What first got you into music?

My parents for sure. As I kid, I remember records being played all the time. I can’t ever remember a time when music wasn’t playing in the background. I feel my childhood memories have a soundtrack. A lot of Chicago, The Beatles, Elton John. My mom absolutely adored George Harrison, so I always had an affinity for his work. I discovered The Traveling Wilburys when I was a teenager, but probably as a result of her musical influence. There was a lot of Bob Dylan played in the house, Joni Mitchell, Carol King, James Taylor, America. On top of all that, my parents took me to the theatre all the time. I also grew up listening to, and watching, the NYC Ballet Performances every summer at the Saratoga Preforming Arts Center (SPAC). This means, for a short stint, I took ballet lessons as a child. My aunt was a director of regional theatre productions, and also a voting member for the Tony’s, so she would send me cassettes and CDs of new Broadway shows she was given. I think I was the only 7th grader who knew both, by heart, all of The Beatles “Revolver”, and the broadway musical “Crazy for You”, which is based on Cole Porter songs. Music was everywhere, every sort of music. My father even went through a very heavy country phase. So I grew up listening to a lot of Loretta Lynn and Hank Williams, interspersed with his other love, Genesis. Both the Peter Gabriel side of it, and he really took to the Phil Collins era as well. Music was like a third parent.

Who inspired you to make music?

Inspire or illuminate?

Well, on the illumination end of things, I think back to when a high school friend played me a song she had created. A light bulb popped on over my head and then I heard an angels’ choir, with the sunlight piercing through the clouds on me, all of it. I thought to myself, ‘Holy fuck. I can just write my OWN songs? Let me try this.’ And then the next day I played her a song I just wrote that evening before. It was pretty wild. It just sort of flowed out of me, while at the piano. It’s like I unlocked some secret part of me, like a pandora’s box. I still play that same first song at shows today, it’s called “Paper Lifeboat”.

As for the inspiration part, I’ll be very clear. I stopped trying to be a musician for a few years, got confused and all. I thought I had to be really responsible and adult-like. I didn’t know how to balance everything at that point. Then on a whim, I bought the album “Elephant” by The White Stripes. This was years and years after it came out. I remember hearing about them, but I had never really listened to them. That album blew my ever-loving mind, and something about their dynamic made me fall in love with making music again. The rest is kind of history, and you can blame them.

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

I like capturing moments of feelings. It’s a lot of feelings-based rumination that hopefully connects to a larger audience beyond making me feel some sort of catharsis. And that is actually a pretty good word for it: It’s like I’m trying to give collective catharsis, so that’s how I would explain the type of music I create. Can we make that a genre?

What is your creative process like?

Pick up the guitar, take out my little yellow notepad, grabbing the nearest of a few writing utensils scattered by my nightstand, and connect to what is within me at the moment. Then trying to find a way to express that in word form, right? While at the same time singing a melody that seems to be right. “Yeah, those words, that feeling, that melody. Now what chords do I need to play?!” I’m a self-taught guitarist, so I do my best. The writing process is pretty fast most of the time. The ideas jump when you connect to what you need to channel. It’s like a third eye sort of thing. Mystical. I don’t like to question it too much.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

The obvious and the utterly impossible would be, The White Stripes, but I missed that ship. They had broken up long before I listened to a full album, so it’s like I grieved something I never even experienced. But if there be dreams that come true, they’re at the top of the list. I also have this idea that Poison Ivy Rorschach and I could team up for a song. Two redhead rock n roll queens. Can’t go wrong.

If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?

The Raconteurs. Putting it out to the universe. It’s gonna happen. 

What bands or artists do people often compare you to, or say you sound like?

From what I can remember, and in not particular order; Roxette, The Pretenders, Hole, Belinda Carlie, Kim Wilde, Heart, PJ Harvey, The White Stripes, Nirvana, Pixies, The Cars, The Breeders, Pavement, The Sundays, Bikini Kill, and/or La Tigre.

I don’t think I sound like any other band or artist in particular, but I can see where my writing style or song elements, could remind someone of any of those great artists.

What is one message you would give to your fans?

There’s a lot of kindness in this Gigi Marie community, and that’s so fucking punk. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

What is the most useless talent you have?

I do an excellent ET impression. “El-l-l-liot?” Now give me all your Reese’s Pieces, as they are indeed, my favorite candy. 

Do you sing in the shower? What songs?

I try to sing like Julie Andrews because the acoustics kind of make my voice sound like I could be on Broadway. So there’s a lot of Camelot and My Fair Lady tunes. I love putting on a good cockney accent, so I also sing Nancy’s songs from Oliver in the shower. It’s probably terrifying for the other people in the house, but I can really belt, and do, in the shower. It’s all Broadway though.

What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?

An English Lit Professor, because my favorite thing to do is read and analyze the hell out of whatever I read. I guess you could say my writing skills are also not too shabby.

Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

I’ve performed mostly on the East Coast. One of my favorite small spots is Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs because Bob Dylan used to play there when he was a young folk artist. When I was age 15 or 16, I played there the same night he was down the street playing SPAC, and that really tickled my romantic soul. I have some regular local haunts I like to show up to every now and then in the DC area, but shhhh. I like to keep a low profile. If you see me, I’ll always say hello though.

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?

Well, we’re all connected, which is totally overwhelmingly beautiful and wild and scary at times. I love how interactive social media has allowed me/us to be. It’s also so great for independent artists — we can now do so much on our own and there’s a TON less gatekeeping. Like, this, for example, is pretty cool. I can let you know a bit of my story. It’s really wild.

What is your favorite song to perform?

That depends on the night, the crowd, the feeling. I have so much fun playing “Grandma Jerome” though, and “NYC Moon” is a vibe. I flow with whatever the night is demanding of me and connect to something viscerally at some point, but it’s always shifting. 

Which famous musicians do you admire?

Anyone who creates art from their soul, anyone who makes the art their own: I LOVE you. Harpo Marx on harp might be my favorite musician ever though. Without saying a word, his humor and musical talent won me over at the age of 5. Ya’ know? 

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?

Oh my god, it was so stupid.

I was with a friend at an outdoor concert at the New York State Fairgrounds back when I was in high school. She was obsessed with Jonathan Knight, and he was doing this solo show. Like a good friend, I went, but the music was a long way from the punk bands I was more used to seeing in various basements through central New York. Well, we muscled our way through lots of low waisted bell bottoms to the very front, and then she jumped the little red tape they set up in front of the stage. I don’t know what we thought we were doing, but I jumped, too. I want to think I was trying to pull her back, because I’ve always been the protector of any group I’m in. However, we got escorted out by a security guard, as half of my high school was watching. We were pretty infamous for the rest of our time in school, and totally milked it. For example, I dressed as Joan Jett and she went a Cher for Senior Dress up day, and I when I got an award for my costume, I grabbed the mic and got the whole of the school on the bleachers watching to sing “I Love Rock N Roll”.

That’s the worst of my crimes. 

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

George David Weiss once told me while at my cousin’s wedding, “You know, sometimes the people you wish would shut up, don’t, and the people you really wish would talk don’t.” And he winked at me. We talked the rest of the night. I love and miss him dearly, but when I get shy, which I often do, I think about his kind words to the little shy red-headed girl.

If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

It would be nice to have more people thirst for live music. Everyone seems so busy and shut down at times. Concerts can make you see the world more magically, so give them a chance, maybe.

What’s next for you?

Lots more touring and music making.

I’ll see you out there!