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Interview / Erica Russell

Take a look at any music blog and there you’ll find GIA, a bright-eyed, sweet young thing making significant waves with just the three songs on her Soundcloud. Even more impressive? The 18 year old alt-r&b artist from Los Angeles has only started releasing music this month.
With music that sounds like a cerebral blend of Americana pop, hazy R&B, and back-of-the-club beats, coupled with a sophisticated sense of style and smooth, smoke-screen vocals, it’s no wonder how GIA has popped up among indie-pop’s latest crop of It Girls. And to solidify the intrigue, the singer-songwriter recently released a hotly tipped music video for her track “Only A Girl,” celebrating female friendship and girl-on-girl love.
To discover more about the young artist, we spoke with GIA about the reception she’s experienced so far, what message she’d like to share through her music, and the representation of sexual identities in music today. 

Where are you from and how would you like to introduce yourself?
I’m from Los Angeles, born and raised. I’m 18 years old and I’m a musician.
You’ve just begun to release music over the past few weeks, and already you’re causing quite the noise! How does it feel to be making an impact and creating such buzz when you’ve all but just emerged?
It’s incredible! It’s slightly surreal that I’m seeing myself on the blogs and on the hypem charts that I use to discover new music and look at the artists I admire. I feel so new to all of this and I’m so grateful to the people who really believe in me and are excited about my project. I know I’m gonna live up to the buzz, I promise I won’t let all of you down!
The Internet has provided young and independent artists an amazing global platform to reach new ears. But there’s a lot of noise out there, a lot of artists doing the same things and clambering over one another in order to be heard. How will you use the web as a tool to reach out?
It’s so cool that I live in a time where it’s possible to present my project and make my voice be heard without having to jump through many hoops or be told how to do it. I don’t like this idea of being competitive or succeeding at the expense of anyone else. I know there’s plenty of room for all of us and I think every girl brings something different to the table because we all are such different people. Nobody can do what I do and I’m proud of that.
“Only A Girl” was written about your first same-sex relationship. What are your thoughts on the homogenous climate of sexual identity in music today? Do you feel like there needs to be more representation of other sexual perspectives and identities in the music being created?
I do think it’s interesting for me to express my honest experiences in my music and my visuals because we’re all human and there are certainly going to be people out there who relate to me. I believe we need more diversity in popular culture from sexual orientation to gender identity to race and everything in between, and that will happen as we see more people using their voices and telling their stories. It’s been so cool to hear people tell me that my song and video have made them more comfortable with who they are.
I sense that visual expression and fashion are important to you in regards to your aesthetic and presentation. How do you envision yourself? And what things inspire you, visually speaking?
I’m not really interested in looking perfect at all times, I prefer to take risks and play with different silhouettes and androgyny. I’m really inspired by strong iconic looks and women throughout history and seeing people so assured in who they are. I enjoy mixing that with street elements and teenage subcultures. Style is a big part of self-expression and it’s really fun for me.
Which artists or albums inspired you growing up? Is there any artist in particular whose career you truly look up to?
I’m definitely inspired by Fiona Apple. Her lyrics and aesthetic and vocal tone have always really struck a chord in me and she seemed to really be expressing herself on all those fronts. It’s amazing that she reached such a broad audience and was able to capture national attention and I just really admire her.
I hear you have an EP coming up. Can you talk a little about the energy of the EP and what listeners can look forward to?
I’m so excited! You’ll really get a great grasp of what my sound is when you hear the entire EP, it’s a big blend of a lot of tones and sub-genres all mashed together with big hooks. It’s lyrically adventurous and has elements of trap and Americana and alternative R&B, basically everything that expresses who I am.
How do you envision the upcoming year? Are you looking to perform live or tour soon?
Yes, I’ll be performing all over the place this year as well as releasing my EP and a few more music videos. Look out because I’m coming to a city near you! We’re having a lot of fun conceptualizing the live show now and I’m really looking forward to seeing all the cool kids who my music has been connecting with.
If you could spread just one message with your music, what would you say?
I think LOUD is a big mission statement for me because it’s basically saying no matter how imperfect or messed up you may feel sometimes you should never be afraid to be exactly who you are and speak up! We all hold so much power with our voices and my generation needs to feel empowered and I hope I can help with that with my music. Be you, because everyone else is already taken.
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