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Woman of Indie: Geri X – Whiskey and Cigarettes
In a world filled with generic music and pop packaged artists, Geri X is a breath of fresh air. A force to be reckoned with, she pours her heart and soul into her music. Writing music is second nature for Geri and she dedicates her time to bringing her passionate expression to her fans.
Born in Bulgaria, Geri X grew up in the United States as a free spirited artist. She is intense, genuine, and original. She holds nothing back as she crafts her music. Geri began her musical journey in the Tampa Bay music scene but is quickly spreading her name all across the country.
Geri X is no stranger to recording, Whiskey and Cigarettes is her eleventh album but it stands apart from the rest as a stripped down testament to her talent. On other recordings Geri demonstrated her rocker roots with a full band. On W&C she enters the studio solo. She records the music without backup musicians, taking on the vocals, guitar, and keys. The entire album is a treat to existing fans but a real eye opener for first time listeners. It showcases her talent and features her voice in a pure and amazing light.
The title track starts off with a simple acoustic guitar and as the vocal enters a beautiful story unfolds in the great folk tradition. The music is merely a tool to help facilitate the feeling that Geri is so passionately portraying as she sings. Her voice is amazing with character and depth. It soothes in a heart-felt way that is lost in many vocalists.
“Faithless” pulls in influences from the great folk artists like Johnny Cash. The song rolls along as Geri X proclaims that her beliefs lay not with a god watching over her but in what she knows to be true: whiskey, cigarettes, a 38, and her guitar. Bold and powerful, Geri X shares her thoughts and passions. It’s a peak inside who she is and what drives her to make music.
Geri’s lyrics are creative and poetic. She tackles subjects that are obviously close to her heart. With songs such as “Architect” she questions the world around her.
“If God is an architect,
Why would he watch,
Why would he watch
All his buildings fall?”
The simplicity of the guitar allows her voice and lyrics to take center stage. The meaning is clear; Geri X is crafting a story.
Geri has been working hard on a new album set to be released in May called Work is the Wolf. She returns to the use of a full band and delivers a dynamic sound that comes with adding percussion and other instruments. Several of the tracks are lighter then Whiskey and Cigarettes but still deliver the classic Geri X sound that fans have come to expect.
With her ability to write lyrics that open her soul to the world and voice that will mesmerize audiences, Geri X has certainly marked her spot as one of the best “Women of Indie.” Her youth, talent, and dedication are indications that she has bright future ahead of her.
IMR: It’s nice to talk to you. First off, congrats on being selected for our issue of Indie Music Reviewer for our “Women of Indie.”
GX: Thank You
IMR: I want to start off by saying you obviously pour your soul and passion into your songs. Do you find writing to come naturally?
GX: Yea, very much so, when my head is swimming with constant train of thought. The only thing I’ve ever been good at is writing. I can’t stop thinking ever so it’s the only thing that’s kept me sane over the years.
IMR: I was told to ask you, how many songs have you actually written?
GX: Well over 700!
IMR: Oh my goodness! What inspires you to write?
GX: Everything inspires me but mostly the people that are in my life, things that affect me directly. I’m more of a storyteller. I’m not much of a musician or even a songwriter or singer. I’m definitely a storyteller. The way I write songs is just like this conversation. It comes out in full sentences, full paragraphs because I want to say something to someone. I never really feel like people are listening to me unless I’m singing. The inspiration really comes from wanting to say something to someone that I care about.
IMR: It definitely comes across in your music. On Whiskey & Cigarettes you went at the recording alone and it really brought the lyrics to the spotlight. What made you chose to go without the band backing you up?
GX: I had a pretty rough patch. I was with my previous band for about 5 years and I got really sick. I had three ulcers, was throwing up blood and was really depressed. It exhausted me to no end. I broke up the band, came home and quit music for like 3 days. Literally I said, “No more music. I’m done.” Then I got a phone call for a show and I was like, “Well what else am I going to do with my life?” So I took the show and I started playing again. But it was very exhausting to be so emotionally available, caring, and babysitting other people. So it was important to me to go back to day one. The first full records that I released, I recorded at home, and I played all the instruments. You know I did the whole thing so it was important to me to learn how to be songwriter again because I got lost in producing the band and having these full-band shows and worry where the instruments should go. Whiskey and Cigrattes is definitely more organic. It came together more organically because it was just about me and my guitar, singing, and telling a story. Regardless of how depressing it might be. I went at layering the record myself and playing all the instruments. I needed to find my identity again as a musician and songwriter.
