Let’s be real, women in music have been blessing the world with some of the best songs out there since *checks notes* forever. Many queer people have their patron divas that they worship and promote their music like their lives depend on it. Well, prepare to add two more to that pantheon – Gia Woods (she/her) and BAYLI (she/her).
Native to Los Angeles, Gia Woods grew up listening to Green Day, Björk, Radiohead, and Madonna. Once she recorded her first single “Only a Girl”, her eclectic taste in music combined with her ability to express her sexuality. As a queer Persian artist, she’s carving a space in music that reflects her bold, confident, and luxurious sound. With songs like “Lesbionic”, “Oh My God”, “Fame Kills” and “Next Girlfriend”, Gia breathes life into fever dream pop tracks about love, sex, and fame.
Brooklyn-born BAYLI glides across her tracks by mixing hypnotic vocals and hard-hitting bars to create music with tinges of pop, rock, hip hop, and r&b. As a Black queer artist, she’s paving a path that isn’t beholden to a clear genre, instead she breaks them down and merges them to create her own personal sound, and develop her comfortability in her sexuality. Her tracks “Sushi for Breakfast”, “Telly Bag”, and “Think of Drugs” all sound different, but uniquely BAYLI.
INTO spoke with both artists about their new glitzy, treat yourself anthem “Spend It” (the third single from Gia’s Heartbreak County Vol. 2 EP), what music influenced their unique sound, and inspiring the LGBTQ community with their unapologetically queer music.
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How do you describe your sound?
Gia: II grew up listening to so many different genres of music. My favorite artists growing up were Radiohead and Madonna. So I think through my artistry, all I’ve ever done is kind of channel my inner child of nostalgic music. The next music is going to be another thing I listened to growing up. It’s a lot of different elements like dance and alternative pop and definitely just pop. So, yeah, I would definitely describe my sound kind of just like a mixture of everything I grew up listening to.
BAYLI: Yeah, I think I definitely relate to Gia. It’s definitely an amalgamation of all the sounds I had growing up. I think with me, the things that I focus on are the concepts and just vibes. But it’s one of those things where I have always loved the big commercial pop girls, Rihanna, Beyonce, and then there’s a dash of New York in there. And the list goes on for me, literally in terms of inspiration. So I think with me, I find myself in that space of really being genre-bending and it has always been difficult to say, this is what I do genre wise.
Both of you have music that never shies away from talking about queerness. How do you hope to impact the LGBTQ community with your work?
BAYLI: Gia and I just had this conversation a few days ago. I was such a nerdy, reserved, not super confident person growing up. I still have some of those elements. I just don’t care about what people think. So through my music, I can be more confident, I can be more bold. I took owning my sexuality in that way through my music as almost like a cathartic release for myself. And then hopefully in the process, it inspires the evergrowing queer community. That’s kind of why I tried that with my song “Sushi for Breakfast”.
Gia: Honestly, I would say the same exact thing. We literally did talk about this a couple of days ago. I grew up so shy and sheltered in a very old fashioned Persian household. I never really had the opportunity to find myself and my sexuality growing up. As I got older, through my peers in high school, I started to realize my sexuality and own it. Music and songwriting were my therapy. The second that I was able to write “Only a Girl”, it was a release for me and within that first record, I think I finally tapped into my true authenticity.
Gia: For any LGBTQ kid growing up, I just want them to know you can find your queer community, whether that’s through doing something you love or finding something you like to do by yourself and figuring out your therapy within it all.
You have a new song together called “Spend It”. How did this collaboration come together?
Gia: I started the record during the pandemic, and it was obviously a really scary, confusing time. It really did feel like the world was ending. So that’s kind of where the line came from. The world is ending, so spend it on me. And I kind of was in a place where I was just like, I want to be spoiled, whether it’s by myself or by someone else. I don’t give a fuck.
