Gia Woods breaks every rule. The 21-year-old queer Persian songstress can provoke one moment and comfort the next. Casting a striking and exotic presence, her undeniable sex appeal translates beyond music and into each performance and visual, while thoughtful songwriting and impressive instrumentation threads the vision together. Enamoring the LGBTQ community out of the gate during 2015, the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist now stands primed to become breakthrough talent in 2019. Her 2019 debut EP for Disruptor Records introduces a singular style representative of her enigmatic experience and bold persona.
“I really know what I want to say, and the songs fit my personality and what kind of artist I want to be,” she affirms. “I want people to listen to my music and feel empowered—like they can come to me for support. I want to represent for young adults growing up and figuring out who they want to be. I think I can be their voice.”
She certainly positioned herself to do so. Raised in a traditional Persian family, she gravitated towards music. She went from playing violin in school orchestra to learning piano, guitar, and drums. Rifling through her older sister’s music collection, she became obsessed with artists such as Madonna, Green Day, Björk, Prince, and Radiohead. A self-described “loner in school,” she spent countless hours playing guitar as a child before joining choir in senior year. Encouraged by a friend, the shy talent performed at a local open mic night and attracted management as a result. Choosing the moniker Gia Woods, she assumed a newfound confidence and charisma. “Gia” after iconic model Gia Carangi and “Woods” for “growing up in Hollywood,” she built a strangely soulful sound carried by the grit of her raspy delivery and organic instrumentation.
As Gia quietly attracted a following, she wrote and sang on Matoma’s 2017 hit “Heart Won’t Forget,” which generated over 32 million Spotify streams. Along the way, she crafted her first proper body of work. Embracing meditation throughout the process, she attained a deep level of clarity. It informed the likes of 2019 single “New Girlfriend.” Backed by handclaps and a funky strut, the track builds towards an immediately irresistible refrain as she croons, “I like your new girlfriend more than you.” Taking the reins, Gia steered the music video’s creative, handpicking the cast and upholding an unwavering vision.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Passionate, adventurous, and quirky.
How did it all get started?
My older sister had this electric guitar that I sort of stole from her room, and I taught myself how to play from YouTube videos. I was also involved in my elementary school orchestra and in choir throughout high school, and that led me to get scouted and meet my first manager.
When was it that you first realized that you wanted to pursue music as a career?
It was around senior year in high school when I realized that I could actually pursue it because I was scouted from my high school open mic night, and the rest is history!
Did your family support this decision?
They’re definitely supportive, but sometimes I think they’re still confused with what I’m actually doing haha!
What is your musical background?
My grandfather was a violinist, and my parents can both sing!
What kind of music do you listen normally?
All kinds! Everything from Madonna to Radiohead to Troye Sivan.
Tell us about your single “Jump The Fence?”
It’s about trusting your intuition and doing whatever it is that makes you happy, even if others don’t agree or support you. Your opinion and happiness matters!
Gia Woods - Jump The Fence
And what do you think of the success and love from Billboard of your breakout single “Only A Girl”?
Billboard has been nothing but supportive of me and my music! I love how they use their platform and community to help artists tell their story in such an amazing way.
What music influences do you have?
I grew up listening to whatever my sister was playing around the house (since my parents mainly played Persian music). So I grew up on Green day, Madonna, Radiohead, and Björk.
What is your next goal as a musician?
I would love to play more festivals and live shows! And hopefully continue releasing music and connecting with more people!
What is your own definition of happiness?
Being true to yourself.
What are the five things you can’t live without? (And list why)
My pets – because they’re better than people lol.
Moulin Rouge – its one of my favorite films.
Malibu – because I love the beach!
Spaghetti – I’ll never get sick of it.
Music – because I’ve met so many talented people that I otherwise wouldn’t have met.
Best advice ever given?
Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable!