gina zo talks about turning heartbreaks into songs, upcoming tour and her move to nyc

Gina! How’s it going? It’s amazing to have you here.

Thank you so much for asking me to do this!

Let’s start from the beginning. What sparked your interest in music?

My interest in music stemmed from dancing at a young age. I was always into how music made me feel especially in those emotionally teenage years. I was someone who could listen to music for hours and I specifically resonated with music that didn’t just have a tune, it had a feeling.

When did you decide that you want to pursue music as a career?

Most of my life, I thought that music was what I wanted to do but like any other student, that dream kind of runs dry after high school because of the lack of continual work in the industry. Luckily, my mom encouraged me to audition for The Voice in 2015 and since then I have been pursuing it.

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How was the whole ‘The Voice’ experience for you like?

That whole experience was nuts for me. I think specifically I was just honored to be on the show with other talented artists. It still cracks me up because I just never thought I was as good as any of them. I was shocked I was let on the show! Working with Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani really changed my perspective on the industry and really gave me a confidence in my abilities that I had not had before. That place definitely holds a lot of memories for me. Some of the craziest moments of my life.

And your bandmates, how did you discover them?

When I had auditioned for the Voice I asked my friend David if he would play guitar for my callback. Interestingly enough, a year later, I asked him to help me form a band. Throughout the years it has changed slightly in form with my drummer being the only original member. These guys are my family. I would not have it any other way and having a band that cares so much about music and their careers gets me even more excited to have them around.

The record deal pushed me to brand myself and to write like a maniac.

You were only 18 when you were offered a record deal from Raw Life Records, which is really cool! How has that deal changed you as an artist? Does that make you push harder?

Way cool! The record deal pushed me to brand myself and to write like a maniac. It gave me a sense of wonder and freedom. I have gotten to meet life long mentors of mine who everyday encourage me to be better than the day before. Working in studios that have insane amounts of equipment at my finger tips I have never been so lucky. Since signing I have gotten to put out two records and for me that has been such a blessing. I wrote these songs with my whole heart and feel like to have gotten to share them with people.

 

 

Obviously, you work really hard to get to where you are. Was there any sort of guidance from others? Or did you have to figure all this by yourself? Any challenges?

There is always guidance from others but I have always been proud of myself for being independent. I constantly am pushing myself to be better in part because I do not like to be left behind. Guidance comes a lot from my producer Seth Barmash, my band, my family, and my friends. They all want me to succeed and in different ways.

There have been many challenges along the way. Many battles to make sure my creative works are how I want them to be but that is part of the beauty of it and that is what has made me so strong and so focused.

Let’s talk about your creative process. How do you come up with ideas and lyrics? Would you mind walking us through?

It is different for every song I write but the generalization of it is that in the time of writing I am in some sort of emotional state, which is not necessarily me being sad, just a sort of feeling in me. I will sit down at the piano or guitar and I will come up with some kind of pattern. These patterns come from years of music theory, more of a basic knowledge. Then I will always record whatever I am doing on my phone and I just sing. I improv pretty much all of my writings.

It shocks me what comes out of me. The words and the rhyming. For the most part all of that is not really thought of but taken from my subconscious. That is how I know it is real, because I have chosen to keep it blocked out of my memory.

You have a really strong voice. Do you have a routine for voice exercises?

Thank you!! I have a voice teacher that I work with once a week. I also just sing non stop and I sing properly. I do not strain my voice and do things I know I cannot do in that moment. The way to get a strong voice is to constantly practice. I also have been trained in classical voice which has tremendously influenced how I sing and what my sound is.

Warmups that I do are pretty standard but because of my lack of time during the days I generally warm up on my car rides to gigs and rehearsals. I will always warm up at rehearsal with a song the whole band knows.

 

 

Your music video LOST is really beautiful and well-produced. What was the driving force behind it?

Thank you, that is one of my favorite videos that I have done. The driving force behind the song is a relationship that goes absolutely down the rabbit hole. The girl has complete control over the guy and in the end basically breaks his mind and he is left to rot. The ideas for the videos came from my fascination with nature and the way it moves with love. The wind, the grass, the forest, they all resemble aspects of love that I did not really expect at a young age. Somehow I feel most at home in those places. It was funny because this was my first music video I ever did and I was very serious about making sure it was perfect. I loved filming it but was definitely nervous for the filming.

I also love your covers by the way. If you can pick one artist to collaborate with, who would you pick and why?

An artist I would pick to collaborate with would be Stevie Nicks, hands down. That is so easy for me to say with confidence. Stevie Nicks is legendary against love. Her songs resemble a feeling of lifting and empowerment as a woman to be in love. That is someone I would want to write with and someone I look up to as a writer. I think we would get along well; she has a soul that I want to get to know.

Do you like heartbreak songs?

Heartbreak songs are my absolute favorite. They are the easiest for me to write because I am so damn emotional.

I feel things at a level that is so beyond understanding, it is like a wave crashes over me.

Heartbreak is the most confusing and beautiful thing to go through. The fact that we can feel that way and that heavily bewilders me. I love to write about it to show my confusion and frustration with it. I like to listen to them because even when I am at my happiest some songs just know how to tear me down. I love that.

 

 

“I’m so fucking blue because of your heart” is such a great opening line for the single BLUE. Did this song come out from your personal feelings?

Totally. Every song I write is so true to how I have felt at one point in my life. This song specifically I had written after I thought I was over someone but then when they started to be with someone else I began realizing ‘okay I am definitely not over this’. This song just toys with the fact that people do crazy things for those they once loved. They will literally throw their clothes in the trash, break picture frames, and drive miles just to scream at someone (not saying I did these things BUT someone definitely has).

I also wanna talk about your single CHALKBOARD. What inspired you?

This song for me was a huge part of my life for so long and still resonates with me. I was dating someone before I wrote this that really hurt my soul, literally putting a dent in it. I was broken to my core in a way I had not before. It was one of those first heartbreaks where you didn’t start it, they completely blindside you. So for me, this song was inspired by that person that I held close to myself for so long. How when I hear their voice or even think about them my ears want to bleed because all that pain they caused me comes rushing back. I am thankful for these feelings though, shows me that I am human.

 

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What about your fans? How’s your relationship with them?

I love my fans. I know everyone says that but when I hear someone say they are affected by my music I cannot help but just want to know every reason why. I want to know their story, who hurt them or made them feel something, and I want to know what I can do for them. At my shows, my fans are my number one priority. Every show is meant to be a dance party under the moon. Somewhere you can let your spirits run away and you never have to hide. It is your sanctuary for the moment and no one can take that away from you.

Will you be on tour soon?

I will be!! Dates and cities will be announced within the next couple of weeks. I am SO excited because this is the bands first east coast tour together. I cannot even believe it is happening but it is and we are so thankful that we get to do this. Even if it means sleeping in a car and eating McDonald’s at 4am. This is all worth it. Getting to sing every night for 10 days. I can cry thinking about it.

 

What’s in store for 2018?

2018 is full of new music, new shows, and new cities. I am moving to New York so you can expect A LOT of fun stuff in the city. I am so thankful that this year is bringing all of these incredible things to me. I just would not trade my life for anyone else’s. I have the most incredible band, friends, and family. The universe is definitely on my side.

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Website: www.ginazo.com