Q&A with Giselle
Singer/songwriter Giselle does it all. From writing music for TV and film to pursuing her own path with her touching new song, "Hazy Eyes" and most recently a few covers on YouTube all the way to her work with Alzheimer’s New Jersey, the past few months have been incredibly busy, and this winter and spring are looking even more exciting. With her video for "Hazy Eyes" out now and even more plans in the works for 2017, this won't be the last time you hear from Giselle.
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself for anyone who may not be familiar?
I'm a singer/songwriter from Miami, FL, currently living in NYC. I have written music for TV and film, most notably for Louis C.K.'s LOUIE on FX Networks. A little over a year ago I started writing my own music and producing music videos.
What first drew you to music? When was it that you knew it was something that you wanted to pursue?
I have always been drawn to music, but I think growing up being a part of so many after school music programs reinforced my passion. I knew in elementary school that I wanted to attend a certain performing arts high school that I wasn't zoned for. I got up at 5:30am every morning so that I could make it on time for class. As a kid I would do anything to make music my life and that has carried on to today.
You just recently released the music video for your song, “Hazy Eyes,” and I understand that the song and video hold a very special place in your heart. Can you tell us a about the inspiration behind the song?
My grandmother, who I lived with until I moved out, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I wrote the song while she was still alive and I was living in New York. It was very painful to see her progressively disappear each time I came back to see her. She passed away this summer. Alzheimer's impacts so many people and I feel like "caregivers" sometimes have a difficult time admitting that they are scared. I also developed a lot of regrets. "Hazy Eyes" was written about the pain and regret that so many of us feel as we watch our loved ones disappear.
Both the song and the video were recorded in one take. Why was it important to you for it to have that raw, imperfect quality about it?
I wanted to sing it in a raw way and I think that shows, but my producer, Adam Tilzer, pushed me to do it in one take. I didn't think I could without completely breaking down. When I wrote the song I was on my bed sobbing trying to finish as quickly as I could. It just made sense to do the video that way as well and Mason made sure we got the take.
You’re also very involved with Alzheimer’s New Jersey. What has been the most rewarding part about volunteering?
Hearing other people's stories and knowing that others are struggling with it in similar ways. I find myself hugging people a little longer now.
How could someone get involved with Alzheimer’s New Jersey or raise awareness in their own state?
There are many grassroots organizations that do wonderful work and it's really nothing more than a quick google search to find them near you. As far as getting involved, these organizations always need volunteers, donations, and help raising awareness.
With “Hazy Eyes” out now, do you have any plans to release more new music any time soon?
We are working on it. I wish I could record all of the new songs now. I have been releasing live versions of new songs on YouTube. It's coming.
Do you have any big plans or goals for 2017?
I do. I just had a meeting with the team about our next project. Winter is going to be busy for us, but expect a lot in the spring. My YouTube (YouTube.com/GiselleMusic) page will be very active over the next few months.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes, Adam and I have been doing a new thing that's been fun. When we are both in town and a new artist releases their latest album, we have picked our favorite song off the album and covered it. We release it within 24-48 hours. We just started, but we have covers from Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys so far.