[INTERVIEW] Actress & Singer Gigi Cesare Is Breaking The Mold, Becoming A Star
2018 has already been an amazing year for emerging and breakout talent GG. Known professionally as Gigi Cesare before a recent shortening to a simpler GG for her music, the talented singer has has been garnering fans with new music and visuals, getting signed in the midst. Hershey, Pennsylvania bred and a current Las Vegas resident, astonishingly Gigi is only 13 years old. Without a doubt, she has an incredible future ahead of her.
An already established actress as well, Gigi has been featured in films and on television, even getting a nomination for the 2017 Imagen Awards. Additionally, she has a number of film projects in the works so its only a matter of time before she’s a household name.
Earlier this year Gigi released her debut EP, a foray into the Global music scene. The music helped her ink he recent deal with Hook and Rhyme Records. Her recently released single, “Mistake Boy” is a sign of things to come from Gigi musically.
We recently caught up with GG for an interview to talk about her growing success, her passion for music and much more. Check out the full interview below.
Parlé Mag: Tell me your whole inception into entertainment — When did you first become interested in it?
Gigi Cesare: As far back as I can remember my mom had been filling the house with sights, sounds and appreciation of her love of film and music; which incidentally she inherited from her mother and her mother’s mother.
Breaking out into a Barry Manilow show-tune during class in pre-K, dancing in the family room to the Gypsy Kings with my mom and watching old Cary Grant movies were just a part of everyday life. I thought everyone lived like this!
Parlé Mag: When did things begin to get serious for Giovanna Cesarè?
Gigi Cesare: A few years after losing my biological father my mom married my dad. My dad thought I should be in showbiz, well the arts in any capacity. After a few years of convincing mom, we attended a Wilhelmina Models open call in Pennsylvania. It was then and there at the ripe age of 6 that I strutted a catwalk for the first time and I just came alive. There was no denying the journey had just begun.
Parlé Mag: Who do you consider to be your strongest influences?
GG: I find influence in almost everything, but if I had to pinpoint true “ah-ha” influencers they would span genres and decades. Musically I am inspired by so many artists but lately Post Malone’s style, Ariana Grande’s superior vocals and Dua Lipa’s unique style.
Cinematically, one of my earliest screen favs was Daryl Hannah in Splash, not because it’s an iconic role, but because she gave so much in terms of her character with so little dialogue. It’s unusual but I enjoyed black and white movies as a child, particularly The Bishop’s Wife because with black and white film and special effects nonexistent, only good, solid acting and character-driven stories are the focus. I really love that. I’m drawn to such films even today.
Parlé Mag: When exactly did you receive your initial “big break” in Hollywood?
Gigi Cesare: I was cast in this little series called “Amish Haunting” to play the lead Sarah Lapp. It was a little series that was shot on an actual Amish Farm in Lancaster, PA called White Chimneys. It was an incredible experience. I had to learn Pennsylvania Dutch for the role. The show lives on today in reruns and plays around the world so I have little pockets of fans in random places like Indonesia and Turkey and Ireland.
Parlé Mag: How were you eventually cast in 2015’s Street?
Gigi Cesare: The craziest thing happened, I was in the mountains of Washington state shooting a movie called Rum Runners, a prohibition era period piece, when I met Willie Nelson’s filmmaking partner Kerry Wallum on set. He saw me act and thought I was really good given my young age. Months later mom gets a phone call from Kerry saying there’s a movie he knows looking to cast a young Disney kid in the role. Kerry recommended me and despite the CD’s wanting a “name” in the role, Skinfly Entertainment’s producer Lyle Howry offered me the role. I had 24 hours to accept the role. I was with one of the top agencies in Hollywood at that time who told my mother not to let me do another indie film or else. It was a stressful yet amazing decision that changed the course of my life. That film was Street and I will be shooting Street 2 in the coming year.
Parlé Mag: How then did you prepare for the role of Jessy?
Gigi Cesare: I worked with an acting coach breaking down the script with the intentions of what this little girl must be going through, why she is how she is. My own mom was a single mom for a few years and we had a situation not unlike Jessy. So it wasn’t a huge stretch to be in that place of struggle, survival and strong family bonds.
Parlé Mag: Were/are there any specific similarities or definite differences between Jessy and Gigi?
Gigi Cesare: Similarities are definitely living in the city, urban living, wanting so badly to please your family and wanting to be grown up to run with the bigger kids. Now that I have Street 2 script in hand, at least the latest version, maybe not final version, I would say she and I are growing up right alongside each other. Differences are that she has a brother and I want one.
Parlé Mag: Because both acting and singing are obviously major passions of yours, is there a specific preference? Or for you, do both just pretty much go hand in hand?
Gigi Cesare: They definitely go hand in hand regarding my passion for performing. I have been singing far longer than I have been acting, only acting took the forefront earlier professionally. They are so different, yet similar in many ways. The time that goes into getting a scene right and the time that goes into nailing each line in a song in key, pitch, on point – that’s where they are so similar. So many incredible hours go into perfecting each craft.
I’m at a super exciting place right now because I am writing my own music and choosing my own roles and for me, at this age, its liberating, empowering and fulfilling on every level. I do want my music to get a chance to launch the way my acting did. Each time I begin working on a new track and fully enveloping in it, a script comes along and I go “here we go!”
Parlé Mag: Lets talk about your latest single, “Mistake Boy”. It follows the recent release, “Chemistry”.