Gia: I want to do whatever the fuck I want to do because the world is ending, so why not spend it on me, period. It’s, like, as simple as you guys. But then as we wrote the song, I was like, holy shit. This is giving Y2K nostalgia. This is a lot of the music that I listened to growing up like Timbaland, The Neptunes. I love how the production gives you that nostalgic feeling. And I immediately thought of BAYLI. I was like, she would be so perfect on this song and I love everything she represents. I love her music, her voice, and her lyrics, especially.
So I was like, I know she’s going to fucking slay this. And we literally sent it to her and she fucking slayed, period.
BAYLI: You guys made it so easy for me.
There’s so much positivity and support between you two.
Gia: Oh, my God. That’s literally how we felt when we met up in L.A. a couple of days ago. We’re like, wait, we actually relate to each other so much. We’re kind of the same person.
BAYLI: Why is it rare to kind of find that community, to find that positivity in each other?
Gia: It shouldn’t be, but it weirdly kind of is. I don’t know if it’s like the music industry or whatever, but it’s a little challenging sometimes to find other female artists that are just only trying to uplift you and stand with you. There is sometimes weird competitive shit in this weird circle of things. So it’s really refreshing to just be like, I see you, you see me. Let’s uplift each other and hopefully inspire the people.
Now with this collaboration down, do either of you have a queer artist that you would love to collaborate with?
BAYLI: Oh my gosh. That’s such a hard one. Maybe Lady Gaga. I always say Rihanna. Is she even a queer person? I think she represents so much queer culture in so many different ways. For me, again, I don’t feel like there’s even a lot of queer people in the commercial music space. There’s a lot of emerging artists. But I’m hoping that we can be some of those first artists that are fully members of the community and really doing music on that level. But it’s weird that that’s kind of a difficult one to answer. I’m like, “who’s actually gay?”.
Gia: I know, right? All my favorite ones are huge icons that aren’t queer people. Or maybe they are. I don’t know. Not knowing says it all.
What’s one thing that you want your fans to know about you?
Gia: I just want my fans to know, as a queer person growing up, you don’t have to be so scared, sheltered, and feel like you’re alone. That’s something that I really do stand by. Growing up, I didn’t have many peers of mine in the same community to go to and look up to. I just hope I can be a voice for anyone that is struggling within their identity, whatever it may be. I want them to know that they’re not alone. And I’m definitely someone that grew up in such a crazy household. If you can see me kind of make it to the other side, then I hope that I can inspire others to know that it does get better. There’s no blueprint for how you get there, but you will eventually get there.
BAYLI: Personally, I am very nerdy. I’m very reserved. I’m not like this confident person that I think a lot of fans and listeners might see us as or see me as. So one of those things where it’s like I’m a normal, flawed, insecure person and I think I just try and be vulnerable through my lyrics. A lot of my favorite artists and writers have helped me get through those moments by just being vulnerable. So, I try to be as real and stripped back as possible. Even with the facade of “I’m a bad bitch, listen to my music”. I always try to let people know that.
BAYLI: When I meet people at shows that are fans, I’m in tears with them. Like how do you even know my music? We’re all on the same playing field and any of us can tap into that inner power. And you don’t have to be this perfect, beautiful, confident, unreal goddess. Being your most vulnerable, most balanced, and sometimes even your most quiet self is the perfect self.
Gia: Preach. Honestly. So I 100% agree with that.
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Final question and one that I have to ask because I know BAYLI comes from the east coast and Gia, you come from the west. So, which coast is better, east or west?
BAYLI: Dang, that’s a hard one.
Gia: I already know mine is the east coast. But I think everyone says the opposite of where they’re from. Unless, BAYLI, you don’t agree with that.
BAYLI: I’m so spoiled. I think the east coast is so fire, honestly.
Gia: Yeah, you are spoiled. I’m jealous.
BAYLI: It’s like I’m in Europe now. It took me 6 hours to get here. You’re so connected with the rest of the world. Obviously when you’re on the west coast, there is the biggest ocean in the world, the Pacific, to cross. Personally, I don’t like favorites, but I do love the east coast. I love the east climate and I love the people.
Gia: Everyone in my life is from the east coast. Oddly enough, all of my ex-girlfriends are from the east coast. I’ve never dated anyone from L.A. So that says a lot.
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