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Doing It All ‘Like a Renaissance Woman’

GALA Promo Image

Gala, the pop singer from Milan talks about why her career is, in itself, an act of feminism


By Karen Houston

GALA — Illustration by Andrew Craft

GALA — Illustration by Andrew Craft

I met with Gala at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn where we talked about her life and her pursuit of various art forms, the driving force of her independence, and her belief that everyone’s sexuality is fluid.

Both of Gala’s parents were artists—her mom, a painter, and her dad, a furniture designer. She earned a bachelor’s in photography because “it was the world [she] knew, growing up with two visual people.” Gala pursued photography in a recreational and an academic capacity, but she knew it wasn’t her passion. What Gala truly loved was dance, which she had to stop practicing at the age of 14 because of the toll it took on her body. Gala explained that previously, she had experienced mourning for family members, but that it didn’t compare to the mourning she experienced when she could no longer seriously pursue dance. Gala “used photography to get into the life of music and dance.” She photographed dancers while also wishing to be on the other side of the lens.

Gala photographed the club scene in New York, which she says used to be “darker and edgier.” She mentions the Tunnel, a nightclub that had the first mixed bathroom as opposed to separate bathrooms for women and men. The gay scene was newer, she says, and “dance music at the time was like doing punk for me.” It wasn’t mass-produced for pop stars with entire support teams.

“Producing your own music is like making a special lemonade at home—your friends love it—and then you try to compete with Coca-Cola. It’s impossible,” says Gala.

She once released a song online that she spent a little over a year writing. The first comment was, “Not bad. When is the next one?” She says that, “putting an album out is like throwing a little rock in the ocean.”

While explaining where her inspiration comes from, she says, “It’s so hard to get into the hearts of millions of people. What drives me is if I wrote a song and people are still singing it.” Gala admires women who write their own material.

“Kathleen Hanna, Tracy Chapman, Patti Smith—those are the girls that inspire me,” says Gala.

We had to talk about sexuality at some point, right? Gala describes sexuality as fluid for herself—and potentially for everyone. She asks me if I think men would think being romantically, sexually, or otherwise attracted to other men was wrong if they weren’t culturally conditioned to think so.

“I think everyone’s sexuality is fluid and that they don’t even realize when it happens, but that they impose upon themselves what they can and cannot do,” she says.

When she was growing up in Italy, according to Gala, there wasn’t an identifiable LGBT community: “This is why I loved the clubs. That was exactly that community to me. That’s why I love the night because that is when people transform into who they really are. The night was the community.”

Recently, Gala released a video online about gay bashing and homophobia. When asked why she chose to speak out, she replied with the point that those who aren’t the direct targets of discrimination are the ones who need to speak up about it: “It’s interesting that everyone thinks I’m a lesbian. This is the point. Just like men should stand up and talk about feminist issues, people who are not gay should stand up and talk about equality.”

Gala is currently living in Brooklyn where she manages her own company, Matriarchy Records.

“I make music because at this age as a woman if you are not Madonna or Cher, it’s very hard to get signed; record labels are not interested in a woman in her 40s,” says Gala. “You have to look pretty and be young. To be a woman, not a girl, a woman, making pop music, is, in itself a feminist statement. It would be easier to grow older in alternative rock, but I am an independent woman in pop.”

Gala will continue writing her own lyrics and melodies, singing, running Matriarchy Records, and making a statement about being a woman in pop because, she remembers, “As a kid, my father brought me to Venice to visit houses of Renaissance artists, houses still in tact with a violin in one corner and painting in another corner. I want to do it all like a Renaissance woman. I want to have fun in my life, and to do that I want to do it all.

For more information on Gala and her music, visit http://www.galasound.com/main/.

Gala – Taste of Me [Official Video] from Gala on Vimeo.






Ebone Bell
Eboné Bell
Eboné is the Editor-in-Chief of Tagg Magazine. She is the illegitimate child of Oprah and Ellen...so it's only right that she continues their legacy in the media world.