Having parents and/or relatives in the music business can awaken your talents, inspire your dreams, open many doors and teach you how to navigate the entertainment world successfully. Singer Giselle Grayson discovered her singing talent at a young age and found her inspiration to be a singer by watching her father who was a Blues Musician. With her powerful vocals Giselle’s singing career continues to move forward with great music, nationwide tours and more. SayWhatNews spoke with the rising star about her music, upcoming projects and her acting debut in a Bollywood film:
SayWhatNews: Good morning Giselle. Thanks for speaking with SayWhatNews. In three words tell us who Giselle Grayson is?
Giselle: Singer, Songwriter, Entrepreneur.
SayWhatNews: Let’s first talk about your background. Where were you born and raised?
Giselle: I was born in Austin Texas, and I was raised all over the country. My father was a successful musician and his career took us all over the US.
SayWhatNews: When did you discover your gift of song?
Giselle: Luckily I discovered I could sing early on! Music is in our family, and I come by it naturally. I was sitting on my dad’s piano singing at his shows by the time I was 3 years old. I was offered my first record deal when I was only 9 years old, so this has been my path for quite some time.
SayWhatNews: Who were your musical influences growing up?
Giselle: Well my father of course, a blues musician, was a huge influence. I also grew up listening to Bette Midler, Christina Aguilera, Michael Jackson, and Aretha Franklin… so I had a lot of soul and big voices influencing my journey as an artist.
SayWhatNews: Giselle you are a singer, songwriter and producer. Have you had any professional training like singing lessons and etc.?
Giselle: I studied music at The College Conservatory of Music at The University of Cincinnati for 6 years starting when I was 13. I trained in Opera and I can sing in 6 different languages. I think even when you have natural talent, the better you can learn your instrument, in this case my voice, and how to take the best care of it to perform constantly.
SayWhatNews: Do play any instruments?
Giselle: I also play piano, but I’ve always played by ear… no lessons there.
SayWhatNews: 2008 was your musical debut and you released your first independent album “Fallen Angel”. What was your inspiration for the album?
Giselle: Everything I write is a reflection of either my journey or the lives of the people I’m closest to. Fallen Angel was the musical storytelling of a huge turning point in my life as far as growing up and moving through some big life obstacles and changes. A lot of the songs were inspired by a relationship I was in, with a great guy, but we just had a very tumultuous relationship. Music is my therapy, he’s heard the album, and we’re still friends. But it’s a musical piece of work that I’m very proud of!
SayWhatNews: Your singles “Google Me (B*tch) and “I’m a Barbie” really set the mark for your solo career. How did it feel when you learned that music lovers were feeling your music?
Giselle: It felt GREAT! There is nothing more satisfying in music than to have fans receive your music and just love is so much that they buy the single or the album, or even better they tell their friends about it. I’ve received so much support and I’m so glad that the new direction I’ve taken with my music has been so overwhelmingly popular among my fans and industry colleagues.
SayWhatNews: Giselle, you were the opening act for T.I., Young Jeezy, Lloyd, Sean Paul and Bobby Valentino. How did this opportunity come to be?
Giselle: Well about 5 months after my album dropped in 2008, I was invited to be a part of the “Respect My Vote” tour, and T.I. was headlining at that time. One of the other tour companies that were working with the tour booked me to open for a different tour that was later canceled at the last minute. T.I.’s tour had just started and the promoters invited me to come and join as an opener. It was a great experience, and one that I will always treasure. Bobby Valentino was touring in 2011, and we happened to be in the same city, so it was a natural fit… my manager connected with someone in his camp, and in 5 days I was opening for him. In between those two major tour experiences, I toured on my own throughout the East Coast and the Midwest. I’ve been blessed with great sponsors and fans who have allowed me to tour for a long time and make a living doing what I love.
SayWhatNews: How amazing was it for you to share a stage with some of today’s “Hottest” artist?
Giselle: It was great, and I learned a lot. It also felt very natural. I performed with Willie Nelson when I was only 7 years old, so I’ve been around big names for my whole life. My father played with some amazing historic music legends, so greatness and talent in music have always surrounded my life. I felt very at home on tour and in the company of celebrated artists.
