Gina Cutillo is an accomplished Indie Artist who has struck gold with her amazing career thus far including debuting on the Billboard Top Mainstream chat at number 34 for her single “Keep On”. She has walked the Grammy carpet, had her songs featured on TV shows and in commercials and even was on the Warped Tour. Side Stage Magazine interviewed Cutillo and talked about her amazing career, making music, her new single “Brand New Start”, the music industry and much more. Cutillo is a fascinating artist that is making her way to the top of the industry this is an interview you do not want to miss out on.
Side Stage Magazine: You have had such an amazing career since your debut in 2006. For those who might be first reading about you can you please give a short bio on your successes and what you’re all about?
Gina Cutillo: At first, I wasn’t a band prior, it was more of like a rock band and my first album was out there For The Love Of C…and you can see that it’s really raw and there’s some really great songs. Sometimes I feel I want to re-record a few of them. But I was still kind of molding who I wanted to be. Then I started writing my second album From Here To Desire and a couple of those tracks got a lot of attention. There was this show that was starting up on NBC called “Star Tomorrow”. It was kinda like an “American Idol,, same idea. I went into the city and played with my band. We played in front of Edgar Winter and David Foster. They filmed it all and we played “Go on and Get It” (From Here To Desire single). They loved the track and they sent me to Hollywood. So then they flew us to LA. We filmed more stuff for the show.
The show sadly aired one episode that would wind up on the air. What was amazing was during that episode, they said there were so many bands they had recorded but they loved my reaction and they loved the song so much. They used my song and my reaction; I was all over the intro and outro for commercials. They showed my band playing, actually me with my band. It than kind of catapulted me to a whole other level.
I just started to do Warped Tour single dates and then on the tour starting in Utah. That was with Katy Perry, Paramore and Gym Class Heroes. They all loved what we were doing. What I was doing. I was to write The Lover, my third album during that time I learned a lot; watching these great bands too. I kinda infused some more electronics, ‘cause that’s what I wanted to do. I put in for licensing and someone over at ReverbNation liked the album so much the head of my licensing company, the VP heard it and fell in love with the album.
I then just started getting tons of licensing all for using my songs, “Remember You”, to commercials, to Degrassi. Even now I get so much licensing that really ya know that’s really it in a small nut shell because there was a lot of other stuff-sweat and tears in between. But pretty much that’s kinda what happened. You know I still get a ton of licensing. Then “Keep On” , my last single before “Brand New Start” wound up getting that to 32 on the Billboard Chart. Which was phenomenal. To be honest if I had more money I know I would be Hot 100. What happened was we just ran out of money. It’s just a sad part of the business. To get to that level you need the big machine. It still was great to get to that. Labels are rough now. They aren’t really signing band and if they are ,I speak to a lot of people, you’re like a Beyonce. But if you think about it being a big artist is very difficult to get to that whole big label thing because you aren’t really making that much money.
Like I said there was a lot of traveling back and forth from LA recording with Peter Nappi, who now is a part of Ocean Park Standoff, they had a big hit last year. He’s done stuff with Kesha and Shinedown. That’s why I kept releasing singles too, if I hadn’t released in time and sloppy Pete Nappi would never have heard them and wanted to do “The Inside” with him.
You should also mention you went to the Grammy’s, as well.
This is what I mean. There is so much. Because of “Keep On”, we went to all the Grammy parties. I wasn’t nominated so we didn’t go to the show but did the whole weekend. We got to walk down the red carpet, me and my guitarist. I brought my guitarist, Ron (Labriola). They acknowledged me at the Nicki Manaj party, they asked me to walk the carpet because they heard “Keep on” and what I’ve done. So that was pretty, pretty hot, yes!
I know you play a lot of instruments. I know you write your own music. What is your writing style and how do you do about recording?
