MJ here with Hip Hop Hook! Tonight I need to share the story of an astonishing and heart-stopping talented young lady! I came across a video of a high school talent show and immediately every element of my being and soul became elevated. Gigi Marie is a 15-year old high school student and lyricist from south Jersey with the culminating ability to deliver raw yet heartfelt and profound lyrics through her tenacious voice!
MJ: Gigi, let me start this interview first and foremost by saying thank you! At age 15 thank you for investing in your family, investing in your education, and investing in positive outlets that can only manifest change in what feels like a disoriented world. Even our youth can be role models for adults! Please take us on that stage with you the night of the talent show. What impelled you to raise the bar, and to bring to light such sensitive, swept under the rug topics as suicide, addiction, and lives lost?
Gigi: First I want to start off by saying thank you for taking your time to interview me. I know you are a very busy woman but the fact that you took the time to interview me means so much! I lost many people to those topics, so it’s very important to me. So many people have dealt and deal with these topics every day, but most don’t know how to talk about it. They don’t completely understand how to cope with it or talk about their thoughts while dealing with it.
MJ: Unfortunately, you have experienced the loss of loved ones from addiction and suicide. Can you tell us the impact that had on you at such a young age?
Gigi: My cousin Dean committed suicide in 2013. He was one of my best friends and was more like a brother then cousin. Also my grandmother Net and uncle Mike (dad’s mom and brother) died months apart from each other. We lost them to addiction. It was extremely hard for me. I felt like I had to stay strong, and music was a release to escape the hardest times.
MJ: There is a tremendous amount of pressure put on teenagers in terms of conformity, experimentation, defiance, etc. What or who do you credit to staying grounded and focused?
Gigi: I credit my parents for keeping me grounded. My mom and dad always told me to stay true to myself. They told me never to change for anyone, and if someone wanted me to change, they weren’t healthy to be around.
MJ: Let’s talk music! Now we know it’s in the genes, but that doesn’t equate to you crafting your talent, that part is a choice. When did you fall in love with music? Tell us about the moment you declared to pursue music?
Gigi: I have been in love with music since before I can remember. When I was about 3 years old my uncle decided to help me play the piano. Since then it’s been a huge part of my life. My father has also rapped since he was 16, so that also provided musical experience into the Hip Hop culture. I saw how people acted and how people had this image that was shown towards the public. I declared to pursue music when my uncle passed. My uncle always said he saw big things for me. He wanted me to be successful and he helped me get through things that I didn’t think I could get through. I was determined to prove that and make him proud.
MJ: Why Hip Hop? Is it a fascination with the culture? Is it the transformation of words to a cadence and rhythmic flow of lyrics? Is it being mesmerized by your father’s career? I could go on and on, but I’m eager for your response.
Gigi: Honestly Hip Hop is so diverse and incredible. It’s all different and not one song has the same message. Not everyone has the same flow, and not everyone has the same word choice. My father has always made sure that I got things right. He made sure that I perfected my breath control, and my flow. He made me feel like if it really meant something to me, to stick by it and keep going, and keep perfecting it.
MJ: How old were you when you laid down your very first track? Tell us the array of emotions that flooded you when you heard the mastered product! Has it been an adrenaline rush since then?
Gigi: I can’t remember how old I was but it was so exciting. I’m pretty sure I was about 13. It was difficult, I won’t lie. I had to make sure I had to perfect the 4 count. I had to make sure I could control my breath. I finished and listened, and it was such a rush. Hearing my voice over a beat was so cool to me, and it made me feel like I’m finally doing something I love.
MJ: Talk about your relationship with your parents and family. I know they are encouraging and very supportive of your choice to pursue music. How involved are they? Tell us some challenges of having business and family under the same roof. What are some of the perks?
Gigi: They are involved in pretty much everything. They want to make sure that I have stuff sorted out. They want to make sure I can talk to them if something ever goes wrong. The perks are simple, we all relate to one another and if we need to talk, we have each other. We hold each other down, and call each other out on things.
MJ: Who would you consider to be role models in your life, both personally and musically?
Gigi: My role models are my mom, my dad, my grand mom, and of course, Eminem. My mom and dad have always been there for me, even though I don’t always understand somethings. They help me understand. My grand mom has always been there for me. She’s always there for me when I need her. All I have to do is call her or text her and she answers almost right away. Eminem’s music was just extremely helpful and his words meant a lot to me. His music has gotten me through the rough times.
MJ: Talk about your future goals. When I come back to interview you in a few years, what will we be catching up on?
Gigi: I will be going to college and I want to be successful! I want to make all my years of hard work mean something. People are going to hear my name and know who I am. They will know what I stand for.
MJ: What genres of music do you listen to? Who is in your current playlist? Who are some artists that you would like to share the studio or stage with?
Gigi: Besides my dad and The League I listen to Rock, Alternative, Pop, and of course Hip Hop! I have all sorts of people in my playlist but I would love to rock with Eminem. I’ve always looked up to him. It seemed like I could relate to him, even though I don’t know him personally.
MJ: Before we wrap up, I’m curious to get your standpoint on a few things. What is your opinion on what is categorized today as music by the media and radio? What type of effect on young people do you think it has?
Gigi: It kind of all sounds the same. the messages aren’t the same, but the beats are. It brainwashes younger generations into thinking that’s music. But I want people to hear old music and pay attention to the words and meaning, not just the catchy beat.
MJ: Is there anything else you would like the world to know about Gigi Marie?
Gigi: Everyone needs to know that I am always here if anyone needs help or to talk about something. I will always try and help you get through something, even if I don’t know u or haven’t been through it myself.
MJ: I want to thank you again for exercising your voice and talent in a manner to exert hope and change. Salute!
Gigi: Thank you for the opportunity MJ, it means so much to me and my family!
For more info on Gigi Marie email firstname.lastname@example.org