The sophisticated, sexy, and captivating Gia Woods wants your attention. The rising queer singer first made a splash in 2016 with her lush pop sound and pride anthem “Only A Girl”. Fans aligned with Woods in her struggles with coming out. The singer’s indignation went without notice in her strict upbringing.
Woods grew up in a stringent Middle Eastern family and culture where coming out was not only frowned upon, but still leads to grave consequences in her Middle Eastern homeland. “They are still beheading people for being gay,” the singer admits. Her parents dismissed her sexuality and her interests in music as well. “It was very isolating. I definitely felt estranged from my whole family. I was the first generation American in my family. I didn’t have anyone to talk to about my sexuality, but music was always my go to and it was the best outlet to let go of how I was feeling.”
Today, the singer has left the dark times behind her. She is moving on in her career and has the prowess to prove it. The sultry Woods learned guitar and has killer vocals, those that match Gwen Stefani’s. “She inspired me on every level. To the way she dressed—I feel like I could feel comfortable dressed in tomboy clothes and musically—the way she commanded a stage,” says Woods. “She is an icon for sure.”
Her upcoming EP Cut Season is an expressive statement in cutting the toxicity out of her life. “My new song ‘Naïve’ is about two of my ex-girlfriends. They said that my head was in the clouds. There’s a lot in the song but it’s really about not having any expectations. It’s about being young and naïve. The EP tells a story from beginning to end,” says the singer.
Ladygunn’s Robert Frezza sat down with the singer to talk advocacy, paving the way, and her fashionista debut with Calvin Klein.
“Only A Girl” was a coming out open letter to your friends and family. What was your biggest takeaway from coming out this way?
It wasn’t really a high a concept video. It’s like Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” but from the perspective of someone who is actually queer. My family didn’t respond the way I was expecting to. They thought I was doing an act to get attention. My fans and friends though were my biggest advocates telling me that I changed their lives. I didn’t expect anything to happen with the song. The video was uploaded and literally got a ton of views on YouTube overnight.
Do you think you are a pioneer or are paving the way for more Middle Eastern singers to make it in the States?
I always done what I feel and done my own thing. If I can be a voice for anyone from the Middle East, that would be an honor. I hope I can be a voice to look up to. I definitely did not have that growing up.
What have you learned about yourself personally and professionally since “Only A Girl was released five years ago?
It goes back to being organic. I saw that my first single received so much viral attention. I am now trusting my gut when releasing music and I release music that I would enjoy listening to.
The EP has now been pushed back. Is it because of the pandemic? How have you been doing in quarantine and what have you been up to in isolation?
COVID 19 definitely changed a lot of my plans. I had a tour planned for the east coast. While in quarantine, I’ve been active on social media and doing virtual live performances. It gets a little exhausting performing virtually, so I started the Instagram series, Never Have I Ever. I wanted to change the way I was interacting with my fans. They can ask me questions. I was paired with other friends who also like music. I don’t know when the EP is going to be released but it’s been pushed back. I still am planning on releasing more singles though. I just think it’s weird to be releasing music during this time.
Jenna Marsh co-directed all of your videos. How did you two meet? Can you tell me more about the partnership?
I saw the visuals she did for Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, and Janelle Monae. I was so blown away from her work. I knew that should execute the vision that I wanted. I messaged her on Instagram and she got back to me. She is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met and honored to work with her.
How did you get involved with the Calvin Klein campaign collection? What was the photo shoot like? You are officially part of the brand now—how does that feel?
It’s like a dream come true. I shot a music video called “New Girlfriend” and the whole video was inspired by Calvin Klein. Following that, Ryan McGinley, from Calvin Klein, wanted to work with me on a photo shoot. The shoot felt like a movie while we were running around New York City. It didn’t feel like it was real. I always wanted to be associated with Calvin Klein and it was a complete fairytale.
CONNECT WITH GIA WOODS
photos / Jenna Marsh
words / Robert Frezza