Seven Questions w/ Gia Woods About Pride, Bodysuits and Loving/Hating LA
One look at burgeoning LA singer Gia Woods, and you can’t help but think, “I wish she was my dentist.” Well, maybe not really – but she did in fact give up dentistry for music as a teenager. She then came out to her very traditional Persian family via the song ‘Only A Girl’ (“Dark eyes, pink lips / Now my heart is racing / Hot fingertips, don’t know what I’m facing / Everything is new to me, I like what you do to me”), which went on to wrack up more than eleven million views on YouTube.
Undaunted by COVID shutting almost everything down in 2020, she kept busy being an ambassador for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty, starring in a Ryan McGinley shot campaign for Calvin Klein, and being featured in OUT magazine’s annual OUT100. Fast forward to 2021, and June saw her release the charmingly captivating new single ‘Enough Of You’, as well as share a stage with Charli XCX at LA’s Thrive With Pride concert.
Gia has actually spent her whole life living in Los Angeles – and her new EP, tellingly titled Heartbreak County (out October 8 via SNAFU Records), is a kind of love/hate letter to the sometimes fabulous, often times frustrating city. And today she releases the second single from the EP, ‘OMG’, a slinky bit of cool electro-disco, with lyrics expressing unfettered romantic infatuation (“Heaven knows what you’ve done to me.”)
We caught up with her chat about how she really feels about her hometown, and why she owns so many bodysuits.
The title of your EP, Heartbreak County, refers to your love/hate relationship with Los Angeles. How would you describe your feelings about the city?
Honestly it’s so up and down. One second I’m obsessed and happy to be here, and the next I just want to run away to Europe and never come back. I feel like there’s a lot of codependency in LA because if you’re on your own it can be a very lonely place. It’s so funny to me that it’s called the City of Angels, when it’s really just the opposite. And it’s really easy to fall into the LA trap of chasing the highs until you don’t even feel them anymore. As much as I sometimes think I want to leave, I also can’t get enough of this place.
One of the songs is called ‘Fame Kills.’ Do you worry about getting famous, and how you might deal with it?
Yes and no. Growing up in Los Angeles I’ve definitely been around a lot of “famous” people, but I don’t think I’ll know what it actually feels like until I’m at that point. To some extent I am scared of losing my privacy to fame, and for everyone to start treating me differently. But I hope that with my family and longtime friends by my side I’ll be able to handle it. I just need to remind myself of why I’m doing this in the first place, which is simply because I love making music and I love making art. This is what I was born to do. And no matter what you do, everything comes with a price.
‘Enough of You’ and ‘Next GF’ have a kind of retro British club music feel to them. What are some of your current musical inspirations?
I listen to a lot of older music, thank god for my sister and her amazing taste. She introduced me to some of my favorite artists like Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Daft Punk, and Radiohead. I’m constantly going back to all their albums and pulling inspiration.
What have been some of the positive and negative experiences of being a queer artist in 2021?
During this year’s Pride Month I was honored to perform at a lot of LGBTQ events, such as LA Pride and Evita. Those experiences reminded me how important and welcoming it is. I’m so proud to be queer and I’m so proud of the woman I’ve become. I’m so grateful that we have these celebrations for everyone to come together to show their pride and be unapologetically themselves. However, with that being said, I still think we have a long way to go as a society towards complete acceptance – there’s still a lot of homophobia out there and I hope through time that changes.
You have a fearless sense of style. Is it all you, or do you work with any particular stylists?
Thank you! It’s a mixture of me and working with my close friend and stylist Ace Aroff, who I’ve known forever. I typically look all over the internet for my clothes, shoes, etc., and I think I own like 200 bodysuits at this point, haha. But as you can tell I love dance and disco fashion!
You suffered some significant personal losses recently – has recording this EP felt like a bit of a catharsis?
Oh, definitely. The music I made for this project made me realize how much I’ve grown and how much I’ve learned through all the losses and heartbreak. It never ends. But at the same time, there’s so much beauty in all the heartbreak. I always find myself re-learning or experiencing the same thing over and over again just to get the same result and the same message.
What reaction do you want people to have to the songs on the EP?
I hope that people can find comfort in my music and realize that there’s someone out there feeling exactly what they’re feeling. I hope that people get loud and dance their hearts out, feel really alive and breathe this music.