From ‘Lingo’ to ‘Backstabber’: Giselle’s Trailblazing Path in the Music Industry

In this revealing interview with Giselle, her musical journey unfolds from the challenging streets of Chicago to the vibrant scene of Atlanta, with influences ranging from Aaliyah to Nicki Minaj. Giselle’s move between these cities serves as a catalyst for her diverse and unique sound, reflecting a blend of personal experiences and musical inspiration. From her breakthrough single “Lingo” to the latest release “Backstabber,” Giselle discusses her creative process, emphasizing spontaneity, enjoyment, and a danceable appeal that has become a trademark of her evolving style.

The interview delves into Giselle’s experiences as a trans artist navigating the music industry, shedding light on the challenges and triumphs she has faced. She advocates for visibility and representation, using her platform to break down barriers and create a more inclusive space for trans individuals in the industry. Giselle shares her aspirations for the future, aiming not just for accolades but to be heard, leaving a lasting legacy and inspiring others to embrace their true selves.

As anticipation builds for her upcoming album, “Back Like I Never Left,” Giselle teases a fusion of influences. Her commitment to continuous elevation, openness to new experiences, and dedication to her artistic vision shine through as guiding principles in her pursuit of musical excellence. Giselle’s journey is a testament to resilience, evolution, and empowerment, as she strives to become a household name and inspire others to never give up on their dreams.

  1. Can you take us back to your early days in Chicago and share how your hometown has influenced your music style and career?

Giselle: Growing up in Chicago was a challenging experience for me. The struggle to find my identity and navigate through family traumas had a significant impact on my strength and resilience. Lacking role models who shared my experiences, I found inspiration in artists like Aaliyah, Missy Elliott, Destiny’s Child, Ludacris, and Nicki Minaj. Recently, I returned to Chicago, seeking to reconnect with my roots and discover my authentic self. The vibrant house music and party scene in Chicago have become key influences in this new chapter of my musical journey now I’m in Atlanta.

  1. Moving from Chicago to Georgia is a significant change. How has this relocation impacted your musical journey, and what aspects of each place do you carry with you in your music?

Giselle: Embarking on my journey from Chicago to Georgia has been nothing short of transformative. After spending time in Atlanta, I returned to Chicago, where the city served as a canvas for rediscovering my passion for music. Over the three years, Chicago became the catalyst for my musical pursuits, propelling me from headline performances to the release of my first EP and music videos. This evolution is especially significant considering my previous role as a hairstylist for celebrities. The blend of experiences from both places has undoubtedly infused a unique and diverse flavor into my music. Now, on my third LP, the journey continues to unfold with each note and lyric.

  1. “Lingo” was your breakthrough single. How did that experience shape your approach to music, and in what ways has your sound evolved since then?

Giselle: “Lingo” served as my breakthrough single, and its creation was a spontaneous moment on my back porch with my nephew. The initial uncertainty about the melody transformed into excitement when others affirmed its appeal. This experience shaped my approach to music, emphasizing the importance of spontaneity and fun in the creative process. Now, when recording, I prioritize enjoyment and maintain that dance appeal that resonated with “Lingo.” It’s a guiding principle that continues to shape and evolve my sound, reminding me of what initially made my music stand out.

  1. The album “Twelve Twenty Two” marked a pivotal moment in your career. How did you decide on the title, and can you tell us about the themes or messages you aimed to convey through the album?

Giselle: “Twelve Twenty Two” isn’t just an album title; it’s a rebirth on my birthday, marking the discovery of my musical purpose.  Releasing the album on my birthday felt like divine timing. As a Capricorn, proving myself is a theme. The album dives into fake relationships, heartbreak, empowerment, and self-love—reflecting my journey from starting over in Chicago to aligning with my true purpose. Twelve Twenty Two is a constant reminder of my beginnings, released on my birthday to turn a historically challenging day into a celebration of accomplishments and growth

  1. “Season Two” was released in 2022. What growth and experimentation did you explore in this album compared to your debut, and how did the response from your audience influence your subsequent work?

