AG, Exclusive Interview
Qu: Can you give us a little history about you. Where are you from? How did you get involved in music?
AG: I’m from Miami, born and raised. I started by singing in my elementary school choir. I resisted it for a while, wanted to be normal (a sign of things to come). But one day when I didn’t show up to choir practice, my choir teacher called my mom and said I really had something, and to get me back in choir quick. My mom is a scary Latin woman when she wants to be, so suffice it to say it didn’t take me long to give in and go back.
Qu: You hit the LA music scene as a singer/songwriter, what was it like when you started hearing your music played for television shows?
AG: The first time I heard my voice on TV, it was truly surreal. It was loud too! I was like, “Will someone please turn the freaking TV down? It’s too weird!” Ha.
Qu: You have released 8 albums, for people who may not know you what can a listener expect from your music?
AG: My music has gone through a few transformations over the years, as my influences changed, I grew up, etc. But generally it ranges from pop to folk to rock to alternative.
Qu: You have worked with some pretty influential people in the music business, what is your most memorable?
AG: There are so many, I don’t know which is the most memorable. Maybe when I saw Andy Summers from The Police in the audience at a Rescues show? That was more terrifying than anything I think. Michael Brauer mixed our last record, and he’s mixed folks like Coldplay and John Mayer…and that was pretty incredible to witness.
Qu: You recently release and EP of Beatles songs, what inspired you to do cover such and iconic group?
AG: Honestly? Because I love a good challenge. It’s hard to cover The Beatles…some would say no one should even attempt it. So naturally, I did.
Qu: In your video for “I Wanna Be Your Man” you played with a gender bending theme, what inspired that?
AG: I’ve always had very strong opinions about the transgender community, that they should be equally represented in the gay culture, and that they deserve the same rights and considerations. And even though I’m very proud of my femininity and don’t personally identify with the transgender community, I do believe in everyone having the right to be exactly who they truly are.
Qu: As an out lesbian performer, what were some obstacles that you had to face?
AG: I’ve had some interesting experiences with this…for instance, when my band The Rescues first got signed to Universal, I was afraid they were going to make me dress/look more feminine. Though I refused to not be out, I also wasn’t sure what I was willing to sacrifice…it’s different when you’re in a band and what you do affects the livelihoods of other people. But the unexpected happened…they never asked me once to change my “image”. They loved everything about it.
Earlier in my career though, I struggled with being pigeonholed, or pigeonholing MYSELF more specifically. While lesbians are known to be among the most loyal and long lasting fan demographic, I have run into groups of people that were not nearly as interested in my music as they were the fact that I was a lesbian singing on a stage. However, I’ve never wanted to turn away my gay fans for fear of being pigeonholed. I feel like they understand my music in a way others might not (even though I consciously write from a very andro perspective, so as to not alienate), and I do cherish that. But I feel an allegiance to the hetero community as well, mainly because we are all humans first and love is love. And I have a huge level of respect and empathy for the human condition, and that is what inspires me to write more than anything else.
Qu: As an artist, what is your advice to other queer performers trying to break out in the entertainment business? Should they be out?
AG: What you should always be is who you are. If you’re not sure who you are, that could get tricky. But really, we are all only who we are in the moment right? Taking risks to look in yourself and to share that with the world and with others that are going through the same thing, well I think that’s brave and will only help the human race evolve and become more tolerant and less lonely. To me it’s not a gay/straight thing. It’s a YOU thing. Offering your unique perspective on life is where the real value is in your songs. And it’s honest. Everyone can subconsiously tell when music is authentic, and when it’s contrived. Don’t sell your audience short by assuming they will be freaked out by something as small as your sexual orientation. If anything it gives you more depth of perspective. And that’s something to be proud of!
Qu: What is next for you as an artist?
AG: I always have a million things going on at the same time…I write and record a lot, even when I’m not making a record, I paint, I make furniture, I direct and produce music videos, I’m in The Rescues, I tour solo. What’s next for me is to just be creative every day in some way, be able to support myself and hopefully at the same time, be able to have something to offer to the greater good.
Qu: Who have been your inspirations?
AG: It’s varied over the years, but it started with the Indigo Girls (big surprise). Then I got into grunge (because I’m a hundred years old), then moved onto Foo Fighters/Nine Inch Nails, then U2/Coldplay, and have landed at Metric/80’s music.