Gala (born Gala Rizzatto, 6 September 1975) is an Italian pop singer and songwriter. Her debut album Come into My Life included the multiplatinum singles "Freed from Desire", "Let a Boy Cry" and "Come into My Life" which reached the Top 3 in music charts across Europe, South America, Russia and the Middle East. Gala has sold over six million records worldwide. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
|Birth name||Gala Rizzatto|
|Born||6 September 1975|
|Genres||Eurodance, dance, house, pop, electronica, rock|
|Labels||Matriarchy Records 2005–2014, Clipper Sound (Spain) 2012–2014, EMI (France / Middle East) 2006, Universal (1999–2002), DIY (Italy) 1996–1998|
Named by her parents after Salvador Dalí and Paul Éluard's muse, Gala Dali, Gala left Italy at 17 to attend art school in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1993 she moved to New York where she graduated from the Tisch School of the Arts and became a photographer capturing the New York underground scene of artists and club-goers in the city.
1996–2001: early music careerEdit
In exchange for a photo for a European DJ, Gala recorded her first demo. "Freed from Desire" was written by Gala in New York and then mailed overseas on a cassette tape. It was recorded in London and was released by Italian independent label Do It Yourself Records.
In 1996, Gala was voted Best Female Singer of the Year in Italy by the magazine Musica e Dischi. In July 1997 she was awarded the Italian Dance Award as the best pop-dance artist of the year. Gala achieved a Diamond recording award in France, a Platinum record in Benelux and a Gold record in the United Kingdom. The same year she was nominated for the Best Dance Act at the Mobo Awards in the UK alongside The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers and Orbital. In July 1997 she won Best Foreign Artist of the Year at the Midem in Cannes, France.
Between 1995 and 1998 Gala performed on the UK's BBC Top of the Pops, France's Taratata, Les Années Tubes, M6’s Hit Machine, MTV Germany, as well as performing in venues such as Bercy Stadium in Paris and Las Ventas in Madrid.
In 1998, while performing "Let a Boy Cry" on Taratata, she met Prince's manager Steve Fargnoli who began representing her. The same year she signed with Universal Records in Italy. After Steve Fargnoli's unexpected death in 2001, Gala broke her contract with Universal Records and returned to New York.
Settling in Brooklyn, Gala set out to redefine her sound, her life and her career, re-emerging as an independent artist.
In 2005, "Faraway" was released in France and Greece by EMI where it reached No. 1 on the iTunes chart and No. 6 in the national charts. "Faraway" was co-produced by Cash Money Records musician/producer Kevin Rudolf. It was featured in a Bod Man perfume TV advertisement, aired on MTV, HBO and was covered by Tamta in Greece.
In 2008 Gala formed the label Matriarchy Records, based in Brooklyn, New York. "Tough Love" is Matriarchy Records' debut album released digitally worldwide on 6 September 2009.
"Tough Love" (album) included collaborations with a host of well known producers, including drummer Deantoni Parks, Marcus Bell and Kevin Rudolf who in 2008 achieved a No. 5 Billboard (US) hit with his song featuring Lil Wayne, "Let It Rock". Gala also collaborated with Tamir Muskat, founder of Balkan Beat Box on her song "I Am The World, The World Is Me". More recently Muskat is responsible for the Jason Derulo hit Talk Dirty, which samples the same "Balkan Beat Box" production style.
Gala independently produced four music videos for the "Tough Love album". The video for the song "I Am The World, The World Is Me" was shot in collaboration with the Italian/Argentinean painter and writer Sebastiano Mauri, incorporating his video installation The Songs I Love To.
In 2009 she performed two nights at the Ethias Arena. In 2010 Gala performed at the Highline Ballroom in New York, at the Palais des Sports and at the Antique Theater in Arles. The same year she was invited to perform as the headliner at 24h velo de Louvain-la-Neuve, second largest beer event in Europe organized by the students of the Belgian University of Louvain-la-Neuve.
In 2010 "Tough Love" was featured in popular American television series The Millionaire Matchmaker (USA). The same year "Freed From Desire" was used for a Nissan television commercial in France and Spain.
