Gia Woods came out to her Persian parents and the world all at the same time with her 2015 music video, "Only A Girl." Soon after, the Hollywood native performed her first show ever at LA Pride in front of thousands of parade-goers. Her exotic charm swept the LGBTQ+ community, along with millions of pop perusers who have been streaming her songs ever since. Before long, she was signed to Disruptor Records and has dropped a killer lineup of alluring and breathtaking pop singles in anticipation of her debut EP.
Her latest track is a roller coaster of maddening infatuation. Today, Ones To Watch is giving you an exclusive look at Woods' new visual for "Feel It," in which Woods and her love interest look-alike chase each other through a nightmarish dreamscape of hallucination and seduction.
In celebration of the new release, we sat down with Gia Woods to talk about her original inspirations, her passion for authenticity, and the creative direction behind her new video.
OTW: How did you discover your passion for singing/songwriting and what form did that take for you initially?
GW: I really started to become obsessed with just wanting to find out my musical taste through my sister. It was like Madonna, Green Day, Radiohead, she just had this amazing amount of different genres of music. So I was just always around it. And then growing up I had this guitar that was always sitting in my house but no one would play it. I started to just become curious about it, and eventually I just picked up the guitar and taught myself. My cousin was also a musician, so when I went to her house I would play around with her instruments. I was just always curious and wanted to learn almost any instrument I could find. From second grade to fifth grade I was in the school orchestra playing the violin, and then I did choir throughout middle school and high school. So I was just constantly wanting to be involved. Growing up I didn't have much of a social life, like I didn't have that many friends so I would always just be at home, writing music in my room with my guitar. So that's really when I started writing and developing my voice.
OTW: How does the new visual for "Feel It" compare or contrast with your “coming out” video and song “Only A Girl” in 2015?
GW: Most of my songs are about a girl, but the thing I love about "Feel It" is that it's kind of universal, like it doesn't really matter who it's about, it's just about feeling that infatuation and obsession. But I definitely wanted to visual to tie in more of a narrative, like I really wanted to incorporate the infatuation with another person. So that's why I actually included a visual with a girl, of us kissing, and of me seeing different versions of myself, whether I think it's me or it's not. That's also kind of why I wanted to tie that back in, because in "Only A Girl" there is also a kissing scene. I thought it would be fun to show the narrative of what the song's about. So that's kind of where I wanted it to be cohesive with the first video I put out, because I haven't really been doing much narrative in my videos since "Only A Girl." The other videos since then have been visually more centered on me, but I thought it would be cool to incorporate more of a story with this one. By the way, I have to shout out one of my best friends, actor and model Sophia Ventrone, who plays the other girl in the video. We've been friends for a long time, and it was so much fun filming the video with her.
OTW: Yea, I really liked seeing the juxtaposition between yourself and your love interest. What’s the message behind the matching outfits and the way your faces morph into one another’s?
GW: Well the video is based on the film Black Swan, so it's basically me confronting myself everywhere I go with this mysterious woman, whether it's me actually seeing myself or it's someone else, a twin of mine, or I'm seeing things. But this all goes back to infatuation, which is really what the song's about. It's like that feeling when you're first starting to see someone and you're just super infatuated with them. That's kind of where I wanted to incorporate the twin element, because the video is basically just me being infatuated with the fact I can't tell if I'm seeing myself, or I'm seeing this girl. I just really wanted the visual to make you feel that obsession, of like what is going on. And that control that you just do not have.
OTW: This video seemed to have punk-ier, darker undertones than your past work. Are you going in a grungier direction with your look and music?
GW: Honestly, I feel like my style is all different ways, like I just love everything. I think it's really cool to always trying something new, so that's why I'm always down to try new concepts for videos, new visuals. But I definitely have always had more interest in the darker side of things, clothing wise. Like I would wear all black when I was growing up. I just think all my different songs and videos incorporate all the different styles I'm into, in general. But for this specific song, I really envisioned it being just a bit more like fiery and darker. A lot of people hear the song as like a fun summer song, but I hear it as the opposite. So I just wanted to vibe and the clothes to match that for this one. I like it when the visual doesn't always match the sound of the song.
OTW: If you had to describe the specific message you want to send with your music, in a few sentences or less, what would it be?
GW: Honestly I just want people to feel like themselves when they listen to my music. If there's any way that my music could make someone feel that way, that would mean the world to me. And just being honest and genuine through my music, because I think that sometimes people can put a front, or you don't really get a genuine message when you listen to someone's song. So, I hope to be an artist who can represent that for somebody. I only listen to artist who I feel like can genuinely connect to their words and lyrics. Because you can tell when someone's not genuine, you know what I mean? And I hate that.
OTW: Who do you look up to most in the music industry and why?
GW: Madonna! I was always obsessed with her growing up, she was really the first pop artist that I latched on to as a kid. And I was just obsessed with watching her videos and what she stood for. Her message was just like "this is what you get," and that really resonated with me.
OTW: Which artist or artists would you do anything to collaborate with?
GW: Hmmm, that's a good one. I would love to do a song with Daft Punk sometime because I've always been obsessed with them. And I've always loved that kind of like 80s vibe music. Madonna definitely had that vibe too so I would really love to do a song with them.
OTW: Who are your Ones To Watch?
GW: Dominic Fike, I found him at the very beginning. As soon as he dropped his first song I found it, and I was like this song is gonna blow up. (And it did.)