Maui’s own Jamie Gallo has a lot of spunk. If you’ve had the pleasure of catching her at her regular South Shore Tiki Lounge gig on Thursdays or at Kono’s on the Green every second Sunday at 5:30pm. Her energy-filled sets are just a taste of what she put into her new album Awakening, which she recorded and produced in Nashville.
True to her nature, her CD release debut at Mulligan’s on Friday, Nov. 27 will be more than a party. Gallo says band will include an all-star lineup with Jerry Kovarsky, Marcus Johnson, Jeff Hornbeck, Michael Kennedy and Marissa Gander. The show will also include special performances from Marty Dread, Levi Poasa, Michael Russell and Benny Uetake.
MauiTime grabbed a moment with Gallo to talk about her music and what she loves about the Maui scene.
MAUITIME: What inspires your music?
JAMIE GALLO: With creativity, one needs inspiration. It takes a spark to light a fire. Where does that spark come from? Inspiration, inspiration comes from many sources. For me, it is life itself. Life is full of possibilities. I especially love people watching. I like feeling the baking sun on my skin, listening quietly to my surroundings. Inspiration also comes from mourning a loss of some kind. This is all but a part of my inspiration.
MT: Please tell us about the new release.
JG: Awakening was just released in September. The debut has 10 original songs. My co-producers Joe Beck and Jim Frazier have taken Jamie Gallo music to another level and my gratitude to the team who worked on this is beyond words. Their love for what they do and for me was felt long before I came and left and it was an honor to work with them. Nashville is an amazing city. I love their vibe!
MT: When did you decide to get involved in music?
JG: I have always had music surrounding me. Even in a home where nobody even played an instrument, with the exception of my cousin, Johnny. He was my first inspiration and another story to be told. As a child I heard sounds and created melodies in my head all the time, which made me feel like I was weird, different. I wrote poetry with my first published piece in local newspaper at age nine. My cousin Johnny was always singing and playing his guitar. I was star struck by his passion and ability to reach into my soul with a song. I sang in church choirs, joined bands; however, my greatest involvement and tremendous joy was being part of the Praise and Worship team at Hope Chapel. The soul-to-soul connection with God through music is unmatchable. Friends and fans started to tell me that my music gave them a kind of feeling, when you listen to something familiar but can’t place it to anything particular and my songs were identifiable and relatable to them. This is encouraging for a creative and stimulating for inspiration.
MT: Why perform on Maui?
JG: There are definitely benefits to staying on Maui and in the state of Hawaii. Benefit number one: It’s home. And the other benefits are the weather, the unique talent and diversity, not to mention Hawaiian culture music and language.
MT: How do you describe your music?
JG: Aha! You cannot, will not limit me to such a question. I prefer music that moves me. From pop to alternative, classical to classic rock, metal to melodic, folk to funk, Rap to R&B, Roots to Reggae… and it goes on.
MT: Have you ever considered moving because of your career?
JG: I have moved away and considered Los Angeles but ended up in Colorado with one of my best friends and wrote a song about the journey–“Old Greyhound.” I have been very fortunate to perform in California, Colorado, Las Vegas, Canada, Germany and Italy. I would consider moving again but I prefer to call it a “tour.”
MT: What’s it like to have a music career?
JG: Music career? Mine? Ha! I don’t think I’ve achieved this completely. That said, music is not just a hobby for me. It has taken years of love and dedication to a lyric, a melody, an inspiration. Like most musicians, I have had “day” jobs. Mine happens to be in hospitality, which helps fuels my inspiration.
MT: If it’s such a huge challenge, what draws you to the music business?
JG: Now that’s a loaded question. It was when I started getting paid for something I’m so passionate about. I’m still breaking into the business of it all and still perfecting my craft as a songwriter. This is not an easy business. As a “creative,” we pour out our souls to the world as if we cut our wrists exposing our blood sweat and tears. This is scary; however, I’m compelled to do this over and over again. The fact that people still want to hear what I have to say in my songs and will pay to do so is quite humbling.
MT: Finish this sentence: If I wasn’t a musician I would be…
JG: …I will write as long as I live, but I will sing forever! I studied communications in college and was considering journalism. I enjoy many facets of life and still dream of what I may be when I grow up. So far a mom, a sister and a friend have been included in who I am and who I am to be. To finish the race well is my greatest aspiration. I’m a lover of people and desire to be a difference in a life.
MT: What do you love most about the Maui scene?
MT: Do you ever get stage fright when standing in front of a large audience?
JG: All the freaking time! Nausea and butterflies. I remember doing a guest spot in popular Vail pub called the Red Lion. It was typically crowded and noisy. I was doing a cover with the band–”Light my fire.” I remember at the end of the song it was suddenly ghostly quiet. When I opened my eyes it seemed as if the whole place had eyes on me. I wasn’t sure if it was because I sucked or if they liked it. It was an awkward moment like when you have toilet paper trailing along or the tail of your too-short skirt is trapped in your underwear. You know what I mean. Luckily for me, they liked it.
MT: Where can we see you playing on the island?
JG: I’ve played everywhere here from the Maui Arts & Cultural Center to local favorites like Fleetwood’s on Front St. Casanova’s, Stopwatch, Ambrosia Martini Lounge and Hard Rock, to name a few. You can catch me every Thursday at South Shore Tiki Lounge 4-6pm. The gang there is like Ohana. Love, love, love them. I also do private parties, weddings and conventions.
MT: When you think of your passion for music, what comes to mind?
JG: I mentioned my cousin Johnny, who was the greatest male figure in my life. I looked up to him as a little girl as if he held the world in his hands. He was so talented and troubled. He shared his innermost thoughts with me. At the time I was too young to comprehend but as I became a young woman his words would speak to me with understanding and his songs inspired me, as they were timeless. He loved the Beatles, classic rock and made up goofy stuff and adored me. When he died I sang his favorite song “Killing me softly.” The greatest inspiration has been the power of music through worship, to be at threshold of holiness when I was draped in shame, then transformed into being holy by grace. Then, the realization that this experience is only a breath of what’s in store for me. Wow! Play it again!
MT: Where can we find you on social media?
Image of Jamie Gallo by Jack Grace
“Awakening” release show with Jamie Gallo
Mulligan’s on the Blue
Nov. 27, 7pm
$20 Includes her CD. Special dinner prices and 20 percent off bottled wine.
Reservations and tickets at 808-874-1131 or Bounty Music 808-871-1141 or online at Jamiegallomusic.com.