Pop Crave Exclusive: Gia Woods Interview
While she may have just released her debut EP, ‘CUT SEASON,’ Gia Woods has been hustling on the periphery of pop music for over five years. The 23-year-old alt pop artist caught attention with her debut song and music video, “Only A Girl,” which served as her official “coming out” to her parents. The dreamy electro-pop track (co-written by Jesse Saint John – “Truth Hurts”) was a huge success considering her limited resources at the time, one that could’ve potentially landed some game-changing deals. But Gia admits she wasn’t ready to dive into the industry, knowing she needed to hone in on her potential by playing the long game. With ‘CUT SEASON,’ Gia proves that the five years were worth the wait.
IT’S OFFICIALLY “CUT SEASON”!!!!!!!! BLOCK YOUR EXES. CHANGE YOUR NUMBER. GET A MANICURE. DYE YOUR HAIR. AND STREAM MY NEW EP CAUSE SHE’S FINALLY OUT✂️https://t.co/N5pbaY0mFD pic.twitter.com/abRe3wWh9e
— GIA WOODS (@GIAWOODS) October 9, 2020
Gia recorded the eight-track EP during the fallout of a “toxic” relationship, she tells Pop Crave. On the exhilarating fifth track, “CHAOS,” she sings about manifesting destruction in her own life in vivid detail: “I fed your drama, and your drama fed mine – love in a coma, couldn’t wake up if we tried.” The entirety of ‘CUT SEASON’ is effective in reflecting this lyrically, but it’s the production value that makes this excellent EP a must-listen. Even in the music videos, her photoshoots, artwork and more, Gia has managed to keep the bar high with a relatively small budget for pop artists.
Her work ethic is immediately clear on her YouTube page, a five-year old collection of music video videos, visualizers and tracks that make for an impressive pop resume. In our nearly hour-long conversation, Gia and I kept coming back to this idea of the “Truth Hurts Moment,” a term we’re unofficially coining now. Referencing the success of Lizzo‘s “Truth Hurts” two years after its initial release, Gia says she’s at peace knowing it could take some time for people to catch up with her sound:
“I’m always going to be consistent no matter what,” Gia said. “Whether people start picking up on it now or a year from now, I’m here and I’m ready.”
Continue below for more on my conversation with Gia Woods where we talk about her incredible EP ‘CUT SEASON,’ the changes we’re both witnessing in the industry, her love for Madonna and much more.
Congratulations on your debut EP! I’m loving the song “Chaos” – the drums on this are insane
Thank you! I’ve always wanted to write a song like that. It was definitely a relief.
What do you mean when you say a song “like this.”
It’s very honest and more vulnerable than most of my songs. I’m usually really private about my relationships with people, but I feel like this song is really descriptive. It really goes in on what I was going through.
In some songs I try to pivot around the truth. I say it, but I don’t fully say it. Literally one of the lines on this song is like, “you threw my shit outside.” The lyrics are the most honest I’ve been about. It’s the whole reason why I wrote the EP. The EP is about this relationship – this song has everything that went down that was chaotic and destructive.
Your artwork for the EP singles has been so concise, and edgy. Was it the same person working on all the art?
Thank you! I really wanted all the artwork to feel like an art piece. Like a painting. I worked with Jenna Marsh, she’s this amazing, badass female in this industry. Surprisingly enough, there aren’t that many women creative directors. I mean, they exist obviously, I know Ariana Grande uses one and that’s amazing. But there aren’t that many. When I found Jenna, I was like, “yes!”
Jenna put in the time and work in a way I haven’t experienced with other people. She committed half a year of her life to this EP with the art, the videos, and even talking on the phone. We became really close, actual friends. We just talked and texted every day. It felt good!
Single artwork for ‘CUT SEASON’ EP
It’s more organic that way too. No one can succeed without investing in the people around them
Exactly! I don’t like rushing the artwork. I feel like some people just take a photo and slap on a logo, and I’m like, huh? But budgets are a problem for every artist. It’s expensive.
And people forget about the hard work behind the money. There are many artists who try to make it without building a foundation
That’s how I always like to work. Obviously, things take time to fully connect with people, the fans, and then the world. But for me, I’m always going to be consistent no matter what. Whether people start picking up on it now or a year from now, I’m here and I’m ready.
— GIA WOODS (@GIAWOODS) September 23, 2020
Right now, it can feel like everyone is playing this game of instant gratification, instant “likes.” But success comes in the long game. Do you see this too?
Yeah, and it bothers me sometimes. I’m like, these other fu*kers who have put in the work should be famous first! I see a lot very simple ideas get out faster and gain more attention. I don’t want it to sound like judgmental, it’s just interesting, and these are amazing artists I’m talking about.
I guess there are just situations where artists have such a clear vision that for whatever reason, it takes a second to fully connect. It’s happened with some of the biggest artists, like Lana Del Rey. That’s an artist who really hustled, and it shows in the work.
And in a time like the pandemic where everyone is scrambling for money, I think the artistic vision is more important than ever. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out for the industry.
It’s so open field right now, which I think is amazing. But there’s all these things that have to connect to before the full thing connects, and you never know when it’s going to happen.
I look at Doja Cat and Lizzo, and I’m like, dude, how in the world did they not want to give up in some moments? They both are SO talented, and I was like, “how is no one paying attention to them?” Not many people cared about “Truth Hurts,” and then all of a sudden it became the song that everyone cared about it. It’s wild.
Gia Woods for LadyGunn (photographer: ANGELO KRITIKOS)
I like to believe good people with work ethic win in the end. We’ve never met Lizzo, yet she showed so much public support for Pop Crave last year – I think it subconsciously made us want to root for her too. A rising tide lifts all ships.
