Gillian Baci prefers to make music on her own terms. In her words, “when it’s music for Gillian Baci, it has to be what Gillian wants”. He describes his music as “philosophical pop music”. Gillian Baci, baptized Gilbert Bassey is a pop artist, filmmaker and writer. Like many artists, Gillian Baci started very young as a backing vocalist. He officially launched his music career in 2016 with Fool’s Gold. After a long break, the pop artist returns this year with 2 singles, an EP and unreleased music galore. Gillian Baci’s latest offer, Fired came out in September. In this slightly edited interview, which largely focuses on her music, Gillian Baci sheds light on her lifestyle and musical passions.
Where does this interview find you? Is there music playing in your head? Fill us in.
I just came back from the supermarket. The day was a bit slow. Ayra Star’s Rush got stuck in my head for a while. It’s such a tune – the chorus is really catchy. I remember listening to the snippet before the song was released and I felt like it would be big.
What song instantly gets you out of a bad mood or a song you like the most these days?
Unfortunately, no song has this power. If I’m in a bad mood, I’m in it. Unless it’s a bad mood induced by simply waking up. For that, my pop playlist ‘Heaven’ does the trick.
How would you describe the kind of music you make?
Philosophical pop music or music for the thinking human.
Growing up, was music always an important part of your life? Can you recall your first musical memory?
In general, my memory is crap so my first musical memory is that I was in the children’s choir. I was probably 5 years old then. Even though my mother was in the choir, I think she may have put me there as soon as I could make melodies.
When it comes to consuming music, I have always enjoyed listening to pop music as far back as I can remember. I remember buying CDs on my way home from boarding school and my siblings and learning the lyrics and singing. Sometimes we also created choreographies to the music. We once recreated a Jennifer Lopez dance sequence from her If you want to be with me music video or live performance. I think we also did one for Usher and Celine Dion.
As an artist, what part of the creative process would you say you find most fulfilling?
It’s hard to say, to be honest. Sometimes I think I’m good at melodies, especially the pop type. However, my lyrics have always had good reviews. So I guess it’s fair to say the songwriting process (melody and lyrics).
Tell us a bit about how Fired came together?
First, I discovered a cool pop instrument on YouTube and loaded it onto my DAW. I spent time creating melodies. I chose the loudest for the different parts of the song and started writing. Once I was happy with the lyrics, I recorded a rough demo and sent it to a few of my fan friends for feedback. I then sent the raw demo to my producer in Argentina, Jeza, to make an original beat. We went back and forth several times before settling into the pace we have now. I recorded the song and then sent it to my engineer in Czechia, Romuald. We also went back and forth before settling on the fourth version of the mix.
A fun fact is that most of my songs follow this pattern. I like to work this way because the structure is manageable and leaves a lot of room for the song to evolve. This can happen within days, weeks or months. Another fun fact is Fired was recorded over a year ago. He just wasn’t chosen for Sweet Serenity EP released in April.
Do you plan to push the songs even more, say make a video?
There is already a video now. You should definitely check it out as it’s my best ever engagement video – I’ve been called a Ukrainian prince and a Brazilian angel in the comments (I’m only half kidding).
Are you currently in the studio and working on more music?
I’m always working on new music because my studio is in my house. All I have to do is find an instrument I like and the process starts all over again. It takes me about 3 hours to start and complete the writing process. Some songs naturally take longer than others, sometimes spanning several days. Sometimes I have to slow down because it created a little problem – I have over 40 unreleased songs. By the time I release a single or a project, I’ve listened to it over a hundred times. That seems like a lot until you realize that some songs have been ready for almost 2 years and some for 10 years. How I make it make sense is to go in phases. Right now I’m in the flight phase which is mostly characterized by positivity and white outfits. The next step is the fall and it will come with its own vibe. I would tell you the next 3-4 phases but that would take away the fun.
What are you looking for in collaborations?
It’s hard to answer this question honestly because I’m not interested in collaborating at the moment. It’s not because I object but because the process of negotiating the collaboration (not exactly the payment or the terms, just the effort of reaching out and making the connection) is so stressful for me because he comes up against a character trait that is sometimes a weakness – I like to be alone and do things on my own. Also, because of my song-making process, I end up finishing a song and putting myself in a position where to introduce someone, I have to cut out a verse. I’m still childish enough not to be able to choose and so I keep the status quo. But I believe that will change in the near future. However, I’m open to being featured because then it’s not me reaching out.
What do you hope fans take away from your music?
Since I’m currently operating in phases, what fans take will depend on what phase we’re in. For the flight phase, I hope they take away the peace of mind gained from interacting with the positive side of life – joy, strength, faith, resilience. For the fall phase, I still hope they take away peace of mind, but this time gained through interaction with the negative side of life – pain, fear, depression, etc.
We would like to know more about your other interests.
I have a lot. I am also a writer and filmmaker. My latest film project as a writer, director and producer, Ananze and the Zipman was licensed by Amazon Prime so you can watch it now if you want. It is about a Nigerian “superheroine” who wants to bring justice to the corrupt political elite. I have film degrees from Pan Atlantic University and the New York Film Academy. As a writer, I have written 3 novels although none have been published. The most interesting of my other interests has to be web3, also known to the general public as crypto. I wrote a book last year about Polkadot, a blockchain that connects other blockchains. Currently, I’m working with RMRK, an NFT company that builds the world’s most advanced NFT protocol with NFTs that can own other NFTs, change based on conditions, have multiple resources, and several other cool stuff. Given the newness of this industry, there are few people I can talk to about it.
In terms of artistry, do you think your approach this year is different from last year?
It’s very easy to answer. Yeah, because I wasn’t into music last year. I only came back in January after a break of 7 years.
In what aspect would you say you have experienced the greatest artistic growth since your debut?
Most of the growth hasn’t been in the arts, but it’s been on the management side, especially marketing. I’ve learned a lot now that I didn’t know in January, so I’m very excited to see how much there is left to learn.
What is most important to you when composing a song?
Two things come to mind. One, that I make a song that I want and that I don’t try to flatter anyone. There’s nothing I hate more than trying to make a song for a certain type of person. It’s different if it’s work because I can do it even in my sleep. But when it’s music for Gillian Baci, it has to be what Gillian wants. The funny thing is that Gillian ends up making songs in different genres, but it has to be on her own terms.
And secondly, it matters to me that a song has meaning. I know it’s often said that people don’t listen to lyrics and stuff, but I’m obsessed with meaning. I believe that life is inherently meaningless and the only way to make sense of it is for the human organism to do so using the great powers of its consciousness. The loss of meaning quickly leads to a loss of self. Is it any wonder that many people struggle with mental health issues?
Where would you say your heart lies musically?
In the land of meaning and pop. I love pop because it’s the only genre that can turn into anything. Since I hate being or looking one-dimensional for too long, this is the perfect genre for me. I plan to mix it with any other genre I feel.
What are you most excited about in the near future? imagine what your career will look like in 5 years. What do you see?
I see all the fun I’ve had with the music I make. To me, it’s all just a game – business, music, creativity, marketing, performance, etc. That doesn’t mean I don’t take it seriously because I do. I think life is a game. I call it the infinite game because it contains other games: life, social, business, emotional, ambition, life and all the others. I insist on seeing it as a game because it reminds me not to take anything too seriously, because in the end everything gained is lost – life, glory, glory, money, houses, cars. If you lose sight of this primordial fact, you will lose yourself in the hunt for illusions. It’s supposed to be fun even when you’re in pain, play.