[INTERVIEW] Gina Thompson Discusses Missy Elliott, Diddy, NFTs, Beating Depression & More

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The 1990s, the golden age of Hip-Hop and R&B, was a newsworthy period of time.  Gina Thompson, the R&B songstress, was in the midst of said golden age—dropping hit records with the likes of Diddy, Missy Elliott and others. She even went platinum! Since then, Thompson’s transfigured into a wife, mother, web3 music artist, and much more.  Our Gina Thompson interview covers it all.

For one, it was a ‘quality over quantity’ era — meaning you had to be original (no carbon copies) and you had to possess immense talent (to compete with the plethora of genuinely gifted artists).

Secondly, albums and singles were physical items — meaning fans had to actually visit a store and purchase their beloved artists’ music (hence, no boosting streaming numbers). Thus, someone truly had to enjoy your tunes in order to travel to a store and buy your material (no bootlegging or downloads)!

Additionally, there was no social media and the internet wasn’t mainstream — which means artists gained popularity via music videos on TV, radio spins, and tours. Thereby, fan bases were bona fide, dedicated and everlasting (couldn’t ‘boost your followers’).

Luckily, the R&B diva took time out of her hectic schedule to sit down with us and chat about what’s going on in her world and the world in general. Check out the interview below!

 

Gina Thompson Interview With Parle Magazine

Parlé Magazine: Gina we appreciate you sitting down with us! Love your work.
Gina Thompson: Thanks so much and thanks for having me!

Parlé Magazine: You began singing at an early age. Who were the artists that sparked that musical fire inside of you?
Gina Thompson: Hmm, numerous artists, but my biggest influencer was my mother. As a child, my mom sang in our church, and as I watched her grace the mic I knew then and there that I wanted to grow up and be a professional singer! As for artists, I’d say Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Shirly Caesar, The Clark Sisters, the late great Whitney Houston, and many others. I even drew inspiration from my siblings (8 of us total), who grew up singing in the church as well.

 

Parlé Magazine: You were discovered by Darkchild, aka Rodney Jerkins. How did that transpire?
Gina Thompson: My brother-in-law knew him. He introduced us, I sang for Darkchild and he signed me right there on the spot. My deal was with Mercury Records; this took place not too long after I graduated from high school.

 

Parlé Magazine: Wow, that must’ve been exciting! Tell us, how’d you and Missy Elliott end up connecting and recording singles?
Gina Thompson: One word – Diddy. Darkchild produced my breakout single “The Things That You Do,” and Diddy did the remix.  Diddy introduced me to Missy, then he placed her on my remix. We heard it and I loved it! Following Diddy’s remix, Missy and I did a lot of traveling together, her and I worked on a MC Lyte song together, I featured her on my track “Why Do Fools Fall In Love,” I appeared on her second album (Da Real World), and she featured on another single of mine, “Ya Di Ya.” We became pretty tight, and her energy/vibe is unrivaled. And yes, her and I are still in touch (whenever she finds time in her chaotic schedule)!

Parlé Magazine: Mind-blowing! What’s your fondest memory of Missy Elliott?
Gina Thompson: Wow, so many. But, I’d have to say when we were on Aaliyah‘s “If Your Girl Only Knew” video set. We had a ball — a lot of laughing and great vibes. R.I.P. Aaliyah.

Gina Thompson Parle Mag

Parlé Magazine: Simply amazing. Shifting gears, you’re in the web3 music world now. Tell us more about how you got into music NFTs.
Gina Thompson: My old manager, Daryl, recently hooked back up and he’s chums with Renata Lowenbraun (CEO of Infanity, a web3 music company). I had met Renata years back, so we were somewhat familiar. We all began discussing web3 music and music NFTs, and simply decided to bring it all together.

 

Parlé Magazine: Interesting! What plans do you and Infanity have thus far?
Gina Thompson: It’s a lot brewing! For starters, The Leftovers, a Baltimore based band, is releasing “The Things That You Do (Infanity Remix)” via Infanity on March 31 (Friday). Also in May, I’ll be releasing my new single, “Starving,” with Infanity. Aside from the major streaming platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.), to have my music on the blockchain and release digital collectibles (NFTs) has given me a second wind as far as the music business goes. Due to web3’s decentralized nature, it allows me to control my own destiny—and nothing’s grander than that!

 

Parlé Magazine: Facts! Before we depart, let’s get deep. You’re a God fearing woman and whole believer in The Word. Share with us a time in your life that was super tough and the things God did to help you get through it.
Gina Thompson: Parting ways with the music industry took a toll on me. In addition, I was a single mother, which bears its own stresses. At that time, I felt abandoned and was very depressed. I was suicidal even, and almost self-destructed. It was a very dark time in my life. What did God do? He brought a phenomenal man into my life (who’s my husband now), and he became my rock and helped me find balance. My son also assisted me in finding inner peace. Eventually, I began to see light rays at the end of the dark tunnel and made it out. We think God forsakes us, but He’s always there and will help you…I am a living testament to that.


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