Gigi Noche “The Creative Entrepreneur”
The city of Mississauga is filled with a lot of talented artists, and I had the honor of interviewing one of them! This past week I sat down to chat with business owner and Mississauga based artist, Ginella Gonzales, but fans know her as Gigi Noche. Gigi runs her own music lessons throughout Ontario and has been a professional artist since she was 16. After graduating from Cawthra Park Secondary School and Metalworks Institute of Sound and Production, Gigi decided to turn her dreams into reality. She’s experienced in more than four instruments and has played with multiple bands across the GTA. She prides herself of being an advocate for plus size models and loves to support local businesses. When you meet her, it’s like the entire room fills up with good vibes. We sat down to chat about her artistry, her Latin roots and her love for music. Take a look!
Q: Hey Gigi! Thanks for sitting down with me today, I’m curious to know, what inspired your stage name?
A: Well, my birth name is pretty unique, having grown up in a Cuban and Latin community, everyone knew me as Ginella. I wanted to disguise my work under Gigi Noche and keep it away from my family (laughter). I just wanted to post mature content that came from the heart. What truly inspired the name, I wanted to have something that described me. One thing I have always been, is a night owl, I’ve been like that ever since I was in the womb (laughter). My mom used to say I would keep her up all night just kicking inside her belly. Gigi De La Noche was going to be my original stage name, which means Gigi of the night in Spanish, but I shorten it to just Gigi Noche.
Q: What does music mean to you?
A: Wow, that’s a big question. Music to me means the world to me, from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed, I’m always thinking and dreaming about being a performer. It is both an essential and non essential at the same time.
Music to me is one of the elements; fire, wind, earth and water. An element that you can’t smell, taste or touch but you can feel the vibrations.
Q: What inspired you to create music?
A: That has changed over the time. When I first came to Canada at the age of 8, I used to love to listen to EVERY pop song on the radio. At the time, I barely knew any English but that music inspired me to sing. When I got older, I got more into classic rock. My goal was to make an amazing classic rock album with a band and be this crazy female rocker and that was the dream. That inspired me, artist like; Jimi Hendrix, Led Zepplin, The Beatles. But as time went on, I realized that rock roll hadn’t accomplished it’s goal, which was to change the world.
I started to notice certain things didn’t get resolved by rock, there’s still racism in the US and separatism among the rock fandom. I fell out love with rock so to speak, it wasn’t the spirit that fueled my fire. So I took a different path and started to get into R&B music. I trained myself to sing in that style thanks to studying Mariah Cary and Whitney Houston’s work, they helped a lot. Now what fuels me to make music is song writing. Making songs that a large group can relate to and find catchy while still not being predictable. I think that’s hardest challenge, when it comes to crafting songs, I want to make sure I do it right. I don’t like to rush into it, I want to have music that is able to transcend generations.
Q: Now, I know you run your own music lessons, what is the biggest struggle you see often with young artist?
A: There used to be a struggle with me amalgamating and getting on their level. Kids are so hard to predict, they like a lot of genres. I mostly teach pop but my students will find music that I don’t think have the greatest song writing. But they’re so into, so I got to get on their level and find that excitement in order to teach them the song. A lot of my students will come in with a song already in mind, I can’t tell them, “Hey, I want you to learn Whitney Houston because I think your voice is going to improve from that”, no, I can’t do that, I got to rope them in slowly. So if they want to learn Bellie Elisih songs, I may not think it’s a great starting point to help them grow their voice but I know I have to work with them. So, we’ll do a few Billie Elisih songs and warm them up into expressing themselves. But as time goes on, we will create a system where we can implement their favorite songs and my fundamental selections.
Q: It seems more artist today are always doing something. How do you jungle your life as a business owner and artist?
A: It’s challenging coming from an immigrant background, of course not all artist who have found success did or did not come from difficult backgrounds. Some of my peers that I worked with in college had the financial support to live at home and be able to work on their music but for me I’ve never had that luxury. Early in my life, my mother was diagnosed with clinical depression, so when we moved out together to find an apartment, I had to be the head of the family.
