Five and a bit months ago, on a sun-slapped day in Los Angeles, Gin Wigmore walked out of the UCLA Medical Centre grinning from ear to ear.

The Kiwi singer had just found out she and husband Jason Butler were expecting their first child.

"We've kept the news under wraps all these months because I had so much going on," says Wigmore (31), who is revealing her pregnancy exclusively to the Herald.

Those goings-on included a fourth album and a trip to Antarctica as part of a TedX talk at Scott Base.

Advertisement
Dave Goodison (left) and Gin Wigmore at Scott Base in Antartica in January 2017.
Dave Goodison (left) and Gin Wigmore at Scott Base in Antartica in January 2017.

But four months out from the big day, estimated to be September 10, Wigmore is fizzing with excitement.

Speaking from LA, where she's lived since 2013, Wigmore moves the webcam around to reveal her "bump".

"I love kids and always thought I'd have babies by the time I was 26," says Wigmore, famous for her distinctive, gravelly drawl.

"But I didn't realise how exhausting pregnancy would be. And no one tells you how unglamorous it is - I've got huge boobs, a big arse and am incredibly emotional all the time. But on the other hand, I feel like Superwoman because today I made this little person's brain and tomorrow I'll make their liver."

🤷‍♀️ Mornings in #laughlin w @mrjasonaalon

A post shared by Gin Wigmore (@ginwigmore) on

Wigmore and her husband, the lead singer for hardcore punk band Letlive, have opted not to learn the sex of their child and are currently combing their way through names, including Marley for a girl.

"Although I definitely feel like I'm having a boy," she admits.

There have been other changes: Wigmore's latest album, due to be released in December last year, was put on hold and a tour of New Zealand in February and March was cancelled, as was the extensive summer festival schedule in the US and Canada she was currently supposed to be on.

"The challenge for me has been to keep working but not touring. I still want to create the kind of music that's important to me, but fit it around my family."

It's one of the reasons Wigmore came up with Girl Gang, a collaboration of music and art with five artists over 10 months. It will see one song from Wigmore's as-yet-unnamed album released each month, accompanied by the work of an "empowering, unique female artist, jewellery designer, tattooist, writer or poet".

"Each woman will use one of the songs to create a piece of their own art, which we'll release on social media and film. I've been talking to female artists in the US, UK and New Zealand about coming on board and am excited about creating a collaborative work that allows women to fight against a society that so often pits us against each other and tears us down."

It's also part crusade against what Wigmore calls a "tired music industry".

"It's so old-school to make music, then do a video, then tour it. I don't want to put all my horses into that race any more. I'm much more interested in finding new and interesting ways to express my music."

The first single, to be released on June 23, is Hallow Fate, which also takes a swipe at the music industry. "It's about me removing my rose-tinted glasses and realising that the industry isn't real. That they love you to be a certain way and when you don't fit their ideals, you can be dropped like a stone."

The day we speak, Wigmore was still confirming the female artist to collaborate with her on the first single.

"Let's just say she's American and a tattooist."

The perfect snuggle. #saturdays #awomansbestfriend

A post shared by Gin Wigmore (@ginwigmore) on

Proceeds from Girl Gang will go to two charities dear to Wigmore's heart - FCKH8.Com, a viral video campaign that combats racism, sexism and homophobia and Gentle Barn, which rehabilitates animals and children with behavioural problems.

"I've been obsessed with animals since I was a child and made my mother feed me milk out of a saucer because I thought I was a cat," Wigmore says, laughing, as her two large dogs snore at her feet.

"People can learn so much from animals, including empathy and respect. It was a no-brainer to work with Gentle Barn on this project."

Wigmore is planning to get back into the touring saddle early next year and, as usual, is hoping to kick off her tour in New Zealand. Although she's comfortable in the Silver Lake home she and Butler bought two years ago ("It's just been painted so it looks fantastic"), she says they often talk about relocating to New Zealand.

"Especially with what's happening now with Trump. It still shocks me that a man so unstable is President. Things here are starting to feel very volatile and backwards, particularly for minorities and women. So many artists are afraid to speak out in fear of losing fans but I grew up listening to Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, who showed us that artists shouldn't be silenced. It's why I'm so excited about Girl Gang, a female-focused project that uses music and creativity to fight back."

LOWDOWN:
Who: Gin Wigmore
What: Girl Gang - a collaborative creative project incorporating art, music and literature, inspired by new songs by Gin Wigmore.
When: The first single, Hallow Fate, will be released on June 23