Written by Sophie Wyatt
Flourishing Curacao-born Gianni Mae is continuing to bring her music as diverse as her soul. An artist who can really translate their own ora into their music is something to be admired, and that is just what Gianni does. Growing up in the Caribbean, Gianni always works with her culture in mind, and through this inspiration and her own musical talents, we are met with what can only be described as magic. We caught up with Gianni to discuss being a Woman of Colour in a predominantly white-male industry, her ever developing music and her bright and beaming future.
Of course, we had to start at the beginning. Gianni’s unique sound meant that she must have been surrounded by music throughout her childhood and adolescence. She explained that her first memories of music growing up stay with her very clearly, and that she knew from a very young age that music was always going to lead her down a path toward the rest of her future.
‘As a Caribbean person you can’t be neutral to music. Our life is surrounded by rhythm and sound. I would say every Caribbean person is a hidden artist, either we sing, dance, compose, you name it. I’m very blessed to have grown up with so much musical influence around me. For example, I can clearly remember those epic car rides as a kid in the backseat in my own world, listening to my parents favourite 60s and 70s pop artists. Hearing them sing along and truly enjoy the moment. We also have a lot of musicians in the family and I remember seeing them perform live and feeling their passion for music. I guess from an early age I was already soaking up all the musicality and sounds around me.
I’ve always known deep down that I wanted to lead an unconventional lifestyle and that I wanted to create. One thing I tell myself is, if you don’t know why you are doing something, you have to challenge yourself and be truly honest with yourself in order to figure out your ‘why’. Once you know that, you can achieve anything you set your mind on. I’m more confident than ever about my music and career. I know that this path is the one I want to live. I am an artist.’
While the music industry is forever growing and developing, we are far from reaching race or gender equality. However, artists like Gianni are helping to pave the way for a more equal future for women and people of colour within the music industry. We went on to ask what obstacles Gianni faced entering the industry and how she overcame them to become the artist she is now.
‘A lot of things can be obstacles within a journey to achieve your goals. I decided for myself to put the focus on my creative process and my craft. I know my business and I put a lot of creative passion and energy into my work. This opens doors for me regardless of what outside perceptions are of me. And along the way I meet people from different backgrounds who share the same values I have. From there we can only grow and elevate.’
Gianni’s music takes her listeners beyond the realms of sound and into a journey of her culture and soul. Her tracks explore tones of Afro-Caribbean-pop, dancehall and hip-hop to name just a few. So to confine it to just one genre would not do it justice in any way, shape or form. When asked to describe her music outside the constraints of ‘genre’, Gianni said ‘My music is diverse like my spirit.’ It is clear from her music and general personality, that Gianni knows who she is, where she comes from, and wants to incorporate her world into the world of music. She went on to speak on how her culture inspires her.
‘My culture inspires me in everything I do. It’s a melange of different influences, that you can feel in my sounds, my imagery and my way of being and communicating. This is why my music is so diverse, because it stems from my heritage. We Caribbeans have many different backgrounds and cultures that over time have melted together and gave birth to the mystical allure of the region. As Black people, I love the sense of community we have within Black culture, it’s very welcoming and warm. I love that we share this unique spirit and livelihood with all our brothers and sisters of African heritage all around the world. I think there are so many points where we can connect even more and bring our cultures together. So I look forward to future collaborations and working with artists from different backgrounds.’
Finally Gianni Mae looked towards her future and the future of her music. Aside from her upcoming project (which we cannot wait for!) Gianni, like many other artists can’t wait to get back to performing live to her growing fan base.
‘The future looks bright and exciting. This year a lot is going to come alive, I am excited to bring my visions to reality – shoutout to my great team for their passion and energy! ‘Love Me Long’ is the first release of my project ‘Tales of a Bad Gyal’, which is a concept body of work, with a new chapter unveiled every month. The second chapter, ‘Hungry Eyes’ has an undeniable rhythm that will have every listener moving. Stay tuned for more.’