Why Gigi de Lana chooses band life over solo career
While pursuing a solo music career is potentially more lucrative for Gigi de Lana, performing with her band gives her a sense of purpose and satisfaction that goes beyond monetary gain.
“I have experienced going solo, and it didn’t work out for me. Yes, you earn more because you get to keep everything. But I never found it fulfilling, no matter how well I performed,” the singer said at a press conference for Gigi de Lana and the Gigi Vibes’ upcoming concert, “G Rules.”
“But when I’m with the band, I always feel good after our sets,” Gigi said of her bandmates, Jon Cruz, Julius Traqueña, Jake Manalo and Romeo Marquez. ”I feel inspired seeing that I get to work with these talented people. They keep my energy high.”
And although Gigi gets all sorts of project offers that don’t involve the group, the other members never feel that they may end up being set aside. “I won’t leave Gigi Vibes just because of other offers,” said the 27-year-old recording artist, who stressed that Gigi de Lana and the Gigi Vibes is a single unit.
It’s not all about the money. “I’m not a solo singer with a band. They’re not a backup band,” she added. “They have nothing to worry about because I don’t give them a reason to feel that way… We make decisions as a group.”
More than their musical rapport, it’s their friendship that holds everything together despite the occasional misunderstanding. “I can be a little sensitive and moody. And I’m thankful to the boys, because they’re always there for me, even if I have mood swings. They know how to deal with me,” Gigi said.
“There are conflicts, which is normal in any relationship. But the good thing is that we don’t dwell on them. We talk and fix the problems. We adjust to each other. That’s what makes us strong,” she added.
The Gigi Vibes started out performing at weddings, debutante parties and even funerals. But when COVID-19 struck in 2020 and robbed them of live shows, the group, like most artists that time, turned their attention to digital media. Slowly, but surely, the band’s bar-style jamming sessions gained traction. And before they knew it, their online shows and livestreams were amassing millions of views.
“The music industry was down. We decided to go online because there were no shows. We even had to pool resources just to get a Wi-Fi router. At first, only 50 to 100 people watched us—500 if we were lucky,” Gigi said.
Now they go on concert tours here and abroad. And from recording performances in studio garages and storage rooms, they’re now taking stage at swanky venues, like the The Theatre at Solaire, where “G Rules” will be held on Feb. 18. Call 8891-9999. “We want it to be as intimate as possible—’yung abot kamay lang kami ng audience,” Gigi said.
Jon, who also acts as the band’s musical director, led the brainstorming process for the concert setlist, which will include some of Gigi Vibes’ most popular covers, original material and other songs that they don’t usually get to perform in their shows. “It’s going to be a roller coaster of emotions. May mga pakulo at siyempre kulitan.”
Another thing Gigi cherishes about being in a band is that it compels her to go out of her comfort zone and try different genres of music.
Gigi was a former kontesera, joining local contests and bigger television tilts like GMA 7’s “Popstar Kids” in 2007, “Eat Bulaga’s” “Ikaw at Echo: Ka-Voice ni Idol” in 2013 and “It’s Showtime’s” “Tawag ng Tanghalan” in 2016. “Because I was a kontesera, I mostly did birit songs. So now, I have to learn other kinds of music, like standards and more mellow songs,” she said.
The singer, who’s a huge fan of the band Paramore, has also been embracing her love of alternative rock by incorporating it into her sets. “People ask me, ‘Bakit rakista ka na ngayon?’” she said, laughing.
But as she continues her musical journey, Gigi believes that she’s getting closer to finding her own sound. “I have been singing all my life, but the genres I have gotten used to aren’t necessarily me. But as we go along, I began to realize who I am as an artist and what I really want,” said Gigi, who released a self-titled album together with her band last year.
“After all, we don’t really discover what we really want until we try,” she added. INQ