In 2011, Gala performed the new single "Lose Yourself in Me" at the show Dance in the Summer in Beirut, next to Taio Cruz, T-Pain, Dev and Dash Berlin. The event was organized by MixFM Radio and "Lose Yourself in Me" reached No. 2 in the top 10 airplay charts before its release, later ranking at No. 1 in Lebanon RFX Radio for 3 consecutive weeks.
The worldwide release of the "Lose Yourself in Me" single occurred in May 2012 through Gala's independent label Matriarchy Records. The song has been played, among other stations, on Fun Radio and Radio FG in France. It has been on high rotation on Impact FM and Radio Antipode, and entered the new releases on Belgium's Fun Radio.
The "Lose Yourself in Me" music video was produced independently by Matriarchy Records in collaboration with The Masses. It was directed by Alistair Legrand brother of Victoria Legrand from the band Beach House. The video featured full LED suits and krump dancers from Los Angeles and was choreographed by Gala. After its release, the video was featured on the home page of Dailymotion, Yahoo France, The Huffington Post, The Mediateseur, and Vogue.
In 2013 Gala shot a video for the song "Taste Of Me" choreographed by Benoit Swan, Artistic Director of New York's avant-garde dance company Cedar Lake, and directed by New York-based French director Alexandre Moors (Kanye West’s "Runaway", Blue Caprice). Gala's video features the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre trained "Abdur-Rahim Jackson". The "Taste Of Me" video appears as a one single lateral dolly shot that follows five dancers including Gala interacting in an organic dance that constantly moves forward.
Inspired by her favorite director Alfred Hitchcock, Gala wanted to shoot a video that felt like a single take. Another reference was Eadweard Muybridge and his pioneering work in photographic studies of motion and in motion-picture projection. Different choreographers among Gala's favorites (Parsons, Bob Fosse, Mark Morris) are also subtly referenced in the choreography.
The "Taste Of Me" video was featured as an exclusive with Digital Spy, the most popular news and entertainment website in the UK. In Europe the video was revealed exclusively by Fun Radio Belgique, sister station to Fun Radio France, the largest group of FM radio stations claiming approximately 3.8 million listeners every day. The deluxe version of the EP includes the original production by Marcus Bell and remixes by Bimbo Jones, Hoxton Whores, Starkillers and Almighty Records. In Belgium the "Taste Of Me" video was featured in major newspaper Dernier Heure (online) and Gala appeared on RTL morning and evening news to speak about her new single.
In 2013 Gala's various new songs such as "Lose Yourself in Me", "Taste of Me" and "Love Impossible" were featured on MTV networks hit television shows Best Ink, Real World Ex-Plosion, and Road Rules Extreme Challenge and "Keeping Up with the Kardashians".
"Freed From Desire" was sampled by German band Frida Gold. The song entitled "Liebe ist meine Rebellion" went to No. 4 in the German singles chart. "Freed From Desire" was also covered by Nouvelle Star "Dana", live on French television and by Greek-Swedish pop star Elena Paparizou at the MAD Video Music Awards 2013.
Gala headlined at the 2014 Winter Olympics at Medals Plaza in Sochi. The performance was broadcast live on Europa Plus TV, the largest musical channel in Russia. She performed a one-hour set and debuted her new single, "The Beautiful". Despite the controversy surrounding the Olympics, Gala opened her performance with her 90s hit, "Let A Boy Cry", in support of her gay following. On 20 November InHouse Records label in New York released Gala's EP "The Beautiful", a collaboration with legendary House DJ/ producer Todd Terry, and a Deluxe EP followed, released on Gala's label Matriarchy Records, which includes remixes by Todd Terry, Hoxton Whores, Lodge 21, Ryan and Smitty, Midnight Magic and Lauren Flax.
Gala made a cameo appearance at Youssou N'Dour's concert for Dakar Ne Dort Pas in Dakar, Senegal on New Years Day. The event was televised by Tele Future Media. Through her indie label Matriarchy Records she released the album "Singles V1", a collection of her 2012–2015 singles alongside three some previously unreleased songs. The album contains remixes by Todd Terry amongst others.
