photo by: ATOMIC EFFECT
Singer/Songwriter For The Band GRIGORI 3
VQDM - How old were you when you realized that music and performing was something you wanted to do?
Gwen- "Well, I would say as long as I remember. Since I was a little girl I was blessed to be surrounded by creative people. My Dad was a singer and my mother a hairdresser and both of my sisters were both singers too. So I have been singing most of my life. We were mostly singing 3 part harmonies at school, church, weddings etc. Both my sisters had amazing voices early on, which pushed me to make myself better. I realized at an early age if I wanted to do this for a living I would need to give it my all. "
VQDM - When you began your musical journey did you have any personal obstacles that were hard to work through to get to where you are now?
Gwen - "Yes, years back I was a loud metal singer in the Chicago local music scene with bad vocal habits so I developed laryngitis, vocal nodules which were turning into polyps. The doctor kind of gave me a choice be silent for 6 months or get the surgery. I chose option 1. So that meant no talking, singing or whispering even. It was a challenge and everyone thought I was deaf, which was also frustrating. I rolled with the punches and instead decided to look at it as an opportunity. So I took guitar lessons and vocal breathing classes. We also did doctor visits every 2 weeks which kept me hopeful which really helped me. So I ended up just needed to stay silent for 3 months but couldn't sing for 6 months. As soon as I was well enough I changed and started going to voice lessons. My voice changed as a result of that whole experience and now I'm a Tai Chi diaphram breather and a formally trained vocalist."
VQDM - Has the music changed from the time you started to now as far as direction and style? If so why?
Gwen -"I think in the beginning of GRIGORI 3 I felt like my vocals had to fit a certain genre and maybe be a certain way and but now I don't want to conform, I just try to write and sing what I would like to listen to."
VQDM - This past year you had a large role in a TV series called Jezebeth what was that like and can you give us some insight on what to expect?
Gwen -"To clarify my part of was more of a bit part and the band did a cameo performance on the show of the the theme song 'Delusion' which we wrote and performed and recorded our video. As far as air date, unfortunately the series has been shelved indefinitely."
VQDM - How was it working with a film director verses a sound man or music producer?
Gwen -"Very simaliar, both push you to give them your best."
VQDM - Did you ever think about going into modeling? We have seen some very amazing photos of you as a woman!
Gwen -"Thank you, I've been blessed to work with some amazing photographers and working with SGL Entertainment the past few years has opened doors but no, modeling or acting really isn't my thing. I'm a musician at heart and these days I feel like there's alot that also needs to be talked about in the world around us so I'm trying my hand at radio."
VQDM - What are your goals for 2019 as a musician?
Gwen -"Well, I like to stay busy... we shot the 'Delusion' video last year so were aiming at a release of that video. This year I am also working with GRIGORI 3 toward releasing a few new singles. I'm also working with some great people on an independent sci fi movie called ' Hunter A' (Okt 31 Media Publishing) and I'm podcasting. I'm the tentative host of a women's commonsense conservative /world events talk national radio show on the RFA network ( Radio Free Allman) with Jamie Allman out of St .Louis. We have licensed bumper music with Jamie a few years now and I have appeared on his show in the past so I was honored to be asked to join the Commonsense Nation radio team. And finally, I also teamed up with some amazing musicians including my two sisters- Sherrielynn acoustic guitarist/vocal extraordinaire and fellow goth singer Brenda Occhiuzzo (who's currently working with the band GraveRaven) and GRIGORI 3 keyboardist (who's also a phenomenal guitarist )Brian Bradbury and drummer/percussionist Mike Zimny to do some acoustic performances, which kind of a dream come true for me."
VQDM - What can you give us as sneak peak for Grigori3 for this upcoming year?
Gwen - "The band is working on writing and recording more singles. One is called "Frozen Time" and the other is called "I WILL" and we are collaborating on the 'HUNTER A' soundtrack. "
VQDM - If you had one chance to play any stage where would it be location wise and why would you choose that area?
Gwen -"Wacken Open Air, because to me it is the epitome of metal festivals in Europe."
VQDM - How important do you think it is for our youth of today to find music that has been made in different styles and genres verses what they simply hear on the clear channel network radio stations?
Gwen -"I would say it is very important because this time of your life is a most impressionable time, this time is the time to figure out who you are musically and where you want to go. I recommend you listen to your favorite musician's influences because chances are they will become yours too. And dont be afraid to explore sites like reverb nation for other new up and coming artists on streaming stations. That's how many people stumbled on to GRIGORI 3."
VQDM - What would you say to a young lady coming into the music industry in this day and age?
Gwen -"I'm fortunate I have gotten to do vocal coaching with a few amazing vocalists just starting out. First off...whether your a boy or a girl, Figure out what you love to do and do it. Practice it to perfection then have fun with it, make it your own, stay true to yourself, realize what you do might not be every one's thing and that's o.k. because you'll have a better bond with those that do." ;)
VQDM - Do you have any one person or company you feel was a big impact on your career as a whole?
Gwen -"Yes, I sure do Jeffrey Swanson & Dark Star records Team as well as Jack Dean ( Stauss) R.I.P. the producer of 'THE BEST OF GOTHIC RADIO' Vol. 1. Jeffrey and Jack Dean both believed in us at the start and for that I'll always be grateful."
VQDM - What is your favorite social media platform to utilize and why?
Gwen -"I love Reverbnation, I Heart radio and Spotify. They have introduced me to so much new music."
VQDM - If you had anything you could change from your past what would it be if you would change anything at all?
Gwen -"I wouldn't change a thing, I believe it all led me here to this point."
VQDM - If you had a super power and could do anything to change the world what would it be and can you see anything like that in your real life now?
Gwen -"Well first off, I LOVE superheros.. RIP Mr. Stan Lee. But, lets see...I think If I could talk to the animals, we could solve all of man made problems, after all we'd have the numbers and the spiders on our side right?"
photo by: JOE OCCHIUZZO PHOTOGRAPHY