Giselle: “Season Two” in 2022 marked a pivotal moment for me. Initially a re-release of 1222, it followed the success of singles like “Lingo” “Like This, & Tic-Tok ” Creating music videos for songs with added Easter eggs hinted at what was to come. At that time, my music took off despite facing challenges as a trans artist, having to build my own equipment and record at home. Experimenting with different sounds in “Season Two” was crucial for finding my unique style, honing my writing skills, and showcasing my abilities. As an independent artist, the album performed well, considering it’s only been three years since I took music seriously. Despite losing friends, the unwavering support from my audience keeps me motivated to continue this musical journey.

  1. Your singles “Moving On” and “Why You” showcased versatility. Can you delve into the creative process behind these tracks and the inspiration behind their lyrics?

Giselle: Moving On” and “Why You” emerged during a challenging period, capturing the essence of my experiences and emotions. “Moving On” delves into a recent breakup, a heartfelt expression of navigating love unreciprocated. The song became a way to connect with my audience on a personal level, sharing the vulnerability of real emotions. “Why You” was a response to fake friendships and the challenges of popularity. In the creative process, I wanted to convey that despite the external perceptions, I see myself as a regular person, not a distant star. Addressing jealousy and appreciating blessings, the song aimed to remind people of my humanity and the relatability of my journey. Both tracks reflect a genuine exploration of life’s ups and downs, creating a connection with listeners through shared experiences.

  1. In 2023, you released “Tonight The Night” and “Slide Thru”. How do these singles contribute to the narrative of your musical journey, and what themes or emotions did you aim to capture with them?

Giselle: “Tonight The Night” and “Slide Thru,” released in 2023, contribute significantly to my musical journey. Drawing inspiration from the quiet storm radio vibes, “Slide Thru” reflects my take on Aaliyah’s “Come Over,” blending slow songs with great melodies. Aaliyah’s influence inspired me to explore singing, and “Tonight The Night” was my first step. Despite initial hesitations due to others’ opinions, it remains one of my favorites, capturing a pivotal moment in my journey.

  1. “Backstabber” is your latest release, blending Chicago House with Jersey mix flavors. What inspired this unique mix, and how do you see this track fitting into the larger trajectory of your musical style?

Giselle: “Backstabber” is an exciting release, marking my return. I blended Chicago House with Jersey mix flavors, drawing inspiration from the unique soundscapes of both cities. Chicago’s influence on house music and its fusion with Jersey’s dynamic mix created a captivating backdrop. Infusing pop elements with my vocals, the track captures a playful yet mature vibe. This song fits into the larger trajectory of my musical style by showcasing a fusion of diverse influences. With a nod to the pop sound, “Backstabber” takes on a more mature theme, exploring the dynamics of relationships and addressing past cheating experiences. It’s like an adult version of that childhood feeling when you say, “aha,” but now it’s asserting confidence – “bitch, I took your man.” The track brings a fresh perspective to the table, combining nostalgia with a contemporary edge.

  1. Can you share some behind-the-scenes insights into the creation of “Backstabber,” from the initial idea to the final production, and how the process played out?

Giselle: “Backstabber” came to life during a pivotal moment in Atlanta. In the midst of a writer’s block post-BET Awards, a conversation with my friend Mel sparked inspiration. The beat, featuring a Kesha sample, triggered memories of Kesha’s impact on the 2000s pop hip-hop scene. Intrigued, I blended Kesha’s vibe with a dynamic mix of house and Jersey sounds, creating a danceable track. The fusion of influences, from my experiences to the throwback to Kesha’s era, played a crucial role in shaping the refreshing final production of “Backstabber.”

  1. What strengths do you believe you bring to the table as an artist that allow you to effectively convey your message and connect with your audience on a deeper level?

Giselle: As an artist my strengths lie in being highly creative, a risk-taker, and unapologetically myself. These qualities empower me to convey messages that resonate deeply with my audience. I aim to inspire belief in oneself, resilience, and the importance of sharing personal stories. Embracing authenticity and encouraging others to do the same is not just a message but a healing journey for both me and my audience.

  1. Collaboration is a significant aspect of the music industry. Are there any dream collaborations you have in mind, and how do you approach working with other artists?

