Cabin fever hasn’t set in for Auckland, New Zealand-bred singer-songwriter Gin Wigmore, whose current headquarters are in Los Angeles.
She points to a few positives: You don’t necessarily need a major label to survive, especially if your husband happens to run one. Also: Not everyone is rabidly keen on the Netflix series “Tiger King,” which documents the surreal life of zookeeper Joe Exotic.
“It was this sweeping phenomenon because everyone loves a trainwreck of a character like Joe Exotic and his crew of misfits,” she says of the show. “But it’s not cool. It’s f——d up, it’s terrible, it’s awful, and the takeaway from that should have been, ‘F—-, look at how much animal abuse is going on out there.’”
Wigmore — free of her decade-long recording contract and accordant creative restrictions — signed with her spouse Jason Aalon Butler’s 333 Wreckords Crew. She decided to do something about her stance on animal abuse with her recent single “Hangover Halo” and its bare acoustic version, “Naked Edition.”
While the lyrics might detail her hardscrabble past growing up Down Under, a portion of the proceeds from the bluesy track will go to Panthera, a nonprofit dedicated to conserving the world’s wild cats. (A Naked Edition video of the tune features an animated tiger.)
It wasn’t that all of her music had been selfish before. “But I realized that I’ve got this platform, so I should use it for something that’s bigger than myself, something that actually makes the world a better place,” Wigmore says, adding, “I know that sounds like a cheesy thing to say, but to not speak up would be so lame. And can you imagine how lame the world would be if there was no wildlife?”
The vocalist — whose R&B-retro keen has captivated listeners for four albums, starting with 2009’s “Holy Smoke” — plans on releasing a new single (plus tandem Naked version) every six weeks, including “Feels Like Me,” a vaudevillian piano romp to follow “Halo.”
Wigmore has expanded her charities to include the dwindling Asian elephant species, being killed at an estimated rate of 100 per day, and one calf in particular: Chhouk, who lost his foot in a poacher’s snare but is being rehabilitated by the Wildlife Alliance, which the song helps sponsor.
“It would be such a shame to go to Africa or Asia and know that there were no more tigers, no elephants, no pandas or cheetahs,” she says. “Animals would just be something that we read about in books, and we did that. Humans. We’re like a cancer. Therefore, if we are the disease, then we also need to be the cure, as well.”
Her next single might be “Rodeo,” a ribald Oasis-meets-Green Day anthem that took her out of her sultry comfort zone: “I love 1990s rock, loud guitars and amps, and I wrote ‘Rodeo’ on electric guitar and recorded it four days before I gave birth to my second son this year,” she says.
Working at home with her husband, she says, “There are no there are no rules, no map, nothing, and it feels like totally uncompromising art at this point. It’s such a lovely space to be in.”
Wigmore, 34, admits that she and her hubby, who fronts Fever 333 — they met when he was hypnotized by her exotic voice emanating from a stage on the Warped Tour they both played in 2013 — are their own harshest critics. They’re brutally frank with each other about what’s working and what’s not with any piece of music.
But it’s great to wake up with a fellow artist and immediately start brainstorming ideas over breakfast. “He’s trying to build an empire with his collective, and now it’s so cool to be a part of that world, as well,” she says. “So from now on, I’m just going to do what feels right, with no real common thread, per se. It will just be my voice that ties it all together.”