Gaia’s a free spirit and an artist who invites us to reflect on the rhythm of life, to take our time in the frenzy of the daily grind, enjoying every single moment: «When everything is buzzing around me, I slow down. I feel, I feel how much life there is in a single moment», Gaia sings in Estasi (Ecstasy).
Raised between Brazil and Italy, the countries of origin of her mother and father, Gaia Gozzi continues her path full of success while remaining true to herself. Her courage in going down unconventional paths and her music full of spirituality are a real source of inspiration for the new generation.
«I think it’s important to find your rhythm and understand the importance of taking a break»
Let’s talk about your last trip to the Amazon and the message of following the rhythm of nature, going slower… These are all very current concepts in a fast-paced society like ours.
I think it’s important to find your rhythm and understand the importance of taking a break. Not everyone can afford to go to the Amazon; I’d obviously recommend it to get recentred, but it wasn’t simply the trip that helped me. The experience helped me see how internally, I had to create that relationship with myself to understand when I have to stop, when I have to say no. These no’s are also fundamental for the longevity of my plans, to be able to be aware of my instrument and not exploit it, depleting it before its time. I think that we are given certain energies at birth, and we mustn’t finish them all right away. If we think about music history and history in general, many musicians tend to overdo it in the kind of life they lead. I’d like to be a musician for as long as possible.
«My way of flowing in life is connected to my feelings. That’s what I consider spirituality: listening to my instincts, making my internal conversation more and more intimate, sincere and direct»
Indeed, it’s easy to get lost in the world of entertainment…
Yes, the more you’re given, the more chances you have to see thousands of people singing your music, but also the more clearly you’ll lose something, which can be your health, relationships, etc. So balance has always been one of my primary goals. I strongly believe in trying to have a ‘healthy’ approach to this profession, even if there haven’t been many similar examples. Also because in order to be great you have to work, to be there, to be in it. I’ve seen so many people fall so easily into depression; I too have experienced very intense moments of emotional lows. That’s why it’s important to find your balance in everything.
A feature of your music that’s quite peculiar is the presence of a certain spirituality.
Yes, spirituality is definitely part of my life in general; it will blur into the music and overflow into that as well. My way of flowing in life is connected to my feelings. That’s what I consider spirituality: listening to my instincts, making my internal conversation more and more intimate, sincere and direct. I strongly believe that there’s a common conscience that guides us towards what we should do, be, etc. I’m always very, very careful trying to do something that my ‘higher self would do.’ So yes, I wouldn’t be able to flow in life and in music, which is my way of expressing myself, without an intimate relationship with the intangible. So I put it in the songs.
«Music has always been so important to me, and I always thought it would accompany me throughout my life»
When did you realise that music was your calling, and that from there it would also become a profession?
Music has always been so important to me, and I always thought it would accompany me throughout my life. I was a bit afraid to consider it a hypothetical job as a child because I was very shy. So it was entirely at odds with my nature, and I felt like it was such a big dream, perhaps I didn’t want to erode it. Despite my fears it went well, thanks to the process of discovering myself, the fact that I started travelling very young, so I had many experiences that forced me out of my comfort zone. I went to university for a while, to then see this option as real and viable.
As a child I always sang at home, especially in the bathroom, my main stage. I would stand in front of the mirror and sing the songs of my favourite artists. I also did a lot of research on YouTube, I watched everyone’s live shows; it was something I kept private, or between my family and me (of which one, at one point, couldn’t bear listening to me any longer, she says laughing and looking at her mother Luciana). Then I went to live in Germany when I was 15 and started singing with my friends here and there. I went to the United States when I was 17, and I was in the choir at school there. I had my first attempts as a soloist and so I started to open up the relationship with the audience and feel more comfortable.
A few months after I returned from the United States, my mother and sister signed me up for X Factor. I went, I signed my first record contract, and everything started from there. At times it was a somewhat slow (or balanced, I prefer to see it that way) path with setbacks and dilated moments, which however were fundamental. I was in a phase of searching for my identity, I was trying to introduce all my cultures into music, without making a potpourri that was overly complex, distant or mechanical. I was trying to pinpoint my signature style.
