Visionary songstress Gina Citoli, who lives with her husband in rural Prescott, Wisc., is committed to sustainable living and promoting world peace through song and theater – in fact, in a combination of the two in the past couple years through her one-woman show "A Cabaret Of Consciousness," an inspirational journey of music, stories and humor on the nature of creation, evolution and human potential.
Former lead vocalist with the band Alchemy VII, Citoli commands the stage with presence and power, and she channels her passion through an ageless spirituality that reminds us to be loving, and supportive and heart-centered with every step we take in life. Two songs from her cabaret show – "It All Comes Down to Love" and "A Thousand Years of Peace" – were winners in the Hollywood Spiritual Film and Entertainment Festival, and her song "Breath of Spirit" won the 2006 Crimson Circle New Energy Music Festival. She has performed her show to standing ovations and rave reviews in New York’s Battery Park, at the Den Design-Forum of the Museums Quarter in Vienna, Austria, and at the Beverly Wilshire Screening facility in Beverly Hills, Calif. Her music is featured internationally on World Puja radio online.
The following is what Gina Citoli had to say on a number of topics and ideas, including her recent recording sessions with Grammy award winning producer Barry Goldstein, who is currently the host of Now Vibrations at WorldPuja.org.
On who has inspired her…My father, who always believed in what I was doing. My husband, with whom I’ve been with for 23 years, through so many ups and downs. We have refinanced our house several times to pay for some of these projects. And I’m inspired by Deepak Chopra.
On her musical role models when she was a young girl…When I was very young I was a dancer and was really into theater, Broadway. Definitely Barbra Streisand was a favorite. As I grew up, I was impressed by the vocals of the rock bands like Journey and Rush, Yes and Heart. John Lennon was an inspiration to me, in terms of the content of what he was saying.
On working with Grammy award winning producer Barry Goldstein…He happened to hear my song "It All Comes Down to Love" because he’s associated with World Puja radio, and World Puja has been using it on one of their shows. When we initially talked about him working with me, he said he was impressed by my voice and the content of the music, the lyrics. So he happened to hear that song and said, "I know this is not one you sent me, but would you consider redoing it?" And I said, "Absolutely." He felt it had the quality to be a world anthem for love, and that’s what it sounds like. The way he has arranged it, it sounds as if love is just marching across the planet.
On why she chose to record solo…I talked to Barry quite a bit before we entered the project and one of the reasons I chose to do it by myself and not with Alchemy VII was because I really wanted to focus on my vocals and see how far I could push it. I’m surprised what he got out of me, really. I just encourage everybody to stretch themselves. If we all did that, it would stretch the level and the standard of the entire planet, rather than settling for mediocrity. What I say in the show is to turn your lives from something common to something magnificent.
On the sound of the newly produced songs…There are 20 tracks of vocals on some of them. Barry has me sounding literally like an armada of rocking angels behind myself. I’ve always wanted a lot of vocals, but when you have a band, there’s not room for all that. Barry has provided a lot of electronica and ambiance. A couple of the bridges have an Enya-type feel to them.
On the second song being produced, "These are the Days"…It’s about the times we’re in now, the new horizon and what it looks like. The chorus is, "Soul to soul we come together, heart to heart and peace forever, hand in hand, love will be the way." We’re right here on the threshold, and it’s about encouraging everyone to raise that energy, to keep going and seeing the vision in it.
On her new company, Earth Star Entertainment…Once we start running in the black, half of the profits from the cabaret and the CD will be used to help further world peace.
On her sense of the energies of the world right now…To me, it feels like a new feeling, a new energy, a new place. I don’t know if it’s so much a physical place as the spiritual place where we dwell within ourselves. It’s a place of love without fear and it inspires a far more conscious way of being. It’s about the consciousness. Once the consciousness is high enough, we wouldn’t consider polluting the environment. We wouldn’t consider killing another human being. To me, that’s where we’re headed.
On what Mother Earth tells us in "The Cabaret of Consciousness"…She starts out by saying that there’s a natural order, and that this natural order is out of balance. Mother Earth tells us that we can put things back into balance. We must get past fear, and then we have to use our imagination. The whole point of the show is to encourage you to be the best you can be. If you want a great world, create one within yourself, because it will reflect outside you. Pretty soon, it will catch on. Mother Earth talks about the law of attraction. She talks about the law of cause and effect. Mother Earth is saying, "Let’s put the natural order back into balance and then we can go from there." Because if we do that I think everything else will line up.
On one person’s ability to change the world…In the song "Mental Ecology," Mother Earth says, "Okay, now we need a new mind. The mind has an environment of its own, so think about greening it up, because it really will have an effect in your outer world. You live in a period of time where you can no longer put the blame outside yourself. If you don’t like the way things are, clean up your mind!" A paradigm of thinking has been so imbedded in humanity for so long that tells us that we are not in control. We are used to feeling victimized. That it’s been put upon us by governments and churches and people who want to control people. When people finally get to the place where they say, "I can have control over my own life and I can make a difference in the world," that’s part of the waking-up process.
On the need to convince people to be more conscious of the environment…One of the things that’s said in the show is that your view of the world is a direct result of how much you respect yourself. If I respect me, then I’m going to gain respect. If I love myself, I’m going to be loved. The more I do the internal work, the more it reflects in my outer world. Regarding the environment, our land is organic. I buy organic. I’ve been doing that for years. It’s nothing new for me. It’s just part of my life. I’m very aware of composting and I stay aware of how I can have the least effect on the planet. If we become the example, we don’t have to lecture anybody or point fingers. On my website, take a look at an article I provide called "Nine Keys to Healing Planet Earth."
More on how the external world mirrors the internal one…Look at the world as a whole – the chaos, the pollution, the wars – and then look at people – the anxiety within them, and the discontent. It becomes a vicious circle. If we consciously start putting better things into our systems – not just physical things, but what we read, what we put into our view – and if we start feeding ourselves with beauty, pretty soon the whole outer world will change. People will start getting together and creating gardens together and organic things, and using their imagination to create solutions, rather than pointing the finger at big companies. They’re only a reflection of us….It’s all about cleaning yourself up, being the best you can be. If we all started taking more pride and really did everything we did very well and were focused and raised our standards, we could literally change things overnight.
On the effect of "The Cabaret of Consciousness" on her life…It’s been one of the most interesting journeys of my life. Alchemy VII had parted ways for like the second or third time, and my dad had died. I was just in a weird place of nothing. And I thought, "Okay, where am I going to go from here?" So, I started looking at all the music and songs that I had. There are three Alchemy VII songs in the cabaret: "The Natural Order," "A Thousand Years of Peace" and "Eyes of a Child." Then Marshall Davis (keyboardist with Alchemy VII and solo collaborator) and I wrote the rest of the songs. The first time I did the cabaret, at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, Michelle Dunkirk (a violinist) came up to me afterwards and said, "Do you do everything you say in the show?" I said, "Well, I’m learning that I really have to give it my best shot to do so." It’s been my own journey. Anytime you are presenting something, if you’re going to put something out there to the public, you’ve got to be darn sure you know what you’re talking about. The last two and a half years have been one of the largest growth periods in my entire life.
Visit www.GinaCitoli.net to listen and download her newly produced songs "It All Comes Down to Love" and "These are the Days," as well as view her schedule of upcoming schedule of events.