By Noe Gutierrez
In the last decade, Giselle Woo has leisurely become the ‘Mayor of Music’ in the Coachella Valley. She recently returned from New York where she represented the Coachella Valley as part of the KCOD team at the College Media Awards ceremony. She and her band of Night Owls, Christian Colín on lead guitar, Jose Ceja on drums, Marco Murrieta on bass and Cesar Flores on percussion and vocals, are currently riding the high of being chosen to perform at this year’s ¡CHELLA! along with Mexican norteño band Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Chilean singer-songwriter and actress Mon Laferte and multi-instrumentalist and singer Cola Boyy. The special event will once again take place in between Coachella weekends on the Riverside County Fairgrounds in the Fullenwinder Auditorium on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $30 at goldenvoice.com. We spoke with Woo from New York after it was announced that she won the award for ‘Best Staff Newsletter/Email’.
CVW: First thing’s first, congratulations! You just won the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System College Media Award for ‘Best Staff Newsletter/Email’ in New York. You and KCOD won a bevy of awards last year too. What does the work you’ve done at KCOD mean to you?
Woo: “The work that I’ve done at KCOD has stemmed solely out of love and passion for my community, for my peers, and all the minds that attend our community college to enrich their lives with knowledge and have the desire of a better future. My contribution means a lot to me, and I just hope that our students, my peers in the music and arts community, and all residents of our beautiful Coachella Valley realize how much I am rooting for them. We all need to be seen, no matter how prideful we are. I just want them to know that I ‘SEE’ them.”
CVW: What are your primary duties as Station Manager at KCOD?
Woo: “I answer a lot of emails! I am in constant communication with the college, the community, students and faculty. I make sure that all departments are running smoothly. I oversee about 15-20 student and community produced shows. I do my best to be available to anyone who might need assistance. If I can’t be of help, I direct them to my faculty advisors/mentors.”
CVW: What are some of the things you do that are not in your job duties?
Woo: “On top of my station managing duties I produce and host Coachella Valley Local Hour and also DJ events that KCOD hosts on campus for various clubs, organizations and departments. However, I don’t see them as things ‘that are not in my job duties,’ sometimes the right thing to do is being good at doing things even when they’re not asked of you.”
CVW: How are you feeling since it was announced that Giselle Woo and the Night Owls would be a part of the ¡CHELLA! 2019 line-up?
Woo: “Excited, nervous, grateful, humbled, ready… I feel like this couldn’t have been a more perfect event for us, we are all about our hometown and honoring our fellow musicians and artists; ¡CHELLA! celebracion a la comunidad, celebrating the community! Can’t get truer than that!”
CVW: How are your bandmates feeling?
Woo: “My band mates are so pumped about this; they’re actually pumped about all of it! They’ve been very supportive and we are having so much fun doing what we’re doing!
CVW: You are performing on a bill with Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Mon Laferte and Cola Boyy. What do you know about those artists?
Woo: “I know that Los Tucanes de Tijuana not only play music you can dance to but they are champions for the people, touching on topics like immigration and equality, and I respect that a lot. Mon Laferte is definitely a woman I look up to, she’s been doing this for nearly two decades! It’s inspiring! I can’t believe I’m on the same bill as these two iconic acts. I looked up Cola Boyy and got super excited because ¡CHELLA! is going to be a night full of wonderful talent!”
CVW: “What are the important aspects of having a cultural event like ¡CHELLA! that celebrates Latino musicians and the Latino community in the Coachella Valley and what would you like to see happen as the event grows?
Woo: “First of all, I am excited about all of the growth happening in the Coachella Valley, from the festivals to the new entertainment venues, hotels and restaurants. But I’d love to see some of the revenue that Goldenvoice brings into our valley, predominantly into the East side of the valley, to be put to good use by city officials. Feed your communities! Rebuild the parks, give children a safe neighborhood to grow up in, fix the roads, and invest in the schools, not prisons. Don’t get me wrong, it’s SUPER bringing Latino artists to the community, and on top of that making it affordable with $30 a ticket, but if Goldenvoice and the City of Indio wants the support of the community, and if they truly want to celebrate the community, there’s nothing more powerful than showing the community love. I might be in over my head with all these hopes and aspirations, but as this event grows, perhaps they’ll see the huge presence of the Latino community, and minorities in general, in the Coachella Valley, and find beauty in us.”
CVW: “This past year has been huge for you since you released your single, “Coachella Gold,” in early 2018. You won “Tachevah” last year, “Best Live Performance Band” at the 2018 CV Music Awards and the 2nd round of the “CV Music Showcase” earlier this year and so on. Do you think it’s a coincidence that everything you participate in turns to gold? Coachella Gold? (wink, wink)
Woo: “Ha! It definitely has been feeling like that. I think that as soon as I was in a good place in my mind and heart, I was able to finally accomplish, or turn into reality, all the hopes and dreams I’ve wanted so badly for so long. Taking care of my parents some day is the goal that drives me the most. But I think overall, it’s nice to see long time dreams come true.”
CVW: You have worked with many individuals in the music industry for a long time in many different capacities. Tell me what you like about collaborating with other musicians.
Woo: “The thing I love about collaborating with musicians is seeing how their eyes light up when an idea is appreciated. I feel like we’re all vulnerable in some way, and the response I get when I jam with musicians I feel are way better than me, boosts my confidence.”
CVW: You’ve had some great musicians in this band. In looking at Giselle Woo and the Night Owls history of members, what can you say about your journey in this band as a whole?
Woo: “The journey has been rough at times, full of peaks and valleys. But because of that, I am where I am today.”
CVW: What’s next for Giselle Woo and the Night Owls?
Woo: “Yes, we’re working on new arrangements. I’m currently mixing and mastering with Gene Evaro Jr. Mikey Reyes of Desert Rhythm Project recorded the 5 song EP, and now Gene is doing the final touches! This EP will also include our first single, ‘Coachella Gold.’”
Woo extended CV Weekly a sneak peek into one of their songs tentatively titled Azul Mix I and we can tell you that it’s what you would expect from Woo, profound and passionate. I previously interviewed Woo’s mother Lupe in 2013 about how her daughter’s music moves her. “When I see Giselle perform I wish she could share her music with the world. She gives herself to her listeners through her songs. There’s a couple of hers that give me chills they’re so beautiful and when she sings them she touches my soul.” In 2019, Woo is on the brink of inspiring an endless amount of music fans while continuing to make her family and community proud.
March 8 – The Hood Bar and Pizza – Palm Desert, CA
March 9 – Coachella Food Truck Park – Coachella, CA
March 17 – Coachella Valley Brewing Co. – Thousand Palms, CA
March 22 – Bart Lounge – Cathedral City, CA
April 17 – Riverside County Fairgrounds – Indio, CA – ¡CHELLA!
May 4 – CV Music Showcase Finals