Perhaps you are one of the 4.3 million people who have watched the new Heineken/ James Bond commercial on YouTube in recent weeks and wondered aloud, “What’s that song?” (Or, alternately, “Wait, James Bond drinks Heineken?!?”)
And while we’re as puzzled as you are by Bond’s choice of libation, we definitely know the answer to the first question: The song that blares in the background of the high-profile spot is “Man Like That,” a sultry slice of soul straight from the lips of 26-year-old Gin Wigmore, a New-Zealand singer/songwriter who may very well be poised for big things here in the States — even if she’s yet to truly reap the benefits of her Heineken partnership.
“I haven’t had any free Heineken yet, can you believe that?” she laughed. “I’m actually shocked. As soon as I get some, I’m going to get really wasted.”
And, in a lot of ways, you can’t blame her for wanting to celebrate. After all, “Man Like That” is just the latest step in Wigmore’s slow voyage toward Stateside success — one that actually been back in 2004, when she won the U.S.-based International Songwriters Competition with her tune “Hallelujah” (she was the youngest musician to ever win the Grand Prize). She’s built a sizeable fanbase back home in New Zealand based on the strength of two albums, 2009’s Holy Smoke and its follow-up, 2011’s Gravel & Wine, and now has her sights firmly set on breaking through on our shores, which is fitting, considering Gravel (which features “Man Like That”) is, in every conceivable way, an American album.
“At the end of the first record I did, I kind of sat there going, ’I don’t know what I want to write about.’ I’d kind of exhausted myself from everything, I’d talked about everything, and I felt like there’s nothing more to talk about,” Wigmore said. “So I needed to go on an adventure, I needed to scare myself and put myself in dicey situations; so I sat there and I was talking to my manager, and I said, ’I want to make a blues record.’ And he said to me, ’Gin, you know nothing about the blues, you’re from New Zealand and there’s nothing much like that there.’ So I got on a plane and came to the States and went through the actual blues country.
“So I went to Memphis, learned about Elvis, went to Sun Studios, went and found some new things and new experiences,” she continued. “I wrote with amazing people like Charlie Sexton and William Bell from Stax [Records] and worked with Butch Walker, and it was all so great. I visited juke joints and saw pistols and guns and had barbecue and had moonshine, but just a thimble of it, because it was horrible, and I was completely wasted. But I finally had something to write about!”
And based on the breakout success of “Man Like That” — which Wigmore said was written about an ex who “was a total di–” — she’ll finally release Gravel & Wine here next year (an iTunes-only EP will arrive October 30). So now, at long last, Wigmore may be on her way to becoming a household name here in the States — which is good, considering she doesn’t really see herself becoming a Bond girl anytime soon, no matter how much 007 loves her song (or Heineken).
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” she laughed. “I don’t think my boobs are big enough to be a Bond girl, to be honest.”