I’ve always tried to live by on my own means, coming from a family where we had no savings and both your parents live in a country where they can barely speak the language. It’s been hard, to make enough money to pay yours bills and still be able to put aside to pay for your music career. Things like putting together music video together can cost between $300-$5000, recording cost, camera gear, lighting gear. The money ads up quick, and what ends up happening is that I’m trying to survive but the music ends up being put off. But now, I’m finding a change in pace, and I’m happy to be grinding.
Q: You’re currently working on developing your first EP, what is driving your creation. And what has been the biggest challenge at this point.
A: I’m working with Kenta Aoki, phenomenal producer. He does a lot of background music work on commercials, companies like Mazda, McDonald’s and Tim Horton’s just to name a few.
From the beginning, our biggest focus has been to create music that can compete in today’s pop market.
We want to make songs that are popular, catchy enough to grab attention but make you stay because of my unique voice. My voice is right in between raspy and angelic, it’s little odd but it works. We just want to make quality music that is worth putting the time and effort into. We’ve been working on this for a few years now and the tough thing is we have witness a few genres go by. Trap music is huge at the moment, a lot of genres like pop, and even country has a touch of trap in it to catch the attention of today’s crowd. So we’re testing different sounds which has been fun. We are also trying to see if maybe we can incorporate some of my Cuban Latin essence in to my music but that will take some time. I love to craft good music, and tasty melodies. Not just nonsense, but the lyrics got to be able to draw you in.
We have this one song that is about a kid dealing with drugs, another about depression and more along those lines. The one interesting thing I have found is I’m not the greatest lyricist. This might be because I grew up speaking Spanish and having to teach myself to learn English through media and books. So when I write, it makes sense to me but when someone who has spoken English for their entire life looks it over, it doesn’t make much grammatical sense. The learning process has humbled me a lot in a great way, my producer helps me a lot with the frame work but I also discovered that my melodies is my greatest strength. You got to have both to make great songs but I’m working on it.
Q: How has growing up in Mississauga shaped you as an artist?
A: Wow, great question (laugher). Mississauga is the best place to grow up, you got a little bit of everything, it’s a cultural melting pot. And being close to Toronto has a huge influenced on the area. The sound that comes from Toronto has influenced how some artist in the United States produce trap music. Drakes OVO label has influenced not just rappers but also singers. So you got Mississauga right in the middle, soaking up the urban vibe from Toronto. But just a little west from us, you have Oakville and Hamilton. Those areas are big on classic rock, EDM and Hamilton has a lot of heavy metal fans. So I was exposed to all sorts of music, my friends introduced me to a lot. When I do busking, I sing many genres because most of the crowds I play for have been exposed to a lot.
Q: What impression are you wanting to leave with those who listen to your music?
A: I want listeners to be able to turn around and be like, “woah, I’ve never had that voice before. Where does she come from and what is she about.” Make them feel connected, though I’m still working on voice, I want my lyrics to be super meaningful as time goes on.
Q: What would be a goal you would like to accomplish within the next 5 years?
A: Looking forward to having two major releases, a lot of Spanish content on the second release. I know a lot of artist like to put out a lot of content in short amount of time but I want to pace myself accordingly. Have my name be known locally first and then have my music trend on Spotify or Apple music. There’s a lot of talent in the area, so I like to keep my self humble and set realistic goals.
Q: Who would you love to collaborate with?
A: I would love to collaborate with Jojo, that would be crazy. (Laughter), I love that girl so much. I would love to collaborate with The Weekend and a local Toronto artist, Provo.
Q: Words of advice you would like to give to future artist?
A: Number one, if you have parents, try to respect them because their support will be huge. In the music industry right now, you have to promote yourself and it can be costly. Record labels used to spend money on branding on you. But now, they want you come to them already made with thousands of fans, and exposure. So if you are able to still live at home, and just funnel your money into your music career, it would help a lot. And lastly, just humble yourself, know you ain’t it. For every rapper, there are 100 rappers in the area. For every singer, there are twice as many. We are all trying to climb up this ladder, every time someone falls off the ladder, we can move up a little. So be humble and grind.
Like and follow Gigi Noche on her social media links to keep up to date with her career.