Nashville, TN (November 20, 2020)
Mainstream social media influencer, content creator, and pop music star, Gabriel Conte, has released his first full-length album on Capitol Christian Music Group label RE:THINK. Gabriel, has a cumulative following of more than 10 million, has charted on 14 different Billboard charts and debuted No.1 with an EP on six of those 14. Alongside his wife Jess Conte, he released an EP called Under the Covers, which featured acoustic covers of songs by Elvis Presley, John Legend and more. Three volumes of Under the Covers came between 2017 and 2019, with several stand out performances garnering more than 8 million streams. Gabe & Jess’s 2016 wedding video gained more than 18 million views on YouTube.
Now, Gabriel enters the Christian music space with the release of his 10-song album, Belong.
Below, Gabriel shares his thoughts and the Story Behind the Song for each of the 10 tracks.
“My journey into writing Belong came about at the beginning of 2019 during the lowest point in my entire life. I had never directly struggled with depression, but in this particular season I was stuck deep. I was overcommitted and burnt-out. The season seemed to be inescapable without losing everything I had worked for my entire career. In this moment, I threw my trust towards God knowing that He would ultimately take care of me better than I ever could and that His plan for my career, whatever it may be, would be better for my life anyway. To help ease the pain and self-medicate, I took time off of everything work related, hoping to find some sort of purpose again. I gave myself the time to breathe, which lead me to follow the creativity that was pulling on my heart. Feelings turned into thoughts, thoughts turned into words, words turned into poetry, and poetry turned into music. If you asked me at the beginning of 2019 that I would have a full debut record completed I wouldn’t have believed it in the slightest, but God’s plan was clearly different. He knew my experiences could offer comfort and hope to others fighting through similar struggles and that music was the strongest platform to tell my story. This album is a chronological story of the past five years of my life.” —Gabriel Conte
The approach we took when writing ‘Belong’ was probably the most specific on the album. I decided to name the whole album ‘Belong’ before even writing the song since that is the entire message summed up into one word – the journey to belong. After writing most of the album, we knew we needed a song with the message of “you’re going to be okay” and “the pain leads us to a better place.
This song is funny because my buddy Zac and I started writing this at 10pm on my living room floor right after his 14 hour flight landed from Australia. We were so inspired in that moment and wrote most of the songs in less than an hour. The inspiration came from my initial moments in LA when I left my family to pursue the dream. It’s interesting looking retrospectively on this time because I actually have made my parents proud with the nearly 5 years that I’ve lived on the west coast. I had no idea what the journey was going to actually look like back then.
“Be Somebody” is essentially the inner dialogue I would often have with myself. The battle between loneliness in a place like LA and the pride of independence. On one side, my pride would constantly say that I only needed myself to succeed in becoming somebody and on the other side, my heart was trying to show me that sharing life with someone else can actually birth a greater purpose than selfishly chasing a dream.
“Me With You”
“Me With You” was one of the first tracks written on the album and is actually one of the two tracks which I didn’t write. One of my closest friends, Zac, got together with his writing crew back in Australia and was able to write a song based off of my experiences over the past few years in LA – from when I met my wife, Jess, to my journey with faith and career. It’s actually a bit crazy how accurate they were able to write the song based off of my life, but Zac has seen and experienced the entire journey with me.
“Boca to Brisbane”
This song was probably the easiest to write out of all of them. I knew I wanted to write a song directly for my wife that expressed how, even after 3 years of marriage, I cannot believe that she chose to be with me.
“I’m Not Sorry”
I am very proud of “I’m Not Sorry” because it is the only track on the album where I am the sole writer. Writing this was super weird as I randomly came up with the first line of the chorus, “I’m not sorry”, and loved the sound of the hook and heard a lot of potential in where the melody could go in the chorus. I was struggling to figure out exactly what I was “sorry” for since I did not want to write an FU anthem, so I tied it into the journey Jess and I have been on together in faith and in love, and how I do not regret a thing that has happened.
This song poetically discusses how crazy life can end up getting and how the pressure makes you search for meaning. It’s so symbolic of my actual life – moving from Florida to Los Angeles at 20 years old without knowing a soul, dealing with loneliness, love, and depression, and trying to balance the pressures of a career in entertainment.
“What’s Wrong With Me”
“What’s Wrong With Me” is the most honest song on the album. It’s one where I dive the deepest into some of the details from my depression in an attempt to verbalize what I was feeling in the thick of that season. I took the approach of anchoring the lyrics around my wife to express her devotion and love toward me during such a dark, personal moment.
This song means so much to me, so I wanted to add in a version of it that was completely different from the first time you hear it. We kept this version stripped back and acoustic so that the emotion in the lyrics could really shine through.
We wrote Los Angeles a few months after finishing everything else on the album. I did not have a whole lot left to say, but I wanted a final way to let the world know that I am better now. I went through the valley, journeyed up the mountain, and ultimately found myself again. All the while with God on my side.