Gaya is a Vocal/ Music Producer and Singer based in Amsterdam. At present, she is part of an all women and non-binary group of musicians and creatives called She Music International. Gaya is also working with artists and pursing her own artistry. Hi, Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule and doing this interview for MelodyInsider. And we kept her from yoga, caffeine and all things vocals which primarily constitute her day. Gaya is obsessed with how vocalists create this contagious energy that the listeners can't help but react to. She's been a singer for most of her life, production and songwriting are things that have only grown to love over time. The urge arose to learn all these other skills as my curiosity of the whole process grew. For me, getting into vocal production as a profession was an honest mistake.
When and how did you realise this was your calling card?
Music has something I love and can grab all my attention, but I’ve struggled with this ‘calling’ for a very long time. The beauty of it is that I can go away to a place where I can therapize myself through the process. That’s when I started to enjoy the ups and downs that making music offers. I draw a lot of parallels between cooking and music making. When I knew I could see all the elements in the whole, I intuitively started to enjoy ‘cooking’ with different elements. And who knows what the outcome will be!
Tell us what inspires you to write Music?
Basically I make music so I can experiment. Life at large can be very trying, and turning that feeling into music can be cathartic. It is the one place I can go play and collaborate, rework the puzzle, put on different hats at finding solutions and flex all these different muscles. And knowing that you can be somewhere completely different from where you started allows me to surrender to the process. Learning all these things about myself satiates my creative drive. My love for music grew when I started paying attention to the finer nuances of the song.
Talk us through your latest release, a collaboration with Anika.
Woop! Thank you for asking! “Bring it on Home” came to be over many conversations about feeling like an alien in a country you want to call home. Our discussions evolved into finding that place we called ‘home’ within ourselves. Many chats and song-writing sessions later, we’ve zeroed in on 3 more tracks for her debut EP ‘Compass’ that is on its way soon. What started off as a lovely friendship evolved into this project of finding that release for our artistry. ‘Bring it On Home’ was definitely a collaborative process that involved friends old and new.
What are the various equipment and gear you have in your studio to facilitate production?
I recently moved to Amsterdam after studying music production and sound engineering here for a year and decided to stay on. My current home studio consists of a laptop, headphones, a mic and a midi-keyboard. As of now it is small and of course when I can, I will dive headfirst into a microphone collection. In this day and age, bedroom production has made it possible to access making music with very little. These physical limitations can also make you creative in adapting to what you have rather than relying on external gear along.
Tell us, what does a typical day in the studio mean to you? What inspires your productions?
A typical day starts with me listening to new music and taking that as my inspiration to create something, anything! I’ve also been recognizing the power and beauty that repetition holds. Strange as it sounds, music has always been visual for me. These days I’ve been working with artists who set the mood of my sessions. Writing and refining lyrics, melody and rhythm with them allows me to create a colour template which I can start to fill in.
How has the struggle been so far to your current stand?
I wouldn’t call it struggle per say, but more a training process. Yes when you’re young, some of these moments can feel like an injustice. But I think that made me really think about where I want to go. And for me, debunking the myth that women/womxn cannot produce quality music has been a major part of the daily struggle.Changing minds is one of the hardest walls to break.
Did you pursue music professionally or was it self taught?
I started music as a hobby. It wasn’t till I graduated high school that I realized I was the only one in my class that hadn’t applied to college and decided to jump into music instead. A one year course in London led to a 3 year bachelors in Music Performance into a full blown fixation.
Is the path ahead more struggling or does it get better from here?
I think it definitely gets better! Playing the long game requires patience and that is something I’m nicely settling into. I would say that most people that are music professionals have really stuck it out to see any real growth in their careers.
How are the psychological rewards in this career you have chosen? Have you ever second guessed your choices?
In an industry that sometimes feels like the wild wild west, of'course the issue of mental health is definitely something to talk about. Yes, you second guess everything because people find a way to get into your mind. But I think that could be a great exercise in refining what you already have. From the viewpoint of a vocal producer, when the artist you work with truly feels represented, that is the real reward.
How is the support from industry peers?
So far, I really cannot complain. Yes there are many rejections you face daily, but I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by incredibly supportive individuals who I can rely on for honest feedback and more. I was lucky enough to graduate from Abbey Road Institute Amsterdam last year. Apart from a life changing education, I met so many incredibly talented musicians, artists, producers, engineers, songwriters that have changed my perspective so radically.
Is there any gender specific bias in this Career/Industry? Have you ever been a victim? Mind sharing an anonymous instance?
I’m glad you brought this up because that bias has been one of the main issues with the industry. There have been moments that I have had to prove my ability to even be heard or taken seriously in the process. I am currently part of an all female/ non-binary collective of songwriters, musicians, artists, engineers, producers and creatives called She Music International. The aim of the entire process was fuelled by the need to create safe and supportive spaces within recorded music in the Netherlands. And then hopefully make it more global as and when we get a chance to expand. We have our first single out called “Don’t Run”. Check it out! Aha! A little plug never hurt anyone!
How does India perform in this genre compared to European or American competition?
India I think is so underrated for some of the music we’re putting out DAILY! I have seen some mega talented artists who don’t have access to the global market. But I think we are in a really healthy place to grow as long as our artists/creatives are supported and not just treated as ‘entertainment’. I know for a fact that the Indian royalty collection society is pretty corrupt, if that was rectified in any way, I think it would encourage artists to create/explore more content.
5 Producers/Singers who inspired you and continue to do so?
Definitely a tough one but I’d have to say the singers would be Nai Palm, Moses Sumney, Frank Ocean, Eloise and The Naked Eye. When it comes to producers I’d say James Blake, Nick Hakim, Bruno Major, Kaytranada, Mndsgn just to name a few.
What’s coming up for You down the road?
Even with this unfortunate reality we are all facing globally, the need to support one another is something I want even more now. With ‘She Music International’, I was fortunate enough to be able to record, produce and vocally produce some amazing musicians and also work alongside some incredible individuals that have taught me so much. We are looking to release the first ‘Wendelmoet Sessions’ EP very soon. Apart from that, I am currently working with a few singers on their respective projects and for my own sanity, collaborating with my friends too! I would also like to go back to exploring my own artistry.
Well, thank you once again for spending time with us, giving us valuable insight into your career. We wish you all the very best of luck in your endeavours.