that. That’s why people come back to our shows.”
Her skills shine in Atlas, her recently released first solo album in 11 years. The album’s title is literal and metaphorical.
“Literally, an ex of mine gave me a road atlas as a gift, and I marked all the places I’ve been,” said Alibirio. “I also thought it was ironic. This map of anywhere I wanted to go, but no one to go with. That was the catalyst for the title track.”
Several songs conceptionally span the better part of a decade. Some are influenced by the demise of relationships.
“They’re slices of places I’ve been and traveled to, with very specific feelings,” said Alibrio. “It was kind of eulogies for all these places that were pinpoints into a map of my life and going back to them doesn’t feel the same.”
She described her music as lyrical-based with an element of pop, and a little theatrical. There are noted influences from musical theater or Broadway. At Emerson she performed in Emerson Stage musicals, including Pippin, Of Thee I Sing, and Carousel.
Thanks to all of her continued practice, Alibrio feels her voice range is better than it was in college. Her prime voice range is as an alto-mezzo belt, but she can also hit some tenor stuff.
Her skills shine as the lead singer of the nine-piece band Gina & The Red Eye Flight Crew. She joined the band seven years ago after she moved to Maine. A local band called Model Airplane lost their singer to another band. At the time, Alibrio was living with the Crew’s drummer, and he would hear her rehearse. They decided to give working together a try, she fit well, and they stayed with the aircraft-themed name.
The band recently kicked off a Monday night residency at the Portland House of Music that runs through October. They also play weddings most weekends, and Alibrio also bartends.
“I think a lot of people search their careers and lives to find a way to get excited about what they do. That is what performing is for me,” said Alibrio. “Even if it’s on a pier as people are cracking lobsters and eating chips — I love it. It’s exciting. I’m 39. I’ve spent about 20 years doing this and I still love to do it. I feel like I made the right choice in what I do. It always feels great. Rarely does it feel like work.”
Some of the Red Eye Flight Crew play on songs of her album, but it’s a solo project because she handpicked musicians for each song.
“[My solo album] is a lot less of a party. It’s more metaphorical. And a lot sadder,” joked Alibrio. “It still has that caliber of musicianship that I’m proud of because I have amazing people work with me.”
Gina Alibrio’s album Atlas is available on Bandcamp, Apple Music, Spotify, and iTunes.