Gerry Cinnamon (born Gerald Crosbie) is a Scottish singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist. He sings in the local accent and uses 'brutally honest' lyrics.
Early life and bands
Crosbie was raised in 'The Valley', a residential area of the Castlemilk district of Glasgow. He has stated that as a child he listened to his mother's music cassettes including albums by The Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel and The Beatles. He has also stated that he was a fan of Oasis, and has a particular admiration for the work of Bob Dylan.
Having experienced problems in the local area and in school as a young teenager, he spent some time living in London with the father of a friend, and finding himself with little to do "apart from watch cricket or play guitar" and became proficient in the instrument (as well as the harmonica). On returning to Scotland he began writing songs, with his growing interest in creating and performing music proving a distraction in his attempts to hold down jobs in various industries over several years.
While performing a solo gig at a college he met aspiring producer Chris Marshall, a neighbour from Castlemilk. They began collaborating on a casual basis with Marshall arranging the songs and Crosbie the lyricist, and eventually formed a lo-fi band, The Cinnamons, along with Lori Duncan, Dave Bass and Gav Hunter; with Gerry as frontman, they released a five-song EP in 2010. Crosbie subsequently adopted the Cinnamon name as a solo performer and his later catalogue contains some compositions from the era, such as Sometimes.
An open mic night in a bar on Sauchiehall Street in central Glasgow gave him an opportunity to perform his songs, and the event became increasingly popular.
Rise in popularity and live shows
In 2014, having sold out gigs at small venues purely through word of mouth and social media, he was invited to write and perform a song at a rally event in George Square ahead of the referendum on Scottish independence. The song, Hope Over Fear, which was released as a single, introduced him to a wider audience – however he has stated that he had no desire to become a figurehead for the Yes campaign.
In summer 2015, Cinnamon supported John Power on tour, released another single, Kampfire Vampire, and performed to a large crowd on the T-Break Stage at T in the Park, fulfilling a long-held ambition to play at the festival.
In July 2016 he again performed at T in the Park, this time at the 'King Tut's Wah Wah Tent' stage as he had hoped to do a year earlier. Despite having one of the traditionally least popular time slots across the weekend (2pm on Friday), his performance was again well-attended. In October he was announced as 'Best Live Act' at the 2016 Scottish Alternative Music Awards.
In November, without being signed to a record label, he headlined a sold-out show at Glasgow's O2 ABC Glasgow, the promotion of which had consisted of a single message on his Facebook profile; he later admitted he was so disorganised that he had not even prepared a set list for the performance. In December, he supported Ocean Colour Scene in their show at the SSE Hydro.
2017 – debut album
In July 2017, Cinnamon appeared on the King Tut's stage at the TRNSMT festival (a non-camping replacement for T in the Park) on Glasgow Green, again playing to a sizeable and enthusiastic crowd. In September, he released his first album Erratic Cinematic, funded via the PledgeMusic platform and produced by Chris Marshall, which quickly rose to the number 1 spot in the UK iTunes chart for singer-singwriters (briefly outselling the likes of Ed Sheeran), and 6th overall.
On the back of the album release, he announced a show at the Barrowland Ballroom to take place in December, with all tickets sold within hours of being released, followed a few days later by a second date which sold out even more swiftly. Later in October he was presented with a 'Great Scot Award' for entertainment, following previous winners of the category such as Paolo Nutini and Kevin Bridges. In December it was confirmed he would be returning to TRNSMT in 2018, this time on the main stage.
Views on the music industry
Cinnamon has encouraged aspiring artists to believe in themselves despite a lack of expensive backing, and expressed a scathing distaste for the nature of music industry marketing and excessive hyping of inferior quality artists, stating in 2016:
"The only reason I'm in this game is because it's full of imposters ruining music and my very existence annoys them and it pleases me. If you're a working class musician hearing this or reading it and you respect the art of song writing more than the art of pretending then you have a responsibility to get involved. There's a war on for real music and if you're sound and can write decent tunes then you're on the front line whether you like it or not"
A few days before playing his Barrowland gigs in 2017, Cinnamon spoke out against ticket scalping website operators who he found had purchased large numbers of his gig tickets at face value and then offered them for sale on their sites to desperate fans at hugely inflated prices.