21st Century Gala
Fifteen years after her hits Freed From Desire and Let A Boy Cry, multi-platinum Italian pop mistress Gala Rizzatto tells Marc Andrews about destiny, bisexuality and how gay men freed her strength.
DNA: Hi Gala. How are you doing? Gala: Right now I am in this situation [lifts her leg to show a cast on her right foot]. I broke my foot dancing. It was at a dance class and it just happened. Where do you reside these days? Brooklyn, New York. I was here ten years ago when the only thing here was the Brooklyn Brewery. I was kind of desperate because I didn’t have the money to live in Manhattan anymore. Within two or three years a club called Output started. It’s like The Tunnel which was really gay and edgy, but now you go for the music. Nobody gives a shit if you’re gay or not. That must be quite different to when you started clubbing then? Yes it is. It’s also funny now when I watch my video for Let A Boy Cry. At the time it was a real problem with Vatican City in Italy because there were two boys kissing in it in a really sweet way. They were actually brothers, the two guys, and I asked them to kiss each other, as I was also co-director. They look like a couple, which was my intention, and people were bothered by it. Now it’s the Same Love era and no one would blink! Yes, but there are still many things to change. For me they are not gay or lesbian issues but human rights issues. Has being openly bisexual impacted your career? Yes. What bothers me is that as soon as you say you are bisexual in this society people say you are gay. No, I am not gay; I am bisexual. I had a boyfriend for ten years and a girlfriend for a while. I am attracted to human beings. I do have a partner at the moment – a man. Did you always feel like this? I loved girls more as a teenager and had real crushes. They were very pure and platonic, though. Prince was my idol, music-wise. For me, he was the first guy onstage with girls playing guitar – I didn’t even know Wendy and Lisa were gay or that two girls could be married. I met them in Minneapolis and they were definitely my idols [laughs]. You were signed to Prince’s manager for a while, weren’t you? Yes. He looked after Prince and Sinead O’Connor and for me, a little woman from a little Italian city, to get to him was a sign from God. People who remember your big hits Freed From Desire and Let A Boy Cry might be wondering now… what happened to you? [Carefully] Contractually I cannot declare it in an interview but I never stopped making music. I didn’t have kids, but I was making music every day of my life. The head of my record company said to me, “We think you are the European Madonna!” and I knew I was because I always had this drive. My destiny went very differently, but that’s life. But you’re back now with a very artistic video for Taste Of Me. I’m very proud of the video. It took two years to be able to collaborate with the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. I’m still here, I never left and want my fans to join me on Galasound, my little world online. You’re also an acclaimed photographer, particularly focusing on images of men together. I have a real affinity for gay men. I’m attracted to men mainly, but I feel like a gay man. I don’t associate with women so much. I grew up in Italy, a very chauvinistic country, and gay men helped me a lot with my sexuality and finding my strength within. more: Galasound.com. Gala’s new single Taste Of Me is available worldwide through iTunes with the HD video airing on Vimeo.
What bothers me is that as soon as you say you are bisexual in this society people say you are gay.