Those years were fundamental, they still are, because they gave me the foundations of a creative freedom that I wouldn’t have been able to touch or even graze had I immediately taken off, ‘exploded’ and been forced to work following a certain type of path. They wanted me to become a fairly standard ‘pop project,’ perhaps easier to work with than what I do now but, returning to the concept of spirituality and the fact of remaining as authentic as possible, I think it’s really the only way to make my plans work in the long term. I’m happy with the path I have been on and continue to follow.
What elements of Italy and Brazil can you identify in your personality?
My Brazilian side is definitely the more spiritual, mystical side and I also love to dance, sing and party anywhere. This is a decidedly Brazilian side of me. Italians are also very festive to tell the truth. They’re both extremely passionate places, so there’s a common denominator from this point of view. My Italian side is the one that’s a little more concrete. Not that the Brazilian one is not concrete; Brazil is an open-air museum, it’s all nature, and when nature is so imposing, perhaps it puts you back in your place more easily. The rhythms are easier, and they follow a different beat.
In Italy, on the other hand, especially living in a city like Milan, I realise that I’m more inclined to implement things, to keep the focus. I also have a very determined side; if I want something I get it. I managed to find a balance between these two elements, between a life in the midst of nature, life and not just work, and the moments when I know I have to push and be completely focused. Then you also eat well in both places (laughs). Yes, probably my more practical side is extremely Italian. I also say this because I see my father, who is Italian, very objective and my mother is instead more of a ‘wood fairy.’
Perhaps you got your sense of style from your mum?
Yeah, mum’s a real aesthete. Taste, fashion, creativity in general fascinate me; they awaken a sense of beauty in me that I like. My sign is dedicated to beauty (I’m a libra) so I like harmony, beauty. Mum definitely spoilt and educated me in this regard, because her archives are really a source of inspiration.
You also often work together…
Yes, we’ve already worked together a lot. Now I think we’re both understanding our goals more and more, so we’ve gone our separate ways. Then we happen to work together, first and foremost to keep relationships clean and healthy, because before being colleagues at work we must be mother and daughter. It has been wonderful sharing work experiences with her. It’s not always possible, especially for the type of work we do.
«I think intentions are fundamental in every context we touch in our lives»
It’s great that beyond image, fashion is also a message for you.
For me it’s that above all, because I think if it was just aesthetic, I would probably feel bad about myself and I wouldn’t be able to justify it with my way of seeing things. If instead there is a message, a motivation, a reasoning behind it, then everything takes on a more magical aura. You see it in the shots, people feel better wearing something that’s been chosen for them to make them feel good, maybe the clothes and the brand are more in line with their way of thinking. A series of elements then make a shot, make a fashion shoot a magical job. It’s not just about making people sexier and more beautiful.
I think intentions are fundamental in every context we touch in our lives. Everything is political: how you act, how you feel in front of a camera, how you communicate. All these things, in my opinion, go beyond mere fashion.
Especially after the Covid break, it’s important to reconnect with the public.
Yes, especially for me because I never had the chance. I came out during Covid, so playing live is something I’d really like to do and will do in the near future. And then travelling. I want to go to Brazil and play a little there. Now I’d like to play in different places and spend some time in Brazil. These are my goals for the upcoming period.
And what projects do you have in the pipeline?
I’m writing a lot for the new album, and I really want to play live. I’d like to do a lot of festivals in the coming period, because I feel that it’s a side of my work that I get a lot of satisfaction from, in which I could grow and invest a great deal. In another upcoming project I’ll lend my voice to the brilliant dreamer Asha in the new Christmas movie Wish, the feature film by Walt Disney Animation Studios, which pays tribute to the Disney legacy (in Italian cinemas on 21 December), precisely in the year in which the historic film studio celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Photographer Claudio Carpi
Stylist Simone Folli
Make-up Roberta Anzaldi – Charlotte Tilbury
Hair Francesco, Matteo – Contestarockhair
Stylist assistant Nadia Mistri, Claudia Maria Ialacci, Rebecca Callegaro, Isabella Ingravallo
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