It’s so funny because I’m actually, I was recording all day today. Pretty much, it really depends. I play guitar, I’ll do drums, and I play a lot of mini synthesizer and keyboards. I’ll create beats with that. A lot of times, I come up with a synthesizer part. It depends what album we are talking about. From Here To Desire was more guitar. I was picking up my guitar and writing that way. My recent music I’ve coming up with my synthesizer sounds and creating a beat, then I start a melody. So that’s all the stuff I’ve been newly releasing, like “Brand New Start”, came out that way and “Keep On”. All that interestingly enough some of my newer stuff I’m kinda writing a lot of lyrics first. I usually don’t do that. I’ll write down stuff that I think is kinda cool, a cool line that came into my head. A lot of time the music comes first.
I’ll hear music and be triggered to hear a melody. I’m getting ready to go into the studio with my producer. I wrote a new song called “Christina”. All the lyrics came first then I wrote music which usually is not what I do. Usually, I start off with something on the guitar is hitting me or a synthesizer or keyboard piece from there.
Where can your fans get your albums and EP’s?
You can get everything on iTunes, Amazon, Google Plus. In this day and age and I’ve always had major distribution, anything digitally you can hear you can get it anywhere. I would say iTunes or would say they can go to my website, ginacutillo.com and that can bring you to iTunes or Amazon. They are everywhere. What’s been awesome too about Spotify has been adding the major playlist. They have be adding “Brand New Start”, which is great because again the music industry has been changing so people aren’t really buying physical CD’s anymore.
I guess the millennial’s now love Spotify. I have a really young niece. I asked her “How do you buy your music”. She looked at me like I had ten heads. “She’s like what do you mean? I don’t buy music I listen to Spotify or YouTube.”
I guess I’m old school I like the CD in my hand!
I know, I guess they’ll always be there but I can’t even tell you but because I have young nieces and nephews I ask them about CD’s and that are like nope. It’s so weird, I guess unless you’re an avid music lover. It’s kinda sad but anyway. Just say iTunes or any place digital you can get my stuff.
Can you tell us about your new single “Brand New Start?” How it came about and what it means?
It first started out with the campaign last November. The whole campaign being so divisive. Watching family member’s fights. Watching my own family not sitting with each other because of who ever was left or who was right. I thought, “Oh my God, this is terrible”. Everyone needs a brand new start. This is out of control. Little did I know that it would get worse as time went on. I started to write it because of that. Yes, it started off with that political stuff going on but then I started thinking about personal things in my life and kinda just branched out. Like when I’m writing a song, which is super personal I absolutely put it to the point where you can actually relate and go “Oh yeah, I feel that too.”
Some aspects of that song all of us can relate from being in a relationship or anything, we can all use a brand new start or try to get through something. What’s interesting enough is on YouTube, if you look at all the comments it’s touching people in so many ways. There are weeks where I can use a brand new start. It did start off with the campaign, regardless if you loved Trump or if you love Hilary. What I was seeing happening with family and friends was fighting. I’m so sad there’s so much garbage that goes on in the world. It’s making the song louder then it use too.
I know you do shows around New York and New Jersey but are you going to jump on any tours this year?
I would absolutely jump on tours. I mean, I have myself spoke to some industry folks and have planted it in people’s heads. I would jump on some tours but they have to be something I’m looking to get on. A big festival or tour with someone that’s very up and coming beyond what I do. I love to perform but going to the dive bar up and down the east coast…..it has to be something big, something fun. I have been planting some seeds and hopefully I’m going to be hitting some pretty big festivals this summer. Constantly, keep checking ginacutillo.com and join my mailing list.
We really don’t play New York that much, we actually do more traveling than playing around here.
I guess it’s because all the shows I look for are around here (New York), when I check your tour dates out.
We have (toured New York and New Jersey). We were just in Connecticut. We’re playing New York City in March. My long time guitarist went to Vietnam; he met someone so he’s going to be gone for the next six months. So were training our new guy. So that’s why I haven’t been out there for the last couple of months. I’m hoping a spot from a few promoters about doing a couple big festivals come along that are this summer. So you’ll see us out there.