Esteemed UK soul star Gabrielle is the latest performer to be celebrated in Universal Music Recordings’ (UMR) ‘Black Story’ series, which seeks to pay tribute to pioneering Black UK artists as part of this year’s Black History Month – celebrated in October in the UK. The new video, which you can watch below, explains how the London-born singer-songwriter came to compose her classic signature hit, “Out Of Reach”, which has been described as “the unrequited love song of the noughties”.
Having enjoyed mainstream success during the 1990s, with her chart-topping debut, “Dreams” and two big-selling albums, Gabrielle was at the very top of her game as the new century dawned. Her third album, Rise, became her second UK album chart topper, but her profile would rise to a new level altogether when she was inspired to write “Out Of Reach” after reading Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride & Prejudice during some post-Rise downtime.
Inspired by the book’s famous storyline of unrequited love, she wrote “Out Of Reach” with frequent collaborator Jonathan Shorten and the song then famously appeared on the soundtrack of Sharon Maguire’s 2001 widely-acclaimed romantic comedy film Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Released as the soundtrack’s lead single on 9 April 2001, “Out of Reach” didn’t just reach No. 4 four on the UK Singles Chart, but it was a huge hit in numerous territories (going Top 5 in countries including Portugal and New Zealand) and it enjoyed further success when included in the deluxe reissue of Rise and Gabrielle’s multi-platinum collection, Dreams Can Come True, The Greatest Hits Vol. 1. The song was also nominated for an Ivor Novello Award and Gabrielle herself has since maintained a successful career, releasing four more studio albums, post-Rise, the most recent of which, 2021’s Do It Again was another UK Top 5 success.
UMR says of their new ‘Black Story series: “‘Black Story’ tells the history of our unsung UK Black musical icons. It is undeniable that Black artists and musicians have shaped the landscape of culture worldwide. UMR wants to celebrate not only the culture; but the scenes, the sounds, and the artists which shaped UK Music, giving flowers to the incredible Black artists in our archives.
“We seek to deliver these influential (and sometimes little-known) Black artists from our repertoire to an audience who may never have experienced them before, to elevate their music, share stories and, in turn, gain new fans to preserve the legacy of Black music.”