Gigi Cesare: “Chemistry” was an on set heartbreak that a producer thought would make a great song. He was wrong. Every time I hear it it takes me back to that place. “Mistake Boy” was written by me and the beats were chosen by me, its something I am so proud of… it’s a true career turning point.
My first EP, my first 6 songs are in a genre of music I don’t really connect with at all unfortunately. We released the singles, but I am hopeful now that I have found my vibe that my newer stuff will take center stage!
Parlé Mag: It is my understanding that you are currently working with six-time Oscar-Grammy-Golden Globe nominee Jud Friedman — Overall, how has this experience been for you? And so far, what all have you learned from this renowned composer?
Gigi Cesare: Like surreal! When you say it, and I hear it out loud its like “wait who is? me??” Ha ha Jud is the most amazingly gifted writer and he has written this song, this anthem, about teens that I am honored to give my vocals. I have learned the intensity that goes into a major pop song in all facets and that anything is possible if you want it badly enough.
We are spending a week in July recording it at the iconic Gemini Studios in Burbank. I will let you know how it goes! Jud referred me to Seth (Michael Jackson, Brittany Spears, Barbra Streisand) and Margareta Riggs for vocal training, so I have been working with them on vocal training which has been a whole other dream come true.
Parlé Mag: Switching gears here, what do you want people to get from your brand of entertainment?
Gigi Cesare: Expect that I am going to likely surprise and even shock with some of the choices I make professionally. Also, I choose roles based on stories not fluff factors of popularity, success and fame. If the work is true and real, success comes in many forms. Without being true to the art, your art, you don’t win at anything.
And maybe dreaming a bit, but here goes… I would like to land my place on the map or music charts as the first successful teenage trap music artist. I have never played by conventional rules of how to succeed in this business, I play by the rules of what do I have to say with my art and music, how can I make that appeal broadly and reach audiences.
Parlé Mag: When can we, the masses, expect some other music from you? Like maybe perhaps a full length studio album…
Gigi Cesare: Its so funny you mention that because I just told my record label the other day that the album we are actively assembling is off the table. I know, it sounds insane that I did that.
I prefer instead to release a series of singles that gain attention, are well-received while growing a loyal fan base versus cranking out an album strategically assembled on the best chance for commercial success… I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I was to compromise my music to please executives and make sales. That’s empty and its just not me. I haven’t followed the leader yet and I make no apologies, I don’t plan to ever.
Parlé Mag: If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Gigi Cesare: A young George Michael, and not just “Careless Whisper” George, but the George that made songs like his later stuff when he was struggling with identity and made some of the most meaningful music ever recorded. And also Post Malone (Psycho). He’s the king of trap.
Parlé Mag: In terms of longevity, what do you feel it is that will continue to sustain you in this grueling biz?
Gigi Cesare: My mom because she helps everything from my songwriting to my eyeliner cat eye to my vintage clothing finds! Seriously though, in terms of really long term sustainability I would have to say that getting into the biz young has been a huge help.
I will have survived the hardest years of life (preteen and teenage years) under the judgmental watch of social media peers. I have been alienated, isolated, insulted and more. I have seen the uglier side of agents and managers, industry people and I have learned above all never to get too excited by any promises made (or less than nice comment) by any person you meet through this biz. Actions speak louder than words and I’m watching everyone around me like a hawk. That is not normal teen thinking but nothing about being in this biz is normal.
Parlé Mag: Do you have any other outside/additional future aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?
Gigi Cesare: To own a horse Ranch, tend to lots of animals and have an expansive green wide open space like I grew up with in Pennsylvania.
Parlé Mag: To date, what has been your biggest career moment, at least thus far anyway?
Gigi Cesare: The 2017 Imagen Awards (Norman Lear) they are the Latin American awards for outstanding contributions in culture and arts and I was nominated for Best Actress in a Feature Film in the SAME category as Eva Longoria and Salma Hayek and Edy Ganem. Talk about a Cinderella evening at the Beverly Wilshire. I was only 12 at the time.
Parlé Mag: Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?
Gigi Cesare: Definitely in front of some spotlight somewhere performing, whether its on a set or performing vocally. I will be lucky to continue doing this, and if I am I plan to spend a great deal of time giving back as well. If I could be anywhere I’d be with a team of people attempting to shut down the Yulin Festival.
Parlé Mag: As for the immediate, what’s next for you, GG?
Gigi Cesare: My record deal with Hook and Rhyme records UK kicked off in May and we are moving FAST!
I’m so excited to be writing and producing my own music, I have much more coming. I have recently auditioned for and landed a lead role in a feature film called The Space Captain and Callista. Its a dramatic comedy with some serious issues it takes on and my character is based on Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver in the 1970’s. I play a troubled teen and it is going to be my most challenging role to date. I have a film premiering on Netflix this Fall, couple of indie passion projects and Street 2 to shoot this year. Busy 2018-19!
Parlé Mag: Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?
Gigi Cesare: I am actively seeking collabs with similar influencers on Instagram. Preferably music collabs but I am also always open to a great, gritty, raw indie film or tv role. Shout me out on Instagram if you have any ideas.
Parlé Mag: Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
Gigi Cesare: I think its so important for kids / teens / people today to know that nothing is ever too difficult to get through, its all temporary, and the bullies will eventually fade into the sunset. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, you can. We’ve seen it in our lifetime, anything is possible. Thank you for having me. I’m super into the vibe of your mag! Thank you!
Stay Connected with Gigi Cesare on Social Media
Images by Nolen Ryan
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