Einstein’s Girl: An Interview w/ Gia Mora, Singer, Actress & Writer
Triple-threat performer Gia Mora captivates audiences with her signature four-octave range, syrupy-sweet vocals, astute sense of humor, and amazing ability to make science fun.
Known for her original compositions and work in theater, Gia will return to Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club in February as EINSTEIN’S GIRL, a cabaret show about the “science of love…theoretically speaking.”
Combining original music, jazz standards, and stand-up comedy; Gia uses cutting-edge science as a metaphor for interpersonal relations in the digital age.
The District Insider recently chatted with the smart and sassy singer about her musical influences and upcoming highly acclaimed show!
THE DISTRICT INSIDER: Who is Gia Mora [the woman and the sound]?
GIA MORA: Oddly enough, I love talking about my work but not about myself. I’ve always felt like an outsider, so I spend a lot of my life as a chameleon, adapting to whatever social situation or genre of music I happen to be in. In many ways, singing is easier than speaking for me which may sound strange because for many people the idea of singing in public is terrifying. I’ve been performing since I was really little, probably about three, and for me it’s as natural as breathing. I feel the most alive when I’m performing.
THE DISTRICT INSIDER: Who are some of your biggest influences in music?
GIA MORA: Despite the fact that we have completely different tastes in and approaches to music, my dad is my biggest influence. He’s an amazingly talented jazz guitarist, and everything I learned about music I learned from him. I have to thank Sarah Vaughn for teaching me to sing jazz–alas, not in voice lessons but by committing her style to the annals of music history. By the age of 15, I could sing her album Sassy Sings and Swings note for note, although I’ll never have the depth of vocal tone that she so singularly possesses. Even now when I play with my dad, I like to trot out my impression. I’d like to think a casual passerby who caught an impromptu performance would wonder how a woman who died over 30 years ago was suddenly making an appearance in my humble hometown of Wheat Ridge, Colorado.
THE DISTRICT INSIDER: How did “Einstein’s Girl” come to be?
GIA MORA: I moved to LA almost two years ago, and one night when I first got there, I heard an episode of Science Friday with physics professor Lawrence Krauss talking about his new book, A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing. At that moment I was a thousand miles from anyone I was related to and three thousand miles away from my partner, Brad. It struck me immediately that love affairs, like universes, always happen, even when we don’t believe they will. So I started reading everything I could about theoretical physics, and before I knew it, I had a working metaphor. It took about a year of research and writing before I debuted the show in LA last February.
THE DISTRICT INSIDER: How do you prepare for a show?
GIA MORA: What I love most about this show is that it is ever evolving. Every performance has new material–both music and jokes–based on the latest science/technology/pop culture memes. I’ve gotten to talk about the Mars rovers, the Nobel prize, and government sanctioned domestic spying. I’m also tremendously lucky that my musical collaborator, the incomparable Charlie Barnett, seamlessly follows me and adds a wonderful score to my monologue all without rehearsal or even knowing what I’m going to say. His soundtrack to the show makes it a truly a unique experience every night.
THE DISTRICT INSIDER: You are a certified triple-threat! How do you balance your many talents – singing, acting, and writing?
GIA MORA: First, thank you! All my work bleeds together because whatever I’m doing, I’m telling stories. I tell stories even when no one wants to hear them! My poor partner has to put up with hearing the ridiculous antics that take place in my dreams every morning. For me, stories help me understand the world around me and help me navigate my little path around this pale blue dot. I’m fortunate enough to have relationships with other artists who allow me to inhabit their work, like the great composing team I’m working with at the Kennedy Center right now, Kooman and Dimond. I love every opportunity I get to keep all of my singing, dancing, acting, and writing chops alive in many different mediums.
THE DISTRICT INSIDER: What’s your favorite science-themed joke?
GIA MORA: I wish I could take credit for these gems: “Are you made of copper and tellurium? Because you’re Cu Te.” (Oh, periodic table, you’re hi-LA-rious!) And: “Never trust atoms. They make up everything.” Boom! By the way, these are not in my show, but I love the fact that other people want to write science jokes for geeks like me.
THE DISTRICT INSIDER: Name three things you cannot live without.
GIA MORA: Spanky, Wamba, and Fryman. Let me explain… Spanky is my steadfast feline companion of the past nine years. Wamba is his new little buddy and six pounds of pure delight in my life. Fryman is a canyon in LA that I hike at least twice a week with friends to clear my head and find inspiration. As I’m without all three of these things for the next month and a half, I’m making due the best I can. And to further showcase my obsessive-compulsive behavior, I’ve already compiled the next 67 things I can’t live without. The complete compendium will surely appear on my blog some night at three in the morning when I’m too excited to fall asleep.
THE DISTRICT INSIDER: Do you have any new projects in the works?
GIA MORA: Lots! I’m currently recording a new CD with Charlie. We’re also about to debut a new show in March called MODERN SONGBOOK which features original songs (written by both Charlie and by me and Brad) as well classics old and new. Then I go back to LA and start writing and shooting new sketches as well as continuing to work on several TV pilots I have knocking around in my head. I often will forego actual work by writing songs instead. Last night’s creation: The English Teachin’ Cowboy. That title just cracks me up.
LIVE IN CONCERT
SEE GIA MORA AS “EINSTEIN’S GIRL” – February 15th!
Gia Mora will bring her signature wit and intellectual prowess to Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club (7719 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD) on February 15th for a hilarious MUST-SEE LIVE show — Einstein’s Girl!
Join Gia as she explores the “science of love” through cabaret; combining original music and standards; stand-up comedy, and a crash course in cutting edge science!