'The Long Road Taken'
Folks down in South Florida may be hunkering down now that it's hurricane season again, but over the past few years, they've been more in tune with another force of nature that's been rockin' heavy an average of three nights a week at local, tourist-friendly hotspots from Palm Beach To The Keys: Gigi DeNisco.
Playing in a variety of musical settings (solo, duo, trio, full band), the fiery, classic rock influenced singer/songwriter has become a regional institution with her SRO performances (over 150 a year at last count) at clubs like Tobacco Road in Miami, The Island Grill and The Lor-e-lei (Islamorada, in The Keys) and Toucan's in Hollywood Beach. This past May, Gigi and her band played at the world famous Sunfest in West Palm Beach, opening the main stage show for Michael Bolton; the fest's lineup over the four day weekend included Bruce Hornsby, Duncan Sheik and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
It's been a long time coming, but DeNisco — who has long mixed hard hitting original material in with covers of pop songs she grew up with — is breaking the barriers and finally getting her music out beyond her beloved home state. “Before We Start,” the heartfelt mid-tempo rocker and first single from her new indie disc Too Close For Comfort, was released this past spring and peaked at #11 on FMQB's Adult Contemporary chart, receiving loads of airplay everywhere from Maryland, Iowa and Kentucky to Bermuda and Maui.
At what point in your life did you realize music is what you were made to pursue? "As far back as I can remember I’ve enjoyed playing music."
How long have you known Jimmy and when did you meet him "I’ve known Jimmy since 1993. My boyfriend at the time took to see him play at a club in Miami.'
Name your biggest inspiration in life "One of my inspirations was meeting Joni Mitchell as a teenager before I played professionally. We discussed various guitar tunings and she asked me if I was playing anywhere in town.'
You have a good mix between rock and acoustic folk, which do you like performing better live? "I like to play them both equally."
What was it like to play at Sunfest with the likes of Michael Bolton and co.? "It was a great opportunity and I’d love to do it again. I was unable to meet them due to a request for a news interview with NBC, Channel 5 news, right after performing, which was a top story in the evening news. It was a thrill for them to headline me."
How much time do you spend getting to know your fans? What is your craziest fan experience? "Most of my fans I meet at my live shows, so as much as time allows. One of my craziest fan experience’s was when I man crawled across stage to kiss my feet. But there have been many more!"
What is home like to you? "My home is my sanctuary and is very peaceful."
A lot of your songs feel personal, from the soul, are there songs which are difficult to play live because they are emotional issues, or does that enhance your performance? "My personal feelings definitely enhance my performance, I recently lost a ex-boyfriend to cancer, the song I had written for him about our breakup, ”Your Letter”, has been a little hard to perform lately."
If you can meet any musician, live or dead, who would it be?"Since I have already met Joni Mitchell, and I can’t name only one, it would have to be Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Chrissie Hynde, and Nancy Wilson because they have been such inspirations to me."
What are your plans for the future? "We’re planning a tour, and seeking the right record label to bring us to the next level. I’ll never top playing music."
If you could cover any 80’s pop song which one would it be and why? "Aimee Mann and Til Tuesday's 'Coming Up Close,' ... I love that song."
Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins, but do you? "I love all animals, but you can’t help but admire penguins diligence."
Interviewed by Brian J. Hong
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Gigi's new CD, just answer this easy question: Growing up in Miami Shores, Gigi was actually classically trained on which other main instrument before she ditched it and picked up her first guitar around age nine?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before December 1st with your answer and the subject title 'CONTEST: GIGI NeNISCO SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
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