(Cambridge, MA – July 30, 2021) Passim has created a new way to support emerging artists. Established in 2021, the Eastern Front Songwriter Grant will be given out annually by Passim to an emerging singer/songwriter to help finance a professional recording project. The first recipient of the grant will be songwriter Gabriella Simpkins. Simpkins is an award-winning independent singer-songwriter, composer, arranger, and musician hailing from Cape Cod. While Club Passim has presented her virtually, she is set to make her live Passim debut on August 9 performing on a bill with Talia Rubenstein as part of the Passim Discovery Series, which brings new artists into the Passim community. Tickets are on sale now at passim.org

The Eastern Front Songwriter Grant honors the legacy of Medfield resident Jerry Potts, founder of Eastern Front Records, who served as chair of the Passim Board of Directors from 2008 to 2020. Jerry’s label helped kickstart the careers of many Passim singer/songwriters including Kevin Connolly, Barbara Kessler, Peter Mulvey and Martin Sexton. Jerry’s work and leadership truly exemplify the mission of Passim: to provide truly exceptional and interactive live musical experiences for both performers and audiences, to nurture artists at all stages of their career, and to build a vibrant music community.

“We are pleased to celebrate Jerry’s contributions to Passim with the Eastern Front Grant and to help new artists record their work and begin building their careers,” said Jim Wooster, Executive Director of Passim. “Gabriella impressed us with her drive, dedication and her immense talent, making her the perfect choice for our first award.”

Gabriella Simpkins is an award-winning independent singer-songwriter, composer, arranger, and musician hailing from Hyannis, MA. She is currently studying music at Salem State. Always dancing to the beat of her own drum, the range of Gabriella’s musicianship knows very few boundaries and has grown over the past ten years to include jazz flute, classical composing, fingerstyle guitar, and much more. Her creations are a true melting pot of these diverse endeavors. 

Supported by her impressionistic guitar playing, her songwriting blurs the lines between the concrete and abstract to tap into her deepest vulnerabilities, and she seeks to create an experience in which listeners can do the same. Inspired by the likes of Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, Karen Dalton, and Amy Winehouse, Gabriella’s music is a blend of folk and indie rock informed by her love of complex jazz and classical harmonies. Much of the work she is  doing now explores compositional techniques from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; Debussy and Bartok are her favorite composers. 

After undergrad work at Salem State, Gabriella plans to enroll in an MA program for music composition, continue to perform and work  as a composer for film and TV.

Gabriella Simpkins performs Monday August 9, 8:00 PM with Talia Rubenstein as part of the Passim Discovery Series, which brings new artists into the Passim community. Club Passim is located at 47 Palmer Street in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA Tickets are on sale now at passim.org

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