Parkites will get more of Love during film fests
The West called to Gigi Love as a youngster.
"I had that impulse to go West. It was a magnetic force to come here," Love said.
When she finally came at 18 years old and stepped off a Greyhound bus in St. George, her music took a dramatic turn.
"It took me to a new place as a songwriter," she said. "My song writing deepened because I learned how to backpack and camp, and getting my feet wet in the subway in Zion’s (National Park).
Love will bring her folk and country music to Park City with multiple performances during the Sundance Film Festival.
The experience in Utah was almost cut short, however, as this "rocker chick from Texas" faced a culture shock in the form of a conservative, religious family. She didn’t know anyone in Utah, but a friend suggested a friend of a friend’s home. She was alone in a strange land.
"They were super-Mormon and they did not like me. They thought I was some chick from hell," Love said.
While she admits to coming off a party-phase during that time, she said, "I wasn’t on drugs or anything."
Her stay with the St. George family was cut short, but she didn’t give up on the Beehive State.
"I had to decide if I would stay in Utah and that’s when I decided to go to Dixie (State College)."
She’s glad she stayed as Utah quickly became close to her heart.
"I fell in love with it and haven’t been able to leave since," Love said.
The culture she experienced defined her life and helped her appreciate the state.
"Texas is like Vegas, it’s so contrived," Love said. "People try to have a fake tan and fake boobs. Utah’s so earthy and it gets you in touch with your soul. I really grew a lot here."
Love was able to find her music style in St. George. While she credits the Lone Star state, Love felt Texas smothered her.
"I grew up in Texas, it’s where I got into the music scene," Love said. "In Texas, they push you as a kid. They have all these places where you can play when you’re 8 years old. They make it happen."
Love studied at Dixie and Southern Utah University before going on a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission to Guatemala.
"That was a meaningful part of my life, doing some kind of service and letting go of my music for a year and a half. Doing humanitarian work felt really good," Love said.
She didn’t record any music before her mission. Although she didn’t work on a music career, she says her voice benefited from her time in South America.
"That was the beginning of finding my voice," Love said. "It really didn’t come on fully until after my mission."
Part of the reason for finding her voice is a confidence she developed.
"After my mission, I felt like I could do anything," Love said. "I could focus on my dreams and really go where I wanted. After my mission, I really gave it 100 percent and I released my first CD in 1997 called "Scorpio Rising."
Since her return from Guatemala, odd coincidences have propelled her career. While singing in a small coffee shop, Tom Chandler from Yellow Moon records was eating breakfast and "dropped $6,000" to help her with her first CD. Similar lucky incidents happened to help fund her latest CD "Turning to Gold."
"On my last CD, I was in a little bagel shop and that’s where I meet the most amazing people," Love said. "Blair Southerland gave me an artist grant and put about $15,000 in my last CD."
Love doesn’t attribute these circumstances to mere chance.
"I’ve never really struggled to make it work," Love said. "Whenever something needs to happen, I envision it already happening in my mind and it does. The way always opens up."
Love said she learned this sort of mental power from Lynn Hill, a well-known female rock climber who free-climbed El Capitan in Yosemite.
"She always said, ‘Whatever you want, see yourself doing it, don’t think about how it’s going to happen. You really have to see it in your mind.’ So, people just show up in a coffee shop and say ‘do you want an artist grant to start your CD?"
She moved to Midway in 2001 to experience living in a cabin and being able to step out her door to hop on a snowmobile. During that time she played in a private concert at The Egyptian Theatre and other venues in Park City. She says she’s a friend to many of "the crazy Park City musicians." Matt Gordon and Mary Beth Maziarz recorded tracks on her new CD. She also traveled and "made friends all over the western region."
"I’ve been touring the West for years," Love said.
She was chosen to play at the closing ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Games. Because of the Olympic experience, "Mountain Dew publicity put me on a compilations CD that they sent throughout the country on more than 300 radio stations," Love said.
She went on a Mountain Dew college tour last year that included stops in Nashville, Austin, Alaska, and Arizona.
After a two-year Utah hiatus, though, she started to get homesick..
"I wanted to be back in Utah to play in Park City," Love said.
At 38, Love has found a comfortable niche in the music business that’s not about money or fame.
"Sure there was a time when I wanted to be an MTV pop star," she said. "For me, it’s not about fame or riches, but about living a life that’s committed to what I love. I have come to this sense of who I am and that’s all that really matters."
She now resides in Salt Lake where she works on her other love, humanitarian work. There she helps kids that don’t have money for lessons, learn music at the Boys and Girls Club. Love says she’s helped balance her life by the work.
"I’ve really found that I need to do some one-on-one with people and music is a part of it," Love said.
Gigi Love will play at Shabu Jan. 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. She will play as part of the Radical Rat Review Jan. 18 at 5:30 p.m. Love will finish her string of performances in Park City Jan. 20 at The Cabin at Park City Mountain resort at 7 p.m. and Jan 21 and 28 from 2 to 7 p.m. with Emily Kurn at the Corner Store Pub and Grill. For more information on Love or to listen to songs off of "Turning to Gold," visit http://www.gigilove.com.
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