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Blog interview: Giselle And Erik

Congratulations on the release of “Take It All Away.” How does it feel?

Thank you! It feels so right to share “Take It All Away” and now, the rest of the “Healing” EP as well. It’s a time capsule for us of an incredibly challenging and life changing season in our lives, and we hope that sharing our story can help others heal, too.

What’s the story behind the song?

After facing open heart surgery, “Take It All Away” is about coming to understand and reclaim what matters most. Sharing this life with the people we love is our biggest blessing.

It’s the second song off your EP “Healing.” What was the easiest and hardest part of recording it?

One challenging part of recording “Take It All Away” and the rest of the EP was trying to convey the emotions of these songs in the recordings. Each song is rooted in such complex emotions, and channeling that headspace to capture that musically was challenging.

The easiest and hardest part was wearing all the hats in the room – performers, producers, recording engineer. While it was challenging to experiment and make final artistic decisions, it was easy in the sense that we had all sorts of tools and ideas at our disposal; we could demo an idea, quickly see if we liked it or not, then move onto the next idea.

It’s quite a personal EP. What’s your favourite track from it?

I (Giselle) don’t have a favorite, but if I have to choose, right now for me it’s between “Heal” and “Take It All Away.”

I (Erik) agree with Giselle that I don’t have a favorite song. Right now, I’m really enjoying “I’ve Been Thinking.”

You are a duo based in Nashville Tennessee. How did it all begin for you?

We met playing in the University of Florida jazz big band together. We joke that we started big with the big band, downsized to a smaller jazz combo, then it was just the two of us, and well…who’s next on the chopping block? Haha! In all seriousness, the more we played together, the more we wanted to combine our strengths and develop our sound as a duo. And somewhere in those years, we fell in love, but that’s another story.

We both had a diverse set of academic interests in school – Giselle studied International Business and Erik, Electrical Engineering. On our different journeys, we both came to the similar realization that we couldn’t see ourselves doing anything other than making music.

What did you listen to starting out?

I (Erik) started out listening to classic rock. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and The Doors were some of my favorite bands to name a few. I was also the biggest Red Hot Chili Peppers fan; my brother, my best friend and I practically had a RHCP cover band when we first started playing music.

I (Giselle) remember listening to Norah Jones as early as back in middle school. I would always sit down at the piano and play “Come Away With Me.” Growing up, my family was involved in the opera, so I grew up around that, but I also distinctly remember blasting Elton John’s music on family road trips.

Giselle, you were part of The Canales Project Hear Her Song. Tell us about it.

It was a really personally fulfilling experience. Each season, Hear Her Song pairs female composers with distinguished female leaders, and as composers, we were tasked with writing music to celebrate that honoree.

I was paired with human rights activist, Jamira Burley. It was very inspiring learning more about Jamira’s work, and I also felt incredibly humbled and honored to try to capture her story and impact through my song, “Worthy.”

You’ve also been featured as a TEDxUF. What was that like?

One of the things I love most about music is storytelling and I’ve always loved public speaking. So, being selected as a speaker at TEDxUF was very exciting! Weaving together storytelling, songwriting, and advocacy with the TEDx team was a fun challenge, and being able to share and perform my song, “Frame of Mind,” was the icing on the cake for me. It’s one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever written, and I hope that it can empower girls and women around the world.

Erik, you are a guitarist and bassist. Who are your top three in each?

It’s hard to choose only three. But if I had to, I’d say my favorite guitarists are Yamandu Costa, Django Reinhardt, and Sylvain Luc. My favorite bass players are Ron Carter, Edgar Meyer, and Jaco Pastorius.

Post-COVID: what have you learned about yourselves in the last three years? Did you pick up any new skills?

The last three years have been a whirlwind, to say the least: heart surgery, graduating with our Masters degrees, performing for Disney and living on a ship for five months, getting married, moving to Nashville. We learned how resilient we are, as individuals and as a team. We were also reminded how unexpected life can be…

The biggest skill I (Erik) picked up in the last three years is how to professionally record and mix audio. I’ve put in hundreds of hours reading textbooks, asking questions of professional producers, mixing other people’s music projects, and recording our own music.

It’s not necessarily a new skill, but I (Giselle) got back into loom knitting. It’s a great mental escape for me and it makes great gifts! My mom and I knitted hats to give to some of Erik’s care team when we were discharged.

What are you listening to at the moment?

I (Erik) always find myself listening to a lot of Bach. I’m also listening to this beautiful Brazilian album with Ron Carter on bass, Rosa Passos as the singer, and Luis Galvao on guitar called Entre Amigos.

I (Giselle) recently found Andrea von Kampen and Dan Mills and I’ve really been enjoying their music.

What’s next for you?

Our debut EP, “Healing,” just came out on November 3rd, so we’re looking forward to organizing more shows and collaborations to continue to amplify that project.

We’re always writing, so we’re excited to keep the momentum going and continue to release more of our original music!



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