Finding fresh talent is always exciting, so when I received an email about rising star Gianna I wanted to take the chance to check out her sound. Good thing I did. I just love a soulful singer who can mix things up and that’s exactly what this talented lady can do. Of course, I had to reach out for an interview with EY and was tremendously thankful that Gianna accepted. Check out her catchy pop single, Baby It’s You, and continue below for our exclusive interview with the artist:
EY: Where in New York are you from and at what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to be a singer?
I’m originally from Staten Island, but my family moved to NJ when I was younger and that’s where I currently live! I realized I wanted to pursue music as a career when I was 8. I started watching my older sister, who was a big fan of Alicia Keys, play the piano when I was 4 years old and I loved hanging out with her. I wanted to play the piano so badly, I would ask my mom over and over for lessons. Finally, At 5 I started playing myself, but once I connected the two ( singing and playing) after watching Alicia Keys sing and play, I started songwriting, that’s when I really figured out that this was a huge passion of mine and wanted to continue doing it. I would write for hours in my room and I finally had a song I wanted to record at age 11, but I didn’t have the courage to ask to record until I was 13. I had my voice teacher look at it and we began working out some of the kinks. When I finally felt ready, I recorded it in my brothers friends studio. It’s titled “Believe Me.” Its dedicated to my sister Raquel.
EY: Who are some of your biggest influences, in music or otherwise?
My biggest influences musically are Alicia Keys, Amy Winehouse, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Queen, James Brown, Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald. There are tons more but those are the artists that seriously inspired me 🙂
EY: How would you describe your musical style and what separates it from the rest?
I like to think it’s a mix of pop/soul with a little bit of funk sometimes lol. All of my songs flow together, but each bring a different element lyrically and musically, which is what I think separates my style from everyone else’s. My sound is just that, my own. I think you can hear my influences in my music but it is definitely a sound that is all me.
EY: What is it like to have won Amateur Night at The Apollo and being selected by Bill Seidman to participate in the BMI sponsored professional songwriters’ workshop?
Winning amateur night was an incredible experience! A lot of it is based on the crowd, so the fact that everyone went crazy after I sang was amazing! You’re up against a lot of talented people at the Apollo and the crowd can be tough sometimes lol, so when they embrace you its really cool. Just to let you know, that was my second attempt! I didn’t win the first time around and tried again! I was scared but I was determined and wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Working with Billy Seidman was also a great learning experience. It opened my mind up to a lot of different ways of writing and where and how to take risks either with your lyrics or musically. I also met a lot of great writers whom I now call friends.
EY: How has the experience impacted you as a musician?
It definitely made me more confident in my abilities overall. I feel like every artist or musician has moments where they might doubt their skills, but these helped me realize that I’m actually doing something right! It also helped me see the value of challenging yourself with different styles and going out of your comfort zone. He would ask us to write out of our Genre which was a lot of fun but also totally out of my element. It opens your world musically to other ideas and incorporating it into my own style.
EY: I love your up-tempo debut single, “Baby It’s You.” What inspired the song?
Thank you! I really wanted a feel good song on this record. One that still has substance but just explains young love in the simplest form. I go a little deeper into soul in my EP, but I still love pop music, so I wanted this to be just a fun song 🙂
EY: What is the concept behind the single cover? Awesome one eye shot, by the way.
Thanks 🙂 I really love art, and I wanted to do something that incorporated that for the cover. I also wanted to mix a little bit of edginess into it, so that’s why we decided to go with that picture with only one eye showing.
EY: Tells us about the upcoming EP, “The Diary of Lola Grey”. Where did the title come from and what do you hope listeners will take from your music?
It is easier to write more honestly when I put myself in different shoes, which is who “Lola Grey” is. She’s an alter ego in a sense. She’s just a version of me that is a lot less reserved. I try to be as transparent as possible through my music, so I hope my listeners learn a lot about me, but also relate the music back to themselves.
EY: What’s next for you?
I’m very excited for the future because we are planning some great performances, having fun promoting this song and getting ready for the release of my EP! So, all good things 🙂
EY: Thanks for taking the time, Gianna. Please leave a message to your supporters and any tips for aspiring musicians
Thank you so much for reading this, getting to know me, and listening to my song! For aspiring musicians, I guess my best piece of advice would be to follow your instinct ALWAYS. Some people think they know what is best for you, but at the need of the day YOU know what is best for you, musically and in life in general. Staying true to yourself is the most important thing as you pursue a career.