Gina Zavalis is a Singer-Songwriter from New York. At Song Revelation when we first heard Gina’s incredible voice we were impressed and wanted to know more. We were delighted, despite an increasingly hectic schedule, when we managed to arrange an interview with Gina. Read on to discover, amongst other things, Gina Zavalis’ musical inspirations, what she’s currently working on and what it’s like living and working in New York City!
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
“To evoke something…a moment, a memory, an experience through my performance so they can walk away with something meaningful”.
Q: What is your musical background?
Wow! I’ve been singing on pitch since the age of 2 ½ years old and singing and training professionally since the age of 10. My training is rooted in opera and musical theatre. I spent many years performing leading roles in NYC and doing Regional Theatre and National Tours of shows. I was encouraged by many to branch out and pursue a solo singing career and write my own music so – here I am!
Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?
Exciting, dynamic, wonderful, very busy and filled with blessings. You’ll be seeing and experiencing a whole new Gina and so far, I’ve received nothing but positive responses! I’ve met wonderful A-List producers, managers, agents, radio promoters, photographers, stylists, the fan base has increased, CD sales have dramatically increased and everything seems to be moving forward. We will premiere the Official Gina Zavalis You Tube Channel and booking more performances. I have an excellent PR company based in LA, LaFamos. I work with Art of the Game on elite bookings, based in Nashville. Last but not least, I have an amazing manager in Scott McReynolds, whom I am very grateful and blessed to have.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
I am old school. I am inspired by the classic singers – Judy Garland, Etta James, Barbra Streisand, Patti LuPone and Ella Fitzgerald. Also inspired by Celine Dion, Yanni, Whitney Houston, Josh Groban, Linda Eder, and Adele. I could go on…
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
I’d have to say anyone who is a seriously trained vocalist. In my opinion that would be Celine Dion, Lara Fabian, Josh Groban, Barbra Streisand, Mario Frangoulis & Linda Eder, Nathan Pacheco, Jon Secada, Mick Hucknall of Simply Red.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
I would love to perform with Yanni, Josh Groban, Nathan Pacheco, Mario Frangoulis, Mick Hucknall, Jon Secada, Celine Dion, and Martin Gore of Depeche Mode. Collaborate with Kara DioGuardi, Linda Perry, David Foster, among many others! Come to think of it, I think Adam Lambert and me would tear the house down!
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
I listen to everything under the stars. Everything from Adele to Steely Dan to Rush to Celine Dion to Duran Duran to Florence and the Machine to Depeche Mode to Beethoven J
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
I can’t just sit down and decide to write. The inspiration must come to me, so I never know when it will hit me. I always have a small notebook with me for this reason. I collaborate with my producer on songs. On the last CD I wrote the lyrics and my producer wrote the music to the songs we wrote. However, on the new CD I will be writing music as well, so I’ll be much more involved. I love the creative process and putting all the puzzle pieces together when creating a song. I especially love figuring out the melody as I am singing it and want to make sure it’s the best it can be. There are a million ways to write it, so it’s fun and challenging at the same time.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
Both. I believe both have to fit together like a perfect puzzle in order to create the effect you want to have when performing it. As an artist, my mission is to make the audience walk away feeling something. In order to do that, the song must be perfectly written so that you can perform it with passion and communicate the meaning of the song to the audience. If both can come together – you can create transformation in the audience, and that’s what they will walk away with and hold with them forever.
Q: Where are you based?
In New York City – the best city in the world!
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. When you are raised in one of the greatest cities in the world, it’s a blessing. When I travel I am able to appreciate New York City more and more upon arriving home. The Big Apple is the best! I haven’t found a city yet that beats it. Growing up here, I came out with a great education in private schools and in attending Fordham University plus I have street sense. So, I can handle myself in a variety of situations. Look out!
Q: What are you currently working on?
What are we not working on? LOL! We are working on launching a Kickstarter fundraising campaign, the launching of the new Official Gina Zavalis website, the Official Gina Zavalis You Tube page, booking performance dates at elite venues, and a brand new CD with producer David Grow who is the producer of Jim Brickman. I am super excited for 2012 & 2013!
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
I’d have to say a few. Recently I was chosen by Clear Channel and iHeartRadio as a “New! Uncover & Discover Artist” and an “Artist to Watch.” The critics are quoted as saying; I’m going to be the next Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Carrie Underwood and the next great American voice. Lastly, it’s always an honor when baseball hall of famer, Tom Seaver quotes on National television, “Wow! Gina Zavalis! That’s the best we’ve heard all year!” I am humbled and feel very blessed by the accolades.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?
I want to have a successful Kickstarter campaign so I can record my new CD the way we really want to and set up a National and European tour.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
I am booked to sing at private parties in New York City, the Hamptons, NY and in Westchester, NY as well as some private parties in elite towns in NJ and CT. I am also in the process of booking charity events that will take place in the fall.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I am an avid reader and a huge fan of the TV show Criminal Minds and British Comedies. I’m also a spa girl. I go to the spa regularly and pamper myself. Sometimes I’ll just take a bubble bath at home, have a great glass of wine and read. The peace and quiet does me good!
Q: Where would your favorite holiday (vacation) be and why?
Italy, Cyprus, Greece, London. I have relatives and friends who live in all those places and would love to explore the art, culture, history and just relax and take in what all the locals do! I am Italian/Greek/German and want to see my family – that would be awesome! Some live in London, so to get an extra trip out of it would be great! Plus, I’d get to see all my friends in London – bonus!
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?
Learn everything you can about the music business and soak up all you can. If you just focus on your music and know nothing about how the music business works, you will find yourself lost and most likely in a lot of debt. Branding and marketing are everything. Learn about that while honing your craft. Remember, you can spend a ton of money and record a killer CD, but who is going to buy it if you don’t have an audience? So, market and brand yourself and keep it consistent. Don’t stop studying. Nobody is perfect and nobody should ever stop practicing and studying. Know your strengths and your weaknesses and embrace them. My PR Firm, LaFamos, has the best tagline “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.” So get out there in every way you can, in the most professional, polished way you can within your budget and present yourself in the best light possible. You must figure out what makes you different from everyone else out there. Make them say “Wow!”
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
I love my cats, I love a strong cup of coffee and vanilla lattes, and I love the music of the 80’s. I love great intellectual conversation and a great formage plate with an amazing glass of fine wine. Best of all, I still take voice lessons with the same teacher I had since I was a child. She is the greatest! I’m a makeup, skincare and beauty product girl – I can tell you about every product on the market from the drugstore to the designer brands! Oh, and I will dominate the AC/Pop/Classical world someday J
Editor’s Note: Gina Zavalis’ vocal oozes technicality, style and sensuality. At Song Revelation we’re looking forward to Gina’s next album with a great deal of anticipation. Definitely one of Song Revelation’s “Artists to Watch”.
If you’d like to learn more about or get in touch wih Gina Zavalis just follow the links below: