MusicThatMadeWE #24: GiGi Holliday

2 hours, 11 minutes (audio only version)
2 hours, 31 minutes (Patreon exclusive version)

Released: June 4, 2022
Recorded: April 5, 2022

A glamorous showgirl with moves you must prepare yourself for, GiGi Holliday shares the music that brought her to our stages and continues to inspire her. Now residing in New York City, GiGi traces her start in Washington DC to touring to major stages all over the country, and what’s playing in her head.

The Music That Made WE is a creation of WEBurlesque Podcast Network, produced by Viktor Devonne.

Listen to this episode:

On this edition of The Music That Made WE, Viktor talks to GiGi Holiday, a New York burlesque performer by way of D.C., owner of Gi Squared Productions, and winner of The 2022 Silver Tusk for Radical Radicalist.

“Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa
GiGi says: “I was born of a hip-hop era. And for the longest time we only saw men doing hip-hop. The male gaze very much throughout. And it’s the fact
that I saw three ladies that looked like they could be the ladies up the street wearing the same hair, same jackets. They look like they could be someone’s Auntie and they are rapping just as much as these guys… I don’t care what anyone says… I think Salt-N-Pepa’s Push It gets the party going.”

“It Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube
GiGi says: “It was the first rap song that I learned through and through because they kept playing it on MTV. And it has the sample of the Isley Brothers’ Footsteps in the Dark which is one of the songs I remember hearing in the car with my parents. Footsteps in the Dark has a great beat, and then you add this man repeatedly saying words over it creating another beat. And it’s also telling a story. I get very upset when people don’t consider rap part of the English language or they hate it and I’ve actually had people say to me ‘I don’t like rap music.’ and I’ve said ‘You don’t like the English language.'”

“Ultralight Beam” by Kanye West
GiGi says: “[Kanye] is very problematic, I am very aware of this. But I will say this: I am still a Godfearing woman… There is something to be said about how gospel music hit me different when I realized gospel music can be whatever you make it. [With this song] I really was like what is my gospel song because all my friends had their favorite gospel song. And I realized my song isn’t considered a gospel song, but it is a gospel song… Kanye West is a mess, but I feel like this is the one time God blessed him with this.”

“Green Light” by Beyoncé
GiGi says: “Let me tell you something: I love Beyoncé… I also believe that when everyone is gonna go right, I’m gonna go left. So I did not pick a traditional Beyoncé favorite… I chose a song that she rarely performs at concerts. I chose a song that you forgot exists and when you hear it, you are hype… Green Light by Beyoncé is my all time favorite Beyoncé song. It’s also telling a man to get the fuck out.”

“If Only You Knew” by Patti LaBelle
GiGi says: “This next artist I feel like is my mama’s
Beyoncé…This song is late nights with my mom… We would drive home, and that song would be on The Quiet Storm radio… and I would always wake up to my mother singing it. She has a beautiful voice and I just feel if like my mother wanted a life of entertainment, I just know she would have been a singer and she would have been with the Patti LaBelle.”

“Harlem Nocturne (live)” by Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers
GiGi says: “This [version] is done in the style of the official music of D.C.: Go Go Music…Funk music in D.C. is GoGo Music. There is rap, there’s gospel in it, there’s soul, there’s blues, and it’s just recently been allowed to be in the Folk Music Festival in Washington DC. It has now been officially
recognized as folk music… With this song being such a jazz standard and everyone and a burlesquer’s mama has danced to this, I made a note to make everything I do Black as fuck, and this to me is so Black because it’s so D.C. and it’s so me… And this is now my signature act with signature dance moves.”

“Encore” by Cheryl Lynn
GiGi says: “This is where I feel like I lean in to being a Black Auntie. This is when I knew the Black
Auntie life was for me… My mama would bring me to the parties, the cabarets they would be having… And they would all be dancing and I just remember this song was when the kids would be allowed to come out and dance because it was so catchy. It is such joy and every time I hear it, I realize I’m such a Black Auntie and I dance like one listening to it”

“Living All Alone” by Phyllis Hyman
GiGi says: “This artist is an unsung hero in soul and R&B, and even neosoul… This particular artist both my parents would play a lot before and after her untimely passing. I was the one who told my parents she committed suicide… and I remember… my parents being a little heartbroken… and from then on for months I just kept hearing Phyllis Hyman… I remember playing this song a lot during the pandemic because I heard Phyllis Hyman walking down the street and I just got zapped back into her magic and I forgot that this was one of the songs my mom loved playing. And her voice is just haunting.”

“That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra
GiGi says: “The only white person on my list is Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, singing a jazz standard that I love called That’s Life… I had a mint green Fiat I bought during my first round of being a full
time performer… and Fiat awarded me for year’s a free subscription to XM Radio. I ended up on the jazz standards [station] …and heard they played Frank Sinatra and all these other greats and I thought that would be a great way to get some burlesque music…This particular version got me through everything, this is another gospel song… but also this is a song of perseverance and hearing Frank Sinatra sing you can hear he has gone through a little bit of something… Those late nights of driving, he got me home.”

“A Song For You” by Donny Hathaway
GiGi says: “This one is a song that I’ve heard my parents play, a song that I’ve heard my sister play, a song that I’ve heard my auntie play, a song that I’ve heard every black elder around me play. A song that I’ve played for myself to heal; a beautiful song for every relationship that I have… I loved that song before I became a performer, and now it has so much meaning as I am a performer.”


– Produced by Viktor Devonne, reigning Mr Hollywood Burlesque WEBurlesque Podcast Nework is the creation of Viktor Devonne. Podcast Network logo artwork by Logan Laveau, WEBurlesque the Podcast cover art photography by Atticus Stevenson. Incidental music via under fair use. Visit for notes on this and every episode. Follow @weburlesque and @viktordevonne on just about every platform, and support the podcast via or via Venmo @Viktor-Devonne. Don’t got the cash? Please follow, subscribe, and give 5 stars on every platform you can get your hands on. It really does help. All original material is owned by Viktor Devonne and White Elephant Burlesque Corporation; all other materials property of their respective copyright. No infringement, while likely, is intended.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
close-alt close collapse comment ellipsis expand gallery heart lock menu next pinned previous reply search share star