In 2016 Gala recorded an acoustic version of "Freed from Desire" at Les Studios Saint Germain in Paris, for the movie "Un homme à la hauteur" directed by Laurent Tirard with Jean Dujardin (Academy Award Winner for Best Actor 2012 in The Artist) released in May 2016.
In May 2016, a Wigan Athletic supporter uploaded on YouTube an adaptation of "Freed from Desire" titled 'Will Grigg's on Fire', in recognition of the recent goal-scoring feats of Will Grigg, a Wigan player. Since it was uploaded, the song has become a viral football chant.
Throughout 2017 and 2018 Gala headlined the 'Love the 90s' tour in Spain, with shows for over 20.000 people at the Palau De Les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, the Bizkaia Arena in Bilbao Palau Saint Jordi in Barcelona, the Wiziink Center in Madrid, Parque Hermanos Castro in Gijon La Alcazaba in Badajoz and Can Fusteret in Mallorca. In that same year Gala also headlined the Gay pride party at Teatro Barcelo, as part of the WorldPride festivities in Madrid in July, and the Highway Festival in Fribourg, Switzerland in December 2017
On 30 June 2018 Gala headlined the Gay Pride concert held in the main square Plaza De España in Barcelona.
Gala wrote and composed two original songs alongside Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Jesse Ruben and Kyle Patrick, " Happiest Day of My Life" mixed by Miles Walker and "Nameless Love" with co-production and mixing by Andros Rodrigues, for the movie Favola (Fairytale). The movie, a surrealist comedy about gender identity and liberation from social constraints in 1950s America, was written and directed by Sebastiano Mauri and featured Filippo Timi and Lucia Mascino. The costumes are the result of the collaboration with Fabio Zambernardi, the director of design of Miu Miu and Prada. Premiering at the 2018 Torino Film Festival, Favola was screened at the prestigious 45th annual Flaiano Film Festival in Pescara in June, where it won the Flaiano Award for best "Opera Prima" The movie soundtrack was released in June 2018. Gala's indie label, Matriarchy Records is releasing the original songs "Happiest Day of My Life" and " Nameless Love" as individual singles on 15 September.
Gala has performed at the last game for the qualifications for the UEFA Euro 2020 (Belgium-Cyprus) live streamed worldwide and was honored by Eden Hazard on behalf of the National Belgian Soccer Team, THE RED DEVILS  with a national team jersey after her live performance.
In 2021, Gala released the song "Parallel Lines". The video is a collaboration with American animator, TED speaker, and free culture activist Nina Paley. Paley is the creator of the animated musical feature film Sita Sings the Blues, which has been screened in over 200 film festivals and won over 35 international awards (Berlin International Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Independent Spirit Award, New York Critics pick). Her adventures in our broken copyright system led her to produce a series of animated shorts about intellectual freedom.
"Parallel Lines" explores the relationship of two lovers who are drifting apart while living under the same roof. A short documentary “Behind The Song” was released soon after shot by Francesca Pagani whose work has been published on Vice.Us. The documentary speaks about the creative process behind the songwriting and the reason why Gala felt the urge to release the song during current pandemic times. It features parts of Parallel Lines’s music video, and of Nina Paley’s other award winning animations.
Gala has also worked as a songwriter for classical musicians like Salvatore Licitra and Marcelo Álvarez on the album Duetto and Mario Frangoulis. She remains an avid photographer, with many of her photos appearing on her official website.
|1997||Come into My Life|
|2009||Tough Love EP|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Certifications
|1996||"Everyone Has Inside"||—||—||—||—||24||1||—||1||—||—||Single only|
|"Freed from Desire"||16||1||1||17||1||3||5||1||13||2||Come into My Life|
|1997||"Let a Boy Cry"||—||1||1||—||1||1||9||1||23||11|
|"Come into My Life"||—||6||4||11||10||1||32||1||—||38|
|2012||"Lose Yourself in Me"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Singles V1|
|2013||"Taste of Me"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2015||"Rock Your World"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Start It Over"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
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Media related to Gala Rizzatto at Wikimedia Commons