We had the good fortune of connecting with Laela Giovanna and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laela, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
I would say a piece of advice that a lot of people have tried to give me that I disagree with is, “always have a backup plan in case music doesn’t work out “. I understand that a sense of security is important in life, but I think having a “plan b” can really distract you from reaching your main goal. In most cases, if you don’t have a “plan b”, you will work harder because there is no other option but to succeed.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Since I was a little girl, a music career was the only thing I ever wanted to pursue. There was nothing else that made me feel quite as whole as music did. It was something that came naturally to me. It gave me a true sense of purpose.
Growing up, I found myself being somewhat of an outcast. I would try my best to fit in, but I felt like I never “fit the mold”. Like many kids, I just wanted to be liked and accepted. I remember in grade school durning recess, I would hide in the computer lab or anywhere I could, so that I did not have to be alone in the playground. If the other kids did ever try to include me, it felt like it was out of pity or because the teachers made them. I feel like the absence of friends brought on a lot of insecurities but it also taught me the benefits of flying solo and doing my own thing . When I began playing guitar and songwriting, I finally had an outlet to express myself.
Fast forward to high school, I began playing my original songs out at live venues and tried to become comfortable in my own skin, owning my music dream. Looking back now, I am so happy that I stuck with my passion instead of following the herd. I was told a numerous amount of times from teachers, friends and family that music would NEVER be a career and that I needed to find a”real career”. Thankfully, there was a fire inside of me that no one could put out.
Right out of high school, I moved to NYC to get my license as a skin therapist. My plan was to get a decent paying job so that I could fund my music career. Two months after the move, I had to return back home with my family. My dreams of pursing a music career were put on hold with no future plan in sight. Now, I could sit here for hours about what happened in the next coming years of my life but I will save the novel for another time 😉
In short, I underwent two major neck surgeries that would change my life forever. I remember clear as day, waking up from the second operation in the recovery room. My mom’s voice was shaking as she told me the surgeon had to move my frenetic nerve which controls the diaphragm. As many know, the diaphragm plays an essential role in your ability to sing . The surgeon was unsure if I would ever be able to sing again. In that moment, I knew the musical talents I had been given were true blessings and that my purpose in life was to use them in a way that uplifts and inspires others. Yes, it was a tough recovery but I got through it. I bounced back stronger than ever before. While that time in my life was filled with a lot of uncertainty and anxiety, it altered the way I see the world and the people in it for the better. I am grateful for the experience.
At the moment, I have a lot of new and exciting things unfolding. I am back to performing live shows post pandemic. I am working on a new EP, which is set to release this fall. I will be releasing a single off the EP along with a music video at the end of summer. I continue to work on my craft day in and day out. When you get so close to losing something that defines your entire being, you vow to never take it for granted again.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Hmmm….. I do not usually play tour guide so please do not judge my tour guide skills. If my friend from out of town is coming to New York, the first thing we are doing is grabbing food! The answer to most things in life is FOOD. I know this sounds crazy because it’s a chain restaurant, but if my friend visiting does not have a Shake Shack in their hometown, we are stopping there for burgers, french fries and vanilla milk shakes 😉 Then we would hop on the subway and head to Little Island, which is a unique new park pier within the larger Hudson River Park. After, we would probably grab some ice cream at “Sugar Hill Creamery”, one of New York’s best ice cream shops and do some sight seeing. Can’t forget dinner at “John’s of Bleecker St”, my favorite New York pizza spot. To finish the night, we would walk across the street to “Magnolia’s Bakery”.
Wow … that is a lot of dairy huh O_o
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Along my music journey, I am blessed to say that I have encountered some incredible people who have played a role in inspiring the musician I am today. One in particular, John Barbis. Without his help, guidance and support, I would not be the musician and person I am today.
Josh Hoang. JohnDeckerStudio. Maria Johnson