I won’t lie, I have moments where I think, “why isn’t this getting more attention?” I feel really confident about it. I’m not doing it to be famous in a cliché way, because I love what I’m doing and want to do it for a living. But I know it’s a hustle. It’s this weird thing that happens with big artists when all the dots suddenly connect.
Totally. It’s a weird time for artists right now, but it’s also SO exciting. I could talk about this for hours.
I talk about this shit all the time with my team! It took a second with Doja Cat and Lizzo, but they were goddesses from the start.
Exactly! Let’s take it back to the EP. What’s the meaning behind the title ‘CUT SEASON.’
The title solidified the entire project for me. I was in a four-year long relationship that took away so much of my time, so much of my energy. I was starting off with my first release, which is ‘Only a Girl.’ I was on this grind, but I took a step back. I thought I needed some time to figure out my music.
I didn’t realize my first music drop would do what it did. I took some time, got in this relationship, and it was the most toxic thing I’ve been in. It took so much of my energy – you can’t do a good job, any job if you’re stressed at home. I was going through ups and downs. When we broke up I feel like I rediscovered everything about my taste, my interests. So I was in the studio every day after the break up. It finally felt like me, like the music I always wanted to make.
‘CUT SEASON’ EP photoshoot
Do you engage with Stan Twitter at all?
Is that a phrase???
Stan Twitter is hard to pin down, but look at any comment section on Pop Crave and you’ll see the DNA of the culture. It’s a lot of passionate culture fans (and trolls) who aren’t afraid to say what they feel, for better or worse.
Honestly at this point, I need to get back into Twitter. I can say I’ve been invited to different fan groups. You guys had posted about me once, and afterwards I tweeted something about Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande‘s “Rain On Me.” I was literally invited to three different fan groups later!
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) October 9, 2020
Stan Twitter runs off intense love and hate. There isn’t really anything neutral about it.
Maybe I should get into it. I talk about pop culture SO much, but I don’t have a ton of people right now to bounce ideas off of because a lot of my friends aren’t even in the music industry.
It’s really just your poison of choice. TikTok is so important today too.
Any time there’s a new platform or strategy to promote music, it’s like there’s all these little ants coming in the cracks. They’re all following the leader of the next big thing, and it’s TikTok right now! Labels are now signing artists who are TikTok famous. Like, who the f*ck knows where this TikTok thing is going to go? There are people with big songs on TikTok, but their social media is not connecting.
I can name a couple of examples, but I won’t. They have Instagram accounts with like 1,000 followers, but their song has millions and millions and millions of streams! People are hiring these “social media experts” and promoters who are connected with TikTok and influencers. The promoters pay influencers to make a TikTok with an artist’s song, and they put like half-a-million dollars or whatever into it. The song starts to trend, and you’re like, “well how did that happen?”
A lot of people are following the money, but thankfully not everyone. Did the pandemic change your plans for the EP release?
Corona ruined my plans (laughs)! The song came out literally the week everyone bought toilet paper. No one wanted to pay attention to someone’s new music, and I wouldn’t care either! I had to try to promote it, but every time I posted I felt so uncomfortable. I was reading the room and thinking, “it’s NOT the time.”
It proves that the industry continues to run even in a pandemic, and that can put some artists in a bad situation. It’s hard to blame people, though, because the system itself has issues.
For one of my song releases, “Naive,” I had the video ready to drop. But this was in early summer, and with the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, I thought we needed to go along with what the world was going through. It’s not even about my success – I was genuinely focused on the world. I told my label we can’t put this out. I said, “this isn’t going to be a two-week thing.”
My whole release plan was so up and down. But I don’t really care, because if anything, the music is so good and it’ll connect at some point….I think if you just do what you love, people will catch on. That’s my motto for life. And eventually, something will click!
It’s strange seeing people still chasing certain goals, “legacy” honors that are losing value in this pandemic and have been for past decade. There’s this cognitive dissonance.
It’s so weird. Like, obviously I’d love to be on the cover of a magazine, but is it going to be this game-changing thing for my career?
There’s so much vanity and ego in it too, and in all of us
It’s all ego! But what really makes a difference is creating the crazy art – you know, the videos, the artwork and all that. I think the creative as a whole is what people are going to start paying attention to.
Like, we started with Madonna, how did we get here?
I’m in love with Madonna. I’m hoping she has a resurgence – she’s directing a film about her life co-written with Diablo Cody!
My dream is to play Madonna! I’m a Madonna stan. When I was young, people say I used to look like her daughter. Madonna doesn’t give a fuck about how she looks – I mean, obviously she looks great always, but she’s hitting the point where she’s aging and doesn’t give a fuck.
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And her singing voice almost sounds better? It’s like, robotic in a way.
I know, isn’t that crazy? I don’t know if it’s the people she’s working with who are different, but something is different now and I love her voice. It’s almost like there’s more soul now, I don’t know if that makes sense.
If you’re a big fan of Madonna, then you know she’s always been on the right side of history. She’s always fighting for justice.
Your EP, ‘CUT SEASON’ will be released by the time this is published. Is it too early to ask about the next project?
I’m already like, “we need to get on to the new shit!” We’ve got to get ready for the next and the next and the next. I don’t really get sick of songwriting. I can’t stop thinking about what else I want to do. I’m already in that creative process.
Me and my manager just made a playlist of music we want the next sound to pivot to. We’ve spent some time talking and putting our favorite songs together – it’s such a fun process. And there’s also a lot that I haven’t even touched on, like my Persian heritage. I’m not familiar with a TON of artists who are actively using their heritage in their music. I mean, there’s Rosaliá, a lot of amazing Latin music and much, much more obviously. So I’m thinking, what if I incorporate more of my Persian heritage in my music?
I’m always thinking about how I want to evolve.
Stream Gia Woods’ debut EP, ‘CUT SEASON’ on Spotify: