Why Gianna Lauren Rules by Penelope Stevens
As an artist, one of the weirdest parts of this life is how often you meet your heroes and eventually learn to call them friends. Just think for a second about all the times you have idolized someone that you now hang with, play with, collaborate with, etc. How bizarre! Gianna Lauren is one of those people for me – having seen her perform many times, inviting her to play our festival (RIP Shifty Bits), and still spending years too nervous to have a conversation with her. Gianna’s power as a performer is mirrored by her power as a human being – gentle and sharp, swift and surprising. I’m happy to now consider her a fellow comrade in the bleak battle against the capital I ‘Industry’, vision-sharer, co-conspirator and friend.
I first saw Gianna perform nearly ten years ago in a small church in rural New Brunswick. Most details escape me now – like, I don’t even remember why I was there??? but I’ll never forget how quiet it was. She was performing solo and any rustle, cough, or wiggle drowned her out, so the audience remained completely frozen in their seats. It was captivating to be held captive by something so soft. I didn’t understand then, why she didn’t simply ‘speak up’. Every choir lesson from my childhood was screaming from my insides – “Project your voice!” – but I think, now, that Gianna knew exactly what she was getting us into. She was barely audible so that we could hear our own hearts beat, our own hairs grow, our own hearts open. She was exercising her control on both mind and body, writing simple mantras on our insides. Sneaky stuff!
“Take it slow. One step at a time. Slow it down. Even slower now”. Gianna’s delicate compositions are a gentle protest, a reminder that softness and strength are not mutually exclusive. Her power lies not in volume, not in audacity of tone, but in her ability to animate the most stagnant parts of us, the parts that you didn’t know were still there, still tender. And sometimes it really hurts! She might make you cry, so be careful!
“Mistakes, they are my own. Because, they are my own. Mistakes, they are my own. Because, they are my own.” Gianna may alight a sense of pride in the parts of yourself you push under the rug, asking you to see yourself and others with all their possibilities. It’s affirming, it’s affronting, it’s empowering. She may ignite your childish wonder once again and evoke a “hallelujah!” from even the most ‘mature’ heart.
Gianna rules because she reminds us all that “It takes time to make history…” and every small meditation, celebration of the moon, and grounding in the grass is an action that affirms today as a future yesterday. It takes time to make history, and that’s totally fine! What a relief!
Gianna Lauren plays Kazoo! Fest 2019 with her band on Saturday April 13th with Anna Wiebe at The Cornerstone (1 Wyndham St. N.).