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Meet Gina Loring

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gina Loring.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Gina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
As far back as I can remember, music was my first love. As a little girl, I would play “concert’ and perform for my stuffed animals, singing into a hairbrush. My mom was a folk singer and educator, and surrounded me with a lot of music. I come from a talented family (my dad is “Blacula” star William Marshall, and his cousins were actor Paul Winfield and Jazz great Teddy Edwards), but I wasn’t raised with them, so I was not particularly immersed in show business or the recipient of any kind of nepotism. But as they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

As a teenager, I started writing to find a sense of personal agency. I carried a journal with me everywhere and used it to vent and process things I was going through. I had no idea that what I was writing was considered poetry, let alone that it would become a career path for me.

I started performing at open mics, slamming, and featuring in showcases, which led to gigs and touring, and before I knew it, I was a full-time artist. I was fresh out of college and got a whole other kind of education traveling the world and working with some amazing creatives. I started teaching poetry workshops, got a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, and am now a Doctoral student, so I have a foot in the world of academia, but being an artist will always come first.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Show business is not for the faint of heart. For me, the “Show” part (writing, singing, performing, creating) has always come naturally, but the “Business” part has been trial and error. It’s imperative to have a strong support system of good folks around you who know the lay of the land. As an independent artist, I haven’t always had that, and navigating the often male-dominated landscape of the industry has definitely been challenging. I don’t think women artists are given the same respect and opportunity, and that’s been disheartening.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My most recent work is a new song featuring Pos of De La Soul and a poem for the #SayHerName movement. I think what sets me apart from other poets is that I sing, and what sets me apart from other singers is that I’m a poet. I approach both crafts with equal reverence, and would venture to say my work encompasses the conviction of poetry with the levity of music. I’ve always seen art as a vehicle for activism. My most meaningful moments range from being commissioned to write poems honoring Quincy Jones and Prince, to facilitating writing workshops with incarcerated youth and teens transitioning out of trafficking. I also have a premium online course called #SOULSPEAK,  which focuses on self-empowerment through transformative poetry. Self-expression builds confidence, self-agency, and self-awareness. It’s good medicine, and it’s something I’m honored to facilitate.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I wouldn’t change anything because every life lesson brings us closer to our most evolved self. Kidding! Kind of. There’s a lot I know now that I wish I knew then, but I also appreciate the journey. I think the biggest lesson is not to wait for anyone else to do it for you. I’ve had a lot of false alarms throughout my career and have learned that everyone is not their word, and every open door does not necessarily lead to somewhere. Being a self-starter is key; being proactive, resourceful and resilient is paramount, and if I could start over, I would focus more on cultivating those aspects within myself earlier. If you know in your heart what you are meant to do with your time here on the planet, nothing and no one can stop it, just put one foot in front of the other, follow your intuition, and keep your eye on the prize.

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Image Credit:

Professional photos (the three photos with a hat on) by Karol “Bfly” Pabon

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