Riggi Media

gillian photo 2 copyWhat sparked your interest in pursuing a career in music, and what was your journey to becoming a musician or band like?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been singing to the top of my lungs in the backseat of the car and in the shower thinking that nobody could hear me over how loud the speakers were. I used to be so scared of singing in front of audiences and I still do get nervous, but it is my passion and I love to do it. My journey has been anything but a straight arrow which is what has made it so fun to get to where I am today. I started out wanting to be a country singer, then moved to a Broadway star back to writing music from my heart and truly just enjoying being able to share my gift with the world every day.

Who are some of the musicians or musical acts that have had the most significant impact on your work and your sound?
Some musicians that have had the most impact on my work, my sound in the artist who I am today are from many different genres. These artists have inspired me in many different ways from giving it my all, their creativity, writing from the heart, not being ashamed of who I am for all of my quirks, silliness and emotions, and just being my true authentic self when it comes to my music. Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Morgan Wallen, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Doja Cat, Ariana Grande, Heart, Céline Dion, Greta Van Fleet, The Band Perry and Freddie Mercury/Queen.

 

Can you describe the progression of your musical style and what sets it apart from others in the industry?
I grew up on a foundation of country music and country music only. Since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a country singer until about the age of 14 when I started working with my vocal teacher Kathy Costa-Rutherford. She introduced me to the beautiful world of musical theatre where I then discovered my niche for show tunes. Mixing them both together has been a wild journey because the technique does not necessarily match. I love to sing with a twang however I also appreciate the importance of enunciation in singing which is where the uniqueness of both comes in with my singing. The great thing about both of them is that they each have so much emotion behind the genre which is what I think I appreciate the most and wanted to incorporate the most. Could you elaborate on the backstory and significance of your artist or band name? When Walter and Rob and I sat down in the studio to discuss my artist name, I wanted very badly to keep Gillian because that name is already unique to me since it starts with a G. I had also very heavily considered just going by my middle name Santina because that is also unique and not very many people know that name, ultimately, we went with Gillian Marshall which is my original name. I think it was just meant to be!

How do you typically approach the songwriting process, and what role does collaboration play in your work?
Collaboration is extremely important in the songwriting process. It is a very vulnerable thing to sing right and open up to somebody else. The raw emotion that songwriting stems from is very personal because a lot of the time it comes from personal experience. My favourite process for songwriting is taking something that you’ve gone through and turning it into a song that other people can relate to. Being able to inspire others is one of the world’s greatest gifts. For the collaboration portion my sister Angelina is the best person to write music with. If I have something in my head that I come up with and I can’t find a way to get it into music, my sister will sit on the piano with me for hours plunking notes and chords until it is just right.

Can you share with us a particularly meaningful or personal song in your discography, and what inspired it?
When Walter and Rob first showed me the songs I immediately connected with Until I Loved You. Not only is the beat super fun and makes you want to get up and dance, it puts a smile on my face right away. There was someone from my past that I was reconnecting with and hearing this song made my heart feel completely on fire. This person made it so easy for me to make the lyrics my own and truly sing from the heart.

Could you discuss the evolution of your live shows and performances, and what you aim to convey through them?
Life performance is my favourite way to perform. Having a background in musical theatre with a bachelor of arts degree in theatre from Wayne State University, I feel as though I perform best in front of an audience. The energy that the audience conveys gives power and motivation. Ultimately, God has given me a gift, and there is an incredible opportunity that I have to be able to share that gift with each and every person. Whether it be that the songs inspire you, having the confidence to get up on stage and sing in front of a group of people inspires you to take the lyrics and relating them to your own personal journey and experiences, whatever it may be being able to share my gift with others is what I hope to convey the most in my performances.

Can you recall any memorable or unique experiences you have had while touring or performing?
I’ve had the incredible opportunity to perform live in many different aspects including musical theatre performances, straight play performances, on stage in competitions, and on stage just for fun. My most memorable and unique performances have to be when I had the opportunity to sing with my cousin Jacob while he played the guitar for me in the season five competition of Raise Your Voice. Every week we would get together after they announced the next week’s theme and we would go through every song imaginable to pick out the perfect one for us to play together. This made our relationship so strong and made us better performers.

What is your perspective on the current state of the music industry, and how do you see it evolving in the future?
I think it is very interesting the current state of the music industry. It has already evolved so much in the last five years I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like in the next 10 to 20 years from now. It is very interesting to see how somebody can become famous overnight From a TikTok or an Instagram video. I think what separates an individual from another is your hard work revolving around what you are passionate about. You could be the most talented person in the room, but what separates you from others is how hard you work and how determined you are to make yourself successful.

Can you speak to the role that activism, social justice or charity play in your music and career?
Activism, social justice, and charity play a huge role in my music and my career. One of my favourite projects that I have ever worked on was the social justice play named a girl like me that was performed for the greater Essex County District school board. This play was performed for a number of students across the school board about bullying, mental health, and LGBTQ social justice issues. I would love to one day bring this playback to life and have it performed across Canada to bring even more awareness to the issues that this play highlighted. The children of today’s society are our future and the more educated they are about things that are going on in our society The better we have to create solutions to these types of things.

How has your hometown or region shaped your musical identity, and what elements of it do you attempt to incorporate into your work?
Being from Belle River, I feel like I am the definition of a small-town girl. Living out here, I feel like a lot of people do listen to country music. I would love to write a song about the small town I grew up in one day just the same as many artists have already like Kelly Clarkson and Morgan Wallen. How much I love my parents and family, and how everyone has inspired me to be successful on this journey.

Could you share any exciting new projects or collaborations you have in the works?
I recently have been playing with Chad at different places around the city of Windsor. Our next upcoming gig is at On A Roll sushi and sliders on March 23rd 9 PM to 1 AM. Chad has been so awesome to work with and he has inspired me to continue writing and has expanded my music genres as well. My sister Angelina, Chad and I have also been working on writing some music which we hope to produce and share as soon as possible.

Apple Music: Gillian Marshall
Instagram: @gillianmarshall__
Spotify: Gillian Marshall
YouTube: @gillian.s.marshall
TikTok: @gillianmarshall__

 

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