SayWhatNews: Giselle, you have been nominated twice for “Best Female Vocalist” for the Hip-Hop Awards. How did it feel when you learned you had been recognized for your talents?
Giselle: Being nominated is always a great feeling. But I’m not really looking for awards… unless we’re talking Grammy Awards and Oscars. Partaking in the politics that goes into so many award ceremonies sucks the fun right out of it. But I was very grateful for the nominations, and to be in the company of other great artists once again. I’m very blessed that I get to be recognized for my talents in the eyes of my fans every time I step on stage, or an album sells, or someone singings along to my songs on the radio… that’s really the best award I could think of.
SayWhatNews: I hear you are currently working on your debut industry album, “Addicted”. What can fans expect from your latest project?
Giselle: We actually might be renaming the album now that we’re almost done with it, but YES there is a studio album coming out for me this year and it’s exciting. Well, my fans can expect a lot because that’s what I’ll be serving up on this project. Some huge producers and some exciting new sounds are definitely in store. The album is much more commercially driven than my first, so there are some great club songs, ballads, and some great driving music! I don’t believe in filler songs, so everything on the album has the potential to be a single, and that’s really exciting!
SayWhatNews: Is it true that Producer Jaylien Wesley who has worked with Akon, Ciara, Sean Kingston and Usher; is producing a few of your tracks off the album? What’s it like working with Wesley?
Giselle: I was able to record and produce several songs with Jaylien, including “Google Me” and “I’m a Barbie,” and working with him was a pivotal point in my career. He’s produced for so many Grammy-winning artists… I mean Quincy Jones even! We recorded in St. Louis and we just knew these were going to be hit songs. We call him a baby-genius because he’s so young, but what he can do with music is just unreal. The energy and the magic that happened when we recorded was amazing. It elevated me to a new level in my career, new fans, bigger opportunities, and for that I’m truly grateful. I look forward to working with Jaylien on more projects in the future.
SayWhatNews: Are there any collaborations on the album?
Giselle: We’re still finalizing tracks for the album… so I can’t answer that just yet. I can tell you that there are some amazing artists I’ve been in the studio with lately and whether they’re on my album or not, there will be some great collaborations coming out this year.
SayWhatNews: What other artist would you love to collaborate with and why?
Giselle: I’d love to work with Christina Aguilera or Adele…they are just two of the most powerful voices in the music industry and they have real staying power. Bruno Mars, Missy Elliott, Timbaland. Oh and Jessie J… that girl can sing anything I’d love to tour with her.
SayWhatNews: Giselle you also have pursued a career in acting and will soon have your Bollywood movie debut in, “Dreamz”. Tell us about the movie and your character?
Giselle: In the film I play Veronica… a bulimic singer who is very angry and shut off from everyone else, except her best friend in the film, Liz, who is played by my real-life bestie Kara Ragland! We met just before the film and became besties in India! But the movie is the journey of several young girls, and their experience to overcome crippling obstacles in their lives. The actresses in the film are from all over…US, UK, India, Portugal…such a diverse cast. Filming was a great experience, and I look forward to seeing the film.
SayWhatNews: Just recently you tweeted that you would be going on tour soon. Give us the details about the tour?
Giselle: I was just booked for 60 shows this summer! That’s exciting! And I already started in Pasadena but I’ll be touring all over the west coast, and debuting some of the new music off the upcoming album, so it’s a very exciting time to be back in tour mode. I had to take almost 2 years off because I broke my leg in 3 places, and the recovery was beyond intense… had to learn to walk again. So now that I’m back I can’t wait to start working with new dancers, choreographers, and seeing the fans again out on the road. I just found out that my Memorial Day Weekend show at The Palms in West Hollywood is sold out! Super exciting to kick off a tour with sold-out shows!
SayWhatNews: What’s next for Giselle Grayson?
Giselle: Anything and everything! I’ve just been filming for several TV shows this spring, and I’m cast in my own reality show on a major network, so I’ll be hitting your TV screen before too long and showing people what my life is like day-to-day. I definitely plan to continue acting, I’m modeling now as well and doing endorsement deals… and there are some big announcements coming out this summer. So just stay tuned, and thanks to all my fans out there who have helped me get to where I am today! I appreciate all of you and I can’t wait to bring you some new music, and a new tour!