BN1 Chat’s with GIA FORD ahead of The Great Escape 

What inspired you to pursue a career in music and how did you get started?

It was an accident really, I was just enjoying writing demos and putting them up online for my friends and family, when my first manager scouted me and into the industry I was thrust. I had my first record deal within the first year I think, so it was all pretty quick. 

Can you share a memorable experience from a previous live performance that has stayed with you?

I’ve just come off  my first tour with Marika Hackman, and there were a few nights where I couldn’t get any words out at the end of the song because people were cheering. That happened a few times, the last one in Paris was great. Petit Bain, in a boat!

How does the music scene in Brighton influence your creativity and style?

I lived in Brighton for about 2 years, and went to quite a few gigs. People do what feels natural to them, lots of different styles knocking about… lots of free spirits. Being near the sea is like being at the edge of the earth too, which I suppose you are… so it’s a nice place to write which gives it a particular pensive energy. 

What message or emotions do you aim to convey through your music to your audience?

A lot of my songs are about outsiders, so there’s quite a bit of angst and sadness in there… but they’re all kind of little stories. So I like to try and take people to other worlds that aren’t their own, whilst hopefully finding a through line to some of the listener’s own emotions. 

Who are some of your musical influences and how have they shaped your sound?

I like a lot of different music; Kate Bush, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen… then American tinged Rock stuff like Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac. So I suppose they all come together naturally in the sound. But that’s really influenced by the people I work with too. I like collaboration and don’t like to hold it to the fire of my mind too much. 

How has your music evolved since you first started creating and performing?

It’s developing all the time really, I take it day by day. So it’s changed a lot. But the original stuff I did was less true to myself, I think I was trying to impress my old label with what they wanted/thought was necessary for me. The stuff I have now is me being unafraid to try things, just diving straight into it. 

What do you hope the audience takes away from your performance?

I hope they feel taken somewhere and then returned to reality within the space of 30 minutes. 

How do you stay motivated and inspired to create music, especially during challenging times?

It’s a calling, something you have to get out, something you come back to every day even if nothing comes of it. It’s against my own will really. I’d feel wrong if I gave up at any point. When I’m not successfully writing music, I’m writing other things, poetry or just stream of consciousness stuff. It’s a blessing and a curse. You’re always watching and telling the small stories of every day, even if no one sees them. But it always comes back to you, you just have to be trying, observing, believing it’ll begin again when the well is dry. 

If you could collaborate with any musician, living or deceased, who would it be and why?

Leonard Cohen at the moment. I’m reading his biography and I’ve just found a copy of his first poetry collection, ‘The Spice Box Of Earth’. He was committed to the art of poetry and story telling and honesty. It’s a place I can only dream of getting to. It takes great bravery and it’s a lifestyle choice. I think he could teach me a lot if I wrote a song with him. I’d definitely feel like a fraud, though, in his presence! 

Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring artists looking to break into the music industry?

I’d say protect your art and the love you have for it at all costs, and above everything. Making it in music can’t be everything. You can easily sacrifice your work and your happiness for it. Have a good go, but it’s a minefield, and your art is delicate. Don’t let it crack. It won’t be worth it!


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