IMR: It was really awesome. Personally my favorite was “Faithless.” First off the lyrics in that were fantastic. You really seemed to be bringing up some questions that a lot of people have and they just don’t know how to express. The feel I kind of got from the music end of it was almost like a Johnny Cash feel. Was that something you were kind of going for?
GX: Every song that I write is kind of like a book on its own. I never been able to sit down and say “Damn it, I’m going to write a rock song,” or “Today I’m going to write I country song.” I wish I was like that and maybe my career would be more successful if I could just focus on one damn thing. The song comes out the way it does. My heart and really what’s in my bones and my blood is old school blues, jazz, and country. You can definitely see that influence in it. It’s not like a deliberate thing. It’s not on purpose, it just happens. It comes out like that; I can’t help it.
IMR: Your next album is coming out in May. What should fans expect from Work is the Wolf?
GX: Work is the Wolf is a lot like every other record I’ve released. A lot of new stories. I’m definitely leaning a lot more towards a blues-y Robert Johnson, Cole Porter type of thing meets Billie Holiday. It sounds very old. It’s not as sad as previous records so that’s a good thing. There are a couple of fast songs on it. I’m in a better headspace in my life right now to finally not be embarrassed about being happy and being stable and being able to write about it. It will be a little better produced then Whiskey and Cigarettes. That [album] was my way of saying, “F*ck it, I’m not worrying about mixing it or mastering it.” I mean Whiskey and Cigarettes was mixed on my laptop, which is 9 years old, and recorded on a 10-year-old version of Garageband. It was mixed to the speakers that are built into the laptop. That’s it, that’s all it is. I never mastered it. I never listened to it on actual speakers. That’s what I did and then I just sent it in to print and I heard it once after. I refuse to listen to my record. I know it’s pretty lo-fi.
IMR: Do you have any other creative outlets other then songwriting?
GX: When I have writer’s block, I draw. That’s the only time you’ll see me drawing. And I’ve got some fans by my drawings but they’re really not that good. If I can’t write, I’ll draw it. But I also love cooking. I know that sounds really strange. The only other thing I’ve ever wanted to be is a chef. But I don’t know how to stop playing music.
IMR: You have a really great down-to-earth rocker image. You have a lot of tattoos. Do you have any cool stories about them?
GX: I don’t know, except the last one. You know I got my first tattoo when I was 16. I dropped out of high school when I was 16 and started pursuing music full-time; but when I was still in high school, I got my first. My third tattoo I got was my giant chest piece, which was the most painful thing I’ve ever gone under. I just never stopped. Every single tattoo that I have is for someone. And most of them are for my family. Most of them are for my mom and my sister, just things I don’t want to forget. I’ve got a couple of tattoos that I share with people, group tattoos, which are meaningful. I don’t even notice them. I know I have green hair and tattoos. I know I look wild. I guess you just stop noticing it after awhile. They are a part of me and I draw all of them. I design all the tattoos I have. It’s even more normal to me cause it’s my drawings.
IMR: So if you could only sing or play guitar for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
GX: I’m not much of a guitar player so I guess sing. But I’m really bad at singing without playing. I’m terrible at it. It sort of goes hand in hand, if you catch me signing without a guitar I do a terrible job. It’s like a suit of armor and the rhythm. My rhythm’s terrible without keeping rhythm on the guitar or playing the spoons or something. I need some kind of instrument in order to perform correctly.
IMR: So what’s your next big adventure? What do you want to tell the readers of IMR about yourself and where you’re headed?
GX: It’s always uncertain. My planning skills aren’t up to par yet. I’m pretty much doing the same thing as I did last year. I just hope I can expand a little. I’ve been releasing records and I’ve been touring. I’m very experienced in it and I love it. I live in a car. I just hope to reach more people because it will make it much easier for me to go to these places. I’ve never been to New York. I’ve never been to Seattle. Those are places I want to go to but it’s only possible if I have fans there.
IMR: So it’s all about market expansion for you at this point?
GX: Yea, which is all very boring to all the fans. They don’t care and, well, they either like you or they don’t. If they like you they don’t understand why you’re not there for them. I just want people to understand what I’m doing. I want to play music for the sake of playing music. Music matters and its not about the guitars, its not about the money, its not about the tours, the fame, or anything like that. It’s about the music because music matters. Silence is so tense and everyone needs music in their life. As stupid and as hippy as that sounds, that’s it.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Album Name: Whiskey and Cigarettes
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
Band Members: Geri X (vocals, guitar, keys)
About Jen CarrollAll I've ever wanted to do is work in the music industry. Music is a passion and a way of life. Currently I'm a student at Full Sail University majoring in Entertainment Business. I'm a concert-aholic and love to surround myself in everything artistic and creative.
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