Q&A With Gaby Castro-Morode
Gaby Castro is a San Francisco Bay Area-based singer-songwriter, instrumentalist and activist. She studied contemporary voice under Angela Arana and earned a Bachelor of Music in Composition-Songwriting and a Minor in Music Business at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota. Since then, she has spent a lot of time in the Twin Cities and often travels there to perform. She has released three studio albums of original music and has performed nationally and internationally. Her next album, Foundations & Destinations, will be released later this year and we can’t wait to hear more!
Q: Why is living tobacco-free important to you?
I've had asthma all my life so cigarette smoke has always bothered me. Growing up in California (where people smoke significantly less) made me have a wake-up call when I moved to Minnesota for college and saw all these people smoking. All these people damaging their bodies and really not seeming to care because "everyone does it." I pride myself on being as healthy as possible and living tobacco-free is a huge part of that.
Q: How do you know when a work is finished?
My songs take several forms before they're finished. It's usually about 3-4 drafts later when I'm fully satisfied and have received enough feedback to know my song is done. However, I'm always playing around with them and have a few songs that are still evolving almost 10 years later.
Q: What elements inspire you and your work?
I write about life, its challenges and positives, and love. I'm very passionate about breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness and that works itself into many of my songs as well.
Q: What is your most important tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
My guitar, definitely. I play the mandolin, ukulele, and piano as well but my guitar is my default.
Q: What mediums do you enjoy working with most? Why?
I'm a singer-songwriter, so I stick to my music. I also enjoy modeling and acting and have since I was little.
Q: How did you start making art?
I wrote my first song after being bullied in middle school. I found it was how I could express myself and let my feelings out, so I just went from there and didn't stop. Once I started performing my songs live and hearing from people that they were connecting with my lyrics, I knew I was doing something right.
Q: Why do you make art?
Music is a universal language and the best way I know how to communicate. It's how I make statements and stand up for issues I'm passionate about, like mental health and feminism. When people message me over social media or come up to me at shows to tell my music made an impact on their life, I know I'm reaching my goals.
Q: What themes do you pursue?
Love, friendship, mental health, feminism, strength.
Q: What's the last artwork you purchased for yourself?
I just pre-ordered Kacey Musgraves' new album Golden Hour and I'm so excited to hear it!
Q: What's the first artwork you ever sold?
My first album of 8 original songs when I was 16!
Q: What do you like about your work?
I'm very truthful with my songs. It's really important to me to express myself without holding back.
Q: What is your dream job if you could choose anything?
Touring nationally and internationally. If I can share my music with as many people as possible and support myself from it, I'll be happy.
Q: Name three artists you are inspired by.
I'm constantly inspired by so many musicians. Right now I'm listening to Kari Arnett (fellow Minneapolis musician!), James Bay (I can't believe it took me until last year to hear him), and Hunter Hayes (I've been listening to him since high school and love that he's always putting out new music).
Q: What message do you try to communicate through your work?
Embrace yourself, flaws and all. No one is perfect, but we can aspire to improve ourselves every day.