Posted On 10 Apr 2017
“Every artist wants to be undeniable. I drive myself crazy with that. There’s an invisible fire lit underneath me that makes me push myself, because I know I have competition. I hate the words ‘that’s fine’ or ’that’ll do’ I want to blow people away, and I won’t stop until I get there,” says 20 year old Gigi Rich.
Her debut EP All In My Head represents the evolution of a young woman on her journey to be that undeniable force as a vocalist, performer, and songwriter. Her upcoming single is titled “Same Kind of Crazy.”
“My first single is Same Kind Of Crazy. At the time I wrote this, I was feeling like I was going mad and didn’t know where my life was taking me. This guy pops up and understands where I was mentally, because he’s the same way. He would say we had the same kind of crazy. I cowrote this song with Stefan Skarbek and it was produced by James Krausse. They are both extremely talented and I’m really proud of it.”
Born Gianna Richelle Salvato, the fiery redhead now known as Gigi Rich grew up listening to Alicia Keys and Amy Winehouse as a quiet, shy Jersey girl who spent time watching old movies, reading Madame Bovary and Lolita, and playing in her big sister’s makeup.
The then-Gianna Salvato growing up in Freehold, New Jersey wrote her first song at age 13 which went on to top the Songwriter’s Circle charts for several months. Building on this success, she won Amateur Night at The Apollo Theater and was also selected by Bill Seidman to participate in the BMI sponsored professional songwriters workshop. As a true testament of her ambition, she graduated high school at age 16, has attended classes at Juilliard, and is taking online courses at Berklee College of Music, all while maintaining a busy rehearsal, performance and writing schedule.
Gigi has already faced her share of life experiences even at a young age. Though still difficult to talk about, overcoming the loss of her older sister at the young age of 8, has greatly shaped her life. This unthinkable experience made her a stronger, more thoughtful person with poise and maturity beyond her years and pushed her to focus on music.
“I don’t write about anything that I haven’t personally experienced. I want people to read my lyrics and know me, to not only listen to my music, but to feel it. It’s very important for people to understand my music, because all of my favorite artists are the people I can relate to.”
While her lyrics are influenced through personal experiences, her music style is influenced by iconic artists such as James Brown, Amy Winehouse, Frank Sinatra and Alicia Keys. Always striving to work on her craft and learn from those around her, Gigi has collaborated with some of Los Angeles and Nashville’s leading songwriters, including: Mikal Blue, Nikki Flores, Natalie Hemby, Jeff Cohen and Jason Reeves. These profound experiences have undoubtedly helped her to further develop her own unique style and sound.
In 2014, she continued her journey by taking her talents to national television, appearing on season seven of NBC’s The Voice. She ultimately landed a coveted spot on Team Gwen where Gwen Stefani was her musical mentor. This incredible experience, as well as working with Gwen, taught her a great deal about having a commanding stage presence.
In addition to performing, Gigi Rich continues to collaborate with esteemed writers and producers and has worked with Anthony Saunders, Stefan Skarbek and James Krausse on her debut EP, set for release this spring.
Learn more about Gigi Rich in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What are some words you would use to describe 2016? What were some of the highlights for you and your music? What are you most excited about for 2017?
2016 was an amazing year. I made some new music, I wrote with a lot of really awesome people. I got to travel and connect with some great friends 🙂 The highlight of my year was filming my first music video. It’s exciting to think about how everything is slowly come together after years of working so hard at it. I’m so excited for 2017! After this release, I can’t wait to do some shows and start on my next project!
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your first musical memory?
I did always want to be a musician growing up. My first musical memory was probably watching my older sister play the piano when I was about 4 or 5. I would sit next to her and watch her play Fur Elise. I begged my parents for lessons…that’s what started everything 🙂
I’m curious to know what you learned from being on The Voice? Would you do it all over again if you could? Would you do anything differently? What was it like being coached by Gwen Stefani? What was your favorite performance on the show?
Being on The Voice was an amazing experience. I definitely learned a lot about myself and about performing in general. I would absolutely do it all over again…being thrown into the lion’s den is nerve-wracking but there is no better way to learn your craft and overcome doubts and fears. Gwen Stefani was amazing to work with and she gave some awesome advice on being yourself on stage and not letting nerves get the best of you. My favorite performance was when I sang Glitter In The Air by Pink for my blind audition! And believe it or not, even though I loved singing that song, I may have chosen a different one based on what I know now and how the process works.
Why did you decide to be known as Gigi Rich now instead of Gianna Salvato?
I just grew up and evolved so much from when I started so many years ago. The music released under Gianna Salvato is not at all who I am as an artist right now. I had a completely different look and vibe. As I get older and more comfortable with myself, I just felt like I needed the change. Rich is actually just the first 4 letters of my middle name, Richelle.
When do you plan on releasing your debut EP, “All In My Head”? What was the inspiration for these songs? Can you talk about how your first single “Same Kind Of Love”?
I’m releasing my EP on March 31st. I had a lot of inspiration for these songs. It’s very personal and reflects different moments in my life that affected me in some significant way. So, I thought calling it All In My Head would be perfect. Now that I think about it, each song is about a different person that entered my life and impacted me. They helped make me who I am today.
My first single, Same Kind Of Crazy, actually came about when someone I was speaking with made an interesting comment and it stuck in my head. I then brought that idea into a writing session with Stefan Skarbek, and we co-wrote the song together in LA. It was a really fun process. It can be tough collaborating at times, but everyone that I worked with on this song totally understood my vibe, so I’m very proud of it.
What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I have so many artists that have and still inspire me. Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys, Lady GaGa, Christina Aguilera, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Al Green, James Brown, Bruno Mars, Earth Wind & Fire, Queen…I could go on for days. I am drawn to and love old school funk music and modern pop.
I would LOVE to work with Bruno Mars. He is so very talented and it would be awesome to hang out in the studio with him and see how he works. I’ve been following his career since he first started.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? What do you hope is the message of your songs?
I just hope they are inspired by my music as much as the artists I love have inspired me. My message is that life can be insane at times, but I hope whether they are looking for happiness or just something to relate to, my music will be there for them.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself and your music?
Whether its weekly piano lessons, writing music, recording or performing at various venues, I have and will continue to work hard to be the very best artist I can be. I know hard work pays off. I have so much passion for music and hope that my commitment and intensity is reflected in the songs I write and the music I create. It is also so important to be true to oneself and to embrace it….because that’s what makes us all unique in our own way.