Giselle: Collaboration is important, though it hasn’t been easy for me so far. However, I’m open to working with other artists, and I have some dream collaborations in mind. While I won’t reveal all the names, there’s one special collaboration in the works—I prefer to keep it a surprise, so y’all will have to wait and see. I believe in manifesting the right connections for exciting musical partnerships.

  1. Technology and social media has played a crucial role in the distribution and consumption of music. How do you leverage these elements in your creative process, and what impact has it had on your connection with fans?

Giselle: I leverage technology and social media by keeping things new and fresh in my creative process. This time around, I’m opening up more, offering fans an inside look at my creative side. As my own label, I handle self-promotion and invest in my dream, utilizing these platforms to connect with fans directly. The impact has been significant, propelling me further in my journey.

  1. Being a trans artist, how do you navigate the music industry landscape, and what challenges and triumphs have you experienced in breaking down barriers?

Giselle: Navigating the music industry as a trans artist has its challenges, especially in a judgmental world. The difficulty lies in finding collaborators who appreciate me for who I am rather than focusing on my identity. While I’m grateful for those who support me, I recognize the importance of breaking down barriers for the next person. Despite the challenges, I’m willing to take the risk to pave the way for a more inclusive and accepting industry.

  1. In what ways do you use your platform to advocate for trans visibility and representation in the music industry, and how important is it for you to be a role model for others?

Giselle: While I don’t see myself as a role model, I strive to use my platform to break down barriers for the next person. Advocating for trans visibility and representation in the music industry is crucial. Our community can be judgmental, and my journey involves breaking barriers to be accepted within it. I aim to represent and create a more inclusive space for trans individuals in the music industry and beyond.

  1. Reflecting on your journey so far, what advice would you give to aspiring trans artists navigating their way through the challenges of the music industry?

Giselle: My advice is simple: keep going and don’t give up on yourself. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and your journey is uniquely yours to embrace and conquer.

  1. Looking at the broader cultural landscape, how do you think the music industry can continue to promote diversity and inclusion for artists of all backgrounds?

Giselle: The music industry can promote diversity and inclusion for artists of all backgrounds by fostering an open-minded approach. Embracing diverse perspectives, experiences, and voices will contribute to a more inclusive cultural landscape, allowing artists from various backgrounds to thrive and share their unique contributions.

  1. Can you share any memorable or defining moments in your career that have had a lasting impact on you as an artist?

Giselle: One of the most memorable moments in my career I never imagined, like attending the BET Hip Hop Awards. Growing up watching it on TV and then sitting in the audience with people I looked up to was mind-blowing and inspiring. I look forward to the day when it’s my time to perform on that stage or receive an award. It’s moments like these that leave a lasting impact on my journey as an artist.

  1. Are there any rituals or routines you follow before hitting the studio or going on stage to ensure a successful performance?

Giselle: “Back Like I Never Left” brings a totally different sound—upbeat, fun, and dance-worthy, yet still telling a compelling story. Expect a fusion of heavy dance tracks with influences from Chicago, Jersey, Baltimore, and New York, all accompanied by a rap edge and pop sound. As I return to Atlanta, this album is a vibrant celebration, set to give the audience an energetic show and infuse a fresh energy into the music scene. Get ready to dance and embark on a new dimension of my musical journey.

  1. Your career has been characterized by versatility and dedication. What are the key values or principles that guide you in your pursuit of excellence in your musical endeavors?

Giselle: The key values guiding me in my musical endeavors are a commitment to continuous elevation, a willingness to try new things, and the determination to not be swayed by others’ opinions. I believe in staying true to my artistic vision and persevering despite challenges, fostering a mindset of constant growth and exploration in the pursuit of musical excellence.

  1. Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for your music career in the coming years? Are there any particular milestones you’re aiming to achieve?

Giselle: In the coming years, my aspiration is to become a household name and demonstrate that dreams can come true. This year, I’m pushing myself to reach my full potential, striving to be the best version of myself. My milestone is not just about accolades; it’s about being heard, leaving a lasting legacy, and inspiring others to never give up on being their true selves. While I may not be the first or the last Trans Artist, my goal is for people to know my name and the impact of my journey for years to come.

Instagram @malaysyagiselle

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Rick Jamm

Journalist, publicist and indie music producer with a fervent passion for electric guitars and mixing desks !

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