Teenage singing sensation: How I wrote music to help me cope with OCD

18 year-old Gabby Rivers has overcome her OCD battle to perform at Latitude this Friday

Singer-songwriter, Gabby Rivers, who has overcome her OCD and is set to perform at Latitude this Friday - Credit: Nick Ilott

A Suffolk teenage singing sensation performing at this week's Latitude Festival has spoken of how she wrote music to help her cope with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Indie soul singer-songwriter Gabby Rivers, from Glemsford, had suffered from OCD since she was eight years old, regularly washing her hands to prevent catching illnesses.

Her OCD was largely under control until the coronavirus pandemic hit, often leaving her with dry hands and low self-esteem as a result.

“I was so sad all the time and I didn’t speak to anyone," she said. 

"I mainly wrote songs about it, which was my way of expressing myself."


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She is now due to sing at the festival's Alcove stage on Friday - and says it feels "amazing" to have overcome her problems.

18 year-old Gabby Rivers performing live with her band

Gabby Rivers, 18, performing live with her band - Credit: Nick Ilott

"I’ve been going to Latitude every single year since I was eight," she said. 

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"To be asked to play is an absolute dream.” 

However, it isn’t her first performance at the Henham Park event - she sang on the Inbetweeners stage as an up and coming act in 2019.

This time, she has made the official line-up and is excited to show off her latest work, much of it written during lockdown. 

“A lot of my new stuff I’m playing live and a lot of the stuff I am recording is about that, which I think is really powerful because it’s something a lot of people can relate to,” she said. 

A smiling Gabby Rivers on the road to recovery and set to perform on the Alcove stage this Friday

Gabby Rivers is looking forward to performing at Latitude - Credit: Nick Ilott

One of the new tracks she will perform is Boredom Rows, a song about arguing with her boyfriend over her mental health.

She will also perform her new song Paradise. 

“I always feel nervous,” she said of performing.

“You don’t know who’s going to be there, you don’t know how many people are going to be watching you.

"But I’m used to performing and I’ve worked really hard.” 

Latitude is one of the first large-scale events to go ahead since the vast majority of coronavirus lockdown restrictions were eased on July 19.

“They’ll be able to listen to the music they’ve been listening to in their bedrooms, and be able to go out and express themselves," Gabby said of the revellers.

"It will be amazing.” 

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