Blue Streak Blonde spoke to Gina Holton of Sweetmeat to get her feelings on being a part of the music world. She is the vocalist, manager and major songwriter of the band, which released their first album, I Hate You, earlier this year.
Blue Streak Blonde: Gina, how did you start singing?
Gina Holton: I started singing on my own. Mother was a domestic singer. She sang and cleaned. She always idolized singers so I held the greats on a pedestal and dreamed of being as great one day.
BSB: I understand that you are also a backup singer for Alejandro Escovedo. What are the pros and cons of being a backup singer versus leading your own band, Sweetmeat?
Gina Holton: One is more vulnerable than the other. Singing someone else's music means I get to help translate the vision. It's not my own, so I want to do my best to be what the creator envisioned. With my own music, it's an outpour of inner thoughts that I'm hoping listeners find as special as I did when I created it. Very hopeful, vulnerable and true. Also, easy to be crushed. Downside.
BSB: Which artist has had the biggest influence on you?
Gina Holton: Influence is something that correlates with phases of your life. In my early youth, it was The BeeGees, Olivia Newton-John, Elvis. In my adolescence, EnVogue, 2Pac, Madonna. Now, Fiona Apple, Lauryn Hill, and Gladys Knight.
BSB: When writing your songs, do you usually write the lyrics or the music first?
Gina Holton: I go with what comes first. Sometimes it's the words, sometimes it's melodies, sometimes it comes in a symphony and I hear strings, three layers of vocals and horns all at once. Those times I have to write fast!
BSB: Do you have any advice for young singer/somgwriters?
Gina Holton: Play music because you love it and need it as mental exercise. If it needs to pay the bills and you have trouble making it work, you'll come to hate it, and then it is work. If you do make it your money maker, take breaks when you feel uninspired. Stop writing and start listening. You'll be re-inspired soon enough. That's what keeps it fresh. Keeps you fresh too.