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Gigi Rich Finds Her Own Voice Beyond ‘The Voice': PopCrush Presents

Gigi Rich PopCrush Presents
Emily Tan

Gigi Rich may not have walked away with The Voice crown during its seventh season, but that won’t stop her from reaching her dreams.

Raised in Freehold, N.J. and currently based in New York City, the 21-year-old singer has been honing her craft since she was a little girl. From penning songs to sharing covers on YouTube, Gigi — born Gianna Salvato — had an opportunity to try out for the NBC singing competition in 2014. After being mentored by Gwen Stefani, she continued to work with other producers and writers, releasing her All in My Head EP in April.

PopCrush caught up with the rising star and learned more about her musical journey.

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You wrote your first song at 11. What’s that song about and will that ever make it onto an album?

Well actually that was the first demo I ever recorded, and I ended up posting it on YouTube. I think it’s still up there now. It was actually about my sister. I wrote it and then put it away for a few months. When you’re a kid you just not thinking things like, “Oh, I can turn this into a song.” I was curious and ended playing with it. The piano is me, too. If you listen to the demo on YouTube, it’s very simple. Yeah, that’s how I wrote my first song.

Now moving forward a few years, you joined the seventh season of The Voice. When did you decide that music was what you wanted to pursue?

So I recorded that first song. It was called “Believe Me.” After that, I actually sent it out to a few labels, and I got response back. So I had that meeting. I walked into the office and just remember being amazed by the pictures of all the artists that the label represented on the walls. There was a piano in the lobby, and I sat there and played for almost the whole label. After I walked out of that meeting, I felt, “OK, I really have a chance with this. I could do this with my life.” And that kind of inspired me to dig a little deeper into songwriting, and I was always interested in poetry. So I kind of started writing poetry and then went into songs.

So why The Voice?

That actually came after. I was writing my own stuff and starting to collaborate with people, and I was working on my first EP. And people from the show found a YouTube video of mine and reached out to me. So I went in, and I sang a bunch of songs. It’s actually a really long process. I never realized. At that point, I latched onto it and wanted to use it for exposure. I’m not trying to win. I just feel like it would be a really great opportunity. My EP was ready before I even went on that show.

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So you ended up on Team Gwen. Was there anything that you learned from being on her team and on the show?

I learned a lot about my stage presence. For me, the artistry part has always come easier, and sharing that and sharing with other people has always been difficult for me. But she really sat us down and spoke about not caring if you look stupid, “because there’s tons of videos of me where in that moment, I’m thinking, ‘What am I doing?'” You can’t worry if you look stupid because you’re not going to perform to the best of your ability. Just have fun. Sometimes I’m too serious about my music, and she taught me how to let loose a little bit.

What’s the “Same Kind of Crazy” video about?

You can interpret the song in any way, but personally, it’s about this guy I was really into. And he actually joked around and said, “Oh, we have the same kind of crazy.” That’s where I got the title from, and I worked my way around it. Then I took it to this writing session, and we made the song in two days. So it just came out really quickly.

And I decided to do the video as a celebration of a breakup because a guy you’re into can drive you crazy. But then when it’s over, you see who he really is and think, “Oh yeah, it’s good I dodged a bullet.” So that’s what I wanted the video to be about. That’s why I’m partying with the girl [in the video]. She’s actually my cousin. I begged her to be in it. So that’s what the premise of the video is.

Dream collaboration?

Bruno Mars. I love old school music. It’s influenced in all of my music, and he’s got that same thing going for him. He’s like a blast from the past. I would love that. I would love to collaborate with him.

Speaking of old school, your voice has that distinct warm tone that you hear in a lot of older music. Where did that come from?

Honestly, it’s a product of the music I listened to growing up. I don’t know why I always gravitated towards that kind of music. My mom would jam out to Rolling Stones a lot, and I love The Rolling Stones. Don’t get me wrong. But every time Al Green was put on or Earth Wind and Fire, I just gravitated towards that. And I only listen to that type of music really, growing up. And I guess you are who surround yourself with. I surrounded myself with only that type of music so I just ended up singing like it.

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