Gena Perala


I’m pretty happy that I get it when our latest feature, Gena Perala, describes herself as “Jewel meets Peaches”. Why do I feel this way? No idea. All I can say is that it’s accurate, and I feel better inside knowing I understand.

RT3Anyway, Perala, a “carny kid” turned fantastic pianist and musician, first hit the scene in 2008 with her debut album, and blesses us once again today with an all new collection titled Exactly Nowhere. We asked the up and coming singer/songwriter to tell us all about it: “There’s some really nice sounds, great musicians and I’m pretty lyrical.  It’s also a real diverse collection, from soft lullabies, to lo-fi pop punk to carnival to country etc. As for process…I usually get an idea or a lyric and then build a melody as I write the lyrics – so the lyrics and the melody come cohesively.  I often have ideas of how I want the song to sound as far as production goes, so I brought those ideas to the table during the recording process and CG and RM were amazing in helping those ideas be realized.”

Click to http://genaperala.com to prepare for Exactly Nowhere – check out her schedule while you’re at it and if you’re in the NYC area, watch these new songs come to life at a live performance. There’s still much to get into, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQs below.

XXQs: Gena Perala 

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what makes you stand out from others in your genre?

Gena Perela (GP): Eclec·tic: including things taken from many different sources. I think that answers both questions. 

PEV: What kind of music were you into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?

GP: I loved all kinds of music growing up.  My parents were, and still are, really into music so I spent a lot of time with their record collection.  Sam Cooke to Cyndi Lauper to Paul Simon…the list goes on…I remember sitting on the floor and admiring all the album covers.  The first concert I remember going to was Janet Jackson: Rhythm Nation.  It was pretty awesome.  I still have the t-shirt!!! 

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage to perform?

GP: Yikes! and Yay! 

PEV: What is the best part about being on stage in front of an audience?

GP: It’s almost like the songs aren’t fully realized or complete until I play them for others.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

GP: People are usually surprised to hear I grew up on the Carnival.  I’m what you call a “Carny Kid.”

PEV: What happens when you hit a brick wall when writing? What are your methods to get over it?

GProoftop1GP: I just wait.

PEV: How do you think the industry has changed since you first started out?

GP: I don’t know that it’s changed much since I released my first album in 2008.  Mediocrity still rules the mainstream so there’s little money in independent art and artists unfortunately.  Technology and the Internet make it possible for almost anyone to record and release an album, to connect with other artist all over the world, but again, it was like that in 2008 as well.  So, I guess it hasn’t changed much.. But I’m no expert. 

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, Exactly Nowhere? What was the writing process like for this album? 

GP: It was a real labor of love for myself and my two producers Chris Gestrin and Russell Marsland.  There’s great production and instrumentation from violin and cello, pedal steel and trumpets, organ, glock and so on.  There’s some really nice sounds, great musicians and I’m pretty lyrical.  It’s also a real diverse collection, from soft lullabies, to lo-fi pop punk to carnival to country etc. As for process…I usually get an idea or a lyric and then build a melody as I write the lyrics – so the lyrics and the melody come cohesively.  I often have ideas of how I want the song to sound as far as production goes, so I brought those ideas to the table during the recording process and CG and RM were amazing in helping those ideas be realized. 

PEV: With all your traveling, is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

GP: Europe.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?

ENCoverSmGP: What career?  Ha! Just kidding.  Seriously though, I mean I’m still waitressing and doing music on the side so they’re super proud of me for sticking with it.  Working hard.  And they love the album.  Well, most of them…I think. 

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

GP: I love riding bikes.  I play bicycle polo (yeah it’s a sport).  I love to read and hang out with my friends.  In the summer, I’m all about the beach. And dancing is fun. 

PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration. Why?

GP: There are so many but ok, one present artist would be Jack White.  I dream of him producing an album of mine.  I’d also be over the moon to do a track with Frank Ocean.  I spent all summer listening to him.  Past artist?  That’s really tough.  Again so many great artists who are no longer with us.  So many died too soon.  I would of loved to sing back up on a Jeff Buckley track.  Maybe write a song with him? RIP.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

GP: The Zolas are a really great Vancouver band if you haven’t heard of them.

PEV: So, what is next for Gena Perala?

GP: Looks like I’m shooting a music video for the song “Living Proof” with a director named Blake Farber so keep your eyes peeled for that. I’m also heading to NYC to play some shows there and in the surrounding area. Yup! 

Comments are closed.