Nestled deep down inside the crevasses of the Coachella Valley are shiny little gems. These gems, although rare and petite, are so shiny and sparkly that one must be made aware of their extra-large presence prior to being scene. Amongst all the muted colors of the desert’s surface, theirs shine neon bright. And because so, are not kept a secret…just rarely given the opportunity to take center stage.
However, this Saturday night at the Date Shed in Indio the gems of the desert are given a rare opportunity to sparkle and sine. A rock show with all girl line-up, it’s time for them to come out from under and dust the dirt off. It’s rare to see an entire line-up dedicated to young women musicians, especially in the Coachella Valley, so it’s going to take the support from the rest of us in the desert to assure these gems get the spotlight they deserve and the shine they need to continue on to produce more.
Headlining the ‘Girls Who Shamrock’ show is a long-time supporter and positive reinforcement to the local young art community of the Coachella Valley, Giselle Woo. Giselle is a desert gem who when walks in a room lights it up and is greeted by many. Giselle played a major role in organizing the event this evening and we had the opportunity to have a moment with her to discover more about her background as an artist and how she shines bright amongst the desert gems.
So, without further ado, I present to you… Giselle Woo…
INTERVIEW: GISELLE WOO
with Sarah of The Coachella Valley Art Scene
Let’s start from the top, from the very beginning. When did you start singing and performing?
I started with helping my parents in the choir with some harmonizing, but then I realized I could sing. So, I payed more attention to it and tried a little harder towards working on my voice about five years ago. Performing on my own, outside of church, it’s been on and off two-three years.
So, you come from a family of musicians?
Yes, self made musicians. My Daddy has always played guitar, bass (stand up/electric), and has recently picked up the keys – which he’s super stoked about. My Momma plays guitar, mandolin and electric bass. She’s a rock star! They both sing as well.
When did you first pick up the guitar? What was that like?
I must have been around 11 years old. It was hard at first. I use to put scotch tape on the tip of my left hand fingers because I thought that it would hurt less. I just remember practicing a lot and charting out the chords with color pencils. My Dad was my teacher and then I kind of picked up on my own, where he couldn’t teach me anymore. However, I still have a lot to learn.
Who are some musicians that have influenced you?
Hmmm… let’s see; Selena, Vicente Fernandez, Julietta Venegas, Adele, Brandi Carlile, Maná, The Doors, No Doubt, Bob Marley, Micheal Bublé, Ximena Sariñana, Evaro, Coldplay, Incubus, Rondalla de Saltillo, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Regina Spektor, Ray Lamantagne, Shakira.. . there are so many, my mind goes blank when asked that question!
Do you write your own songs? Is there such thing as a ‘favorite one’ for you? And if so, which one and why?
Yes, I write my own songs. “Gemini” is one of my favorite up beat songs. It talks about my Gemini twins – you know a good and a bad side to them. It’s a fun song! The music that ‘the boys’ (The Night Owls) add when we play it as a band sounds rockin’!
“Our Song” is another favorite of mine because I sing it in Spanish and English. It really takes me to the clouds, I feel light headed and weak after singing that song, makes my heart race.
What inspired you to make your own music and start performing?
The best birthday gift that I was ever given were tickets to go see a Brandi Carlile concert in Los Angeles. During her show she announced that she’d be signing CD’s at her Merch Booth at the end, so I literally ran there right after the show was over. I bought her CD, but I couldn’t get to the front in time for her to sign it. I was almost at the front when she finished signing CD’s and started walking away. I yelled, “I just want a hug!” Looking back I don’t know why I yelled that, I was just so incredibly in awe and probably not thinking straight. Anyways, she turned around walked up to me and gave me a hug. After that moment, I wanted to be just like her, I want to be that person who gives back and appreciates her fans. She changed my life.
Where has your guitar taken you?
It has taken me to the Desert Fox Bar, Pappy and Harriet’s, Joshua Tree Saloon, The Hood Bar & Pizza, Ignition Coffee Lounge, The Date Shed, and many churchs’ throughout the Coachella Valley.
So, let’s talk about the show this Saturday at the Date Shed – Girls That Shamrock. What’s notable about this event is that it’s an all girl line-up, this very rare, especially so for the Coachella Valley. And to hear of this excites me, to say the least. I’d like to know how you linked up with all the other local, young women musicians on the line-up?
Symara Stone used to host ‘Music Monday’ at the Desert Fox – which is where I concurred my fear of sharing my music and singing in front of people. After weeks and weeks of sharing the mic, we grew to respect and support each other. We did the first all girl line-up, “Chicks that Rock,” show a couple of years ago at JDee’s Landing with Katy Koller, so of course we had to come together for this.
Gabriella Evaro and Piper Robison - Well, let’s see… where do I begin?! I was, and still am, a huge fan of Evaro. I love them so much! I spent a lot of time with that band and was always so impressed with Gabriella, Shavaughn and Bryanna. I didn’t understand why there wasn’t more female musicians performing like they were! They kick serious butt, they really do. I met Piper Robison through Evaro, Gabrielle and her have been best friends since High School. Piper and I would help with their merch and take photos of them on stage, so we all became really close. When Piper and Gabriella agreed to perform at this event I was super excited! I think this is actually Piper’s debut!
I know Sara Gorban through her brother Ehren, who plays with War Drum. She is an amazing guitar player. I saw dedication and hard work in this young lady and didn’t think twice in asking her to rock out at “Girls that Shamrock.”
There are a lot more “desert gems” out there and hopefully after this event we can bring them out to play. I would love that so much. It’s hard as a girl musician. It’s always nice when someone’s got your back. That’s how I feel anyway….
You say it’s hard enough as a female musician, so I am curious to know what’s it’s like as a female musician in the Coachella Valley?
I’m still trying to get the hang of it all. It’s hard to know exactly what to do and know what is expected from me. I don’t have merchandise, I don’t have a CD, I don’t have much, but I am grateful for my talents and for my friends and family that believe in me and encourage me to keep on this path.
The only minuses of being a female artist in the Coachella Valley is that there aren’t a lot of venues that scream for you to play there. It seems like having a full band makes it a lot easier to get booked anywhere. It’s either that or you learn how to jam, and just jam out, every week. Not really my thing.
The pluses are that I feel unique. I feel proud of being a woman. I can’t explain what runs through my body when I’m on stage behind a microphone and holding my guitar. To make people tear up watching me perform, listening to what I’m saying, thanking me when they see me, is so rewarding and all I want to do is keep doing it.
It truly is magical, to touch hearts with one’s words.
What’s in Giselle Woo’s future?
I want to continue this adventure I’ve been on with ‘my boys’, performing as Giselle Woo & The Night Owls. It’s a lot of fun! They each add something special to my songs and it’s amazing to hear them come to life when we play as a band. Also, I definitely want to work on recording an album, at least an EP for crying out loud! I want to continue being in touch with the gifts that I have been blessed with.
I have something exciting in the works right now, you’ll all know what it’s about in a few months. It’s all about giving, and giving a fuck.
I give mad props to Aaron Hansen for following through with his ‘Inspire the 10′ art project. I think after I read his words “Serve your Country, Inspire your City” something clicked in my head and heart. Yes, we need change, but we have to be the change.
I wanna know, any more all girl line-ups in the future?
OF COURSE! I know so many more female artists and DJ’s that are here in the Coachella Valley! Beautiful desert gems waiting to be discovered. We can all do great things by encouraging and inspiring one another.
To find out more about Giselle Woo, please check out the links below: