In 2013’s final installment of the Women Who Rock series, No Country favorite, Anna Haas, has curated a spectacular night of music that focuses on the fierce, female side of Nashville’s ever-increasingly eclectic voice.
This Friday night at the High Watt will, of course, include Anna and her band, The Effect, as well as the new-t0-Nashville-via-Chicago, Gina Venier & The Gentlemen, plus Jessica Breanne’s band, The Electric Hearts, as well as the brand new all-girl acappella act, the seriously fatale, Forte Femme.
This week, we’ll be spotlighting a different artist each day leading up to the year-end event. Today we kick things off with newcomer, Gina Venier, in a special interview conducted by WWR host, Anna Haas!
Anna Haas: Who are some of your greatest musical influences?
Gina Venier: Michael Jackson takes the prize on greatest musical influence on my life.
AH: Who is your favorite female artist of all time?
GV: Lady GaGa and ZZ Ward have been the two top female inspirations I’ve followed and respected so far.
AH: So you’re brand new to Nashville from Chicago. Welcome! How’s Nashville been treating you?
GV: What a great place to be for me right now. I’ve got family and friends here and a new found drive to keep my music alive in a new city. Chicago will always be where my roots are, just needed to set my world in motion and make a change. Different scenery, same me. I’m eternally grateful and incredibly blessed for both where I’ve come from, and where I’m at now. Nashville is a new part of my journey. It feels right.
AH: Any up-and-coming/indie artists that excite you?
GV: Big fan of Lorde. Her stance and approach on the scene seems humbling. Also dig the new sounds of Serena Ryder, Kimbra, and Lissie.
AH: What are some of your favorite things to do around the holidays?
GV: The holidays have a great way of bringing around people who understand you the most. Though I always like to stay busy and stimulated, no matter the season, the holidays provide a way to give us food for the soul… the kind that you can’t work for – it just comes naturally. What’s great, is my family “gets me,” understands my lifestyle… and around them I can feel productive, yet relaxed, at the same time. That’s a beautiful balance. Oh, and I also like the coffee and Bailey’s tradition after midnight mass with my Mom, Dad, and my brother. Happy Holidays, ya’ll.
AH: What’s the last great book you read?
GV: This past summer when I was living in my hometown of Dixon, IL, I spent a lot of time reflecting and searching for answers. My Aunt Victoria recommended to me The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron. Hands down, the best book I’ve ever had. It’s the kind that changes things for you. Challenges the brain, and inspires you to find your lane.
AH: Do you feel that being a woman in the music industry provides any particular challenge?
GV: All artists in the music industry face difficult, yet exciting challenges, everyday. It’s a blessing and a curse. A beautiful disaster. You get it. But, those challenges are easier to handle when you have a solid foundation and a good team around you. You also have to find ways to be fearless, yet responsibly spontaneous. Women need all sorts of sources for inspiration, stimulation, recreation and relationships. The biggest challenge is finding the balance between all of them. Balance is key. So is faith.
AH: What are you working on/promoting at the moment? Any new projects in the works?
GV: I simply want to be heard. I have so much in me musically that is ready to get out. As a songwriter and a musician, the ways to express yourself are endless. At times, I can be indecisive on how to approach a set, mostly because I want to lay all my cards out for every show. As a drummer at heart, I want to find a way to showcase that aspect of my music to every audience. Right now, the live show for me is what I want people to see. On stage performing is where I feel the most me. The rest of the product will unfold naturally.
AH: Is there any particular cause or charity that you stand behind?
GV: Sounds simple, but if it works for you, do it. Raise that flag. But for me, sometimes it’s OK to not always have a dog in every fight. To know, before you hate or promote. Certainly, it’s important to stand for something, but to me, the ability to accept, understand and find respect in all stances is what’s more important. I’m a firm believer in having a good foundation and solid faith. I like to explore and support good causes by giving of my time and music with organizations working towards change and challenging us to reflect on our ways.
AH: What one piece of advice would you give to new and aspiring artists?
GV: One my dad taught me… “Know your roots, toots.”
Catch Gina with her band (plus all the other awesome acts) this Friday at the last Women Who Rock of 2013 at the High Watt – grab tix now!