JESSIE GALANTE interview for Museboat Live Channel on Sunday, October 25th, 2022 in TJ´s Muse Bridge show with TaunJua aka TJ
True “soul” is not limited to mere vocal or physical gymnastics. It’s something born from within and nurtured by a real love of art, a sensitive nature that grows from birth and is genuinely part of someone. That is the case with rock artist, Jessie Galante, a spellbinding dynamo who electrifies audiences with her expressive powerhouse vocals every time she takes the stage.
Driven by love of music and a craving to express herself in a way that would communicate all the energy and pent-up emotion, Jessie took to the streets of her native Buffalo, a city filled with rock and blues clubs. It was there in the streets of her hometown that Jessie Galante found her voice… and found herself.
The Show Must Go On!
Jessie Galante's music was and is played by many Radio Stations including Museboat Live and is mentioned by many Magazines and Websites worldwide. We are happy to have the privilege to ask her a few questions.
Taunjua: Hello Jessie and welcome to Museboat Live channel!
JESSIE GALANTE: Hi TJ, Andy and everyone with Museboat Live channel. Thanks for having me here today!
Taunjua: You have been active in the music scene in Los Angeles for some time. What are your memories of this period? How is performing in LA different from others?
JESSIE GALANTE: Well I was in LA in the late eighties and early nineties. Ray Brown, a very well known clothing designer for so many famous rock bands, took me under his wing as my manager and he built a band around me called, “Fire.” That band “Fire” achieved some really nice international exposure with both airplay and a lot of press. It was an exciting time because the music scene was thriving and we were so fortunate to have our recordings produced by Michael Wagener along with our songwriter Michael Guy. With our popularity we were able to play a lot of great venues in and around LA. It was awesome! The only difference playing in LA at the time was in the beginning we had to pay to play which was something new to me. Fortunately we gained a lot of popularity and were able to have big shows that had a lot to do with our promotion team that made a huge impact on our exposure.
Taunjua: What is the coolest venue you have played?
JESSIE GALANTE: Yikes that’s a tough one to answer. Every stage to me is cool to me and I’ve been fortunate to play on some really great stages in different cities and countries. For me I feel like this electrical charge every time I set foot on a stage. It’s really hard to pick which one is my favorite but one of the more memorable stages that stands out is the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre that's in California. It was a charity event for “Hear N Aid” and it was spearheaded by the late Ronnie James Dio. It was a great night with 16,000 people in attendance all very emotional and an extremely memorable evening and I was so moved to be part of it and happy to be on stage with everybody. I’ll never forget it.
Taunjua: You spent part of your musical career with your husband, Larry Swist, who, by the way, was inducted into the Buffalo Hall of Fame just like you. Larry worked with stars like Spyro Gyra, Bruce Hornsby and Tina Turner. Please, let's remember him and tell us a little more about what this period of life brought you the most?
JESSIE GALANTE: Thank you so much for this question, it’s so compassionate of you to mention to remember Larry. This might be wordy!
Larry was the epitome of unconditional love. I really wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t experience it myself. And I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “You never know what you have until it’s gone.” and even though I did know it at the time we were together, I didn’t dissect every nuance of his love until he passed away. I always told him I was in awe of him and he was so humble that he didn’t realize what an extraordinary man he was. He was truly a gift and I was so fortunate to have him in my life.
In my eyes, Larry was the complete man. He changed my life. He was a warm, gentle, kind, soft spoken, passionate, gentle, and generous man. He was amazing. He was a highly dignified, intelligent and extremely creative and he left behind a legacy that of a painter, musician, Grammy award winning record producer, songwriter, world renowned recording studio designer, studio speaker designer, photographer, film producer and a teacher. And his contribution to the arts and music are immeasurable and massive and I learned so much from him. We had so much in common especially our lifestyle of adventure, in music, art, travel, we loved to travel, family of course we loved our family and of each other. He was my soulmate!
His lust for life in his magnificence, made it possible for us to travel all over the world which we loved to do together thru his incredible body of work with his designs that included his managing and producing our music and for that I’ll be eternally grateful to him Everyday was a day of new adventure with Larry. Always full of life, full of love and the unknown! He was a great man!
Taunjua: You performed in Europe in Hungary, which by the way is just a hop away from Andy (laugh). What were your impressions of the performances on the continent? How was it different?
JESSIE GALANTE: I was very fortunate to perform on a lot of great stages including concerts and festivals while playing in Hungary opening up for Hungarian national acts like Edda and Mobilmania including playing at biker festivals and the Efott Festival. I’ve played in Budapest, Debrecen and also the very cute town of Hadjuzobozlo. Considering they didn’t really know my entire musical repertoire they embraced my music and we were very interactive. They were so friendly, enthusiastic and interested. The only difference I felt was the fact that it was so far East and the culture was so new to me that I was drawn to learn more about the Hungarian culture so I made sure I was able to spend more time soaking it all in so I would stay a little longer. That’s the beauty of a touring musician….not just to get up on stage and perform…but perform for an audience in a different country and to know and confirm that music really is the universal language and to go beyond that is the most wondrous experience for me. And I want more. Looking for more!
Taunjua: Your song Spitfire sounds to me like your brand, the label that defines your fantastic music. What leads you to the name of this album?
JESSIE GALANTE: Thanks so much for saying that TJ that’s a wonderful compliment and it really fills my heart to hear you say that. And I want to thank you TJ, Andy and everybody at Museboat Live Channel for keeping the Spitfire fire burning by sharing it with your listeners on a regular basis, it means a lot to me and I’m totally grateful. “Spitfire” is my most known and well liked release and the journey of that entire “CD” was a magical one because we co-wrote, recorded, filmed, produced and toured with it in the US and Europe. I co-wrote Spitfire with the amazing mega- talented Rob Bailey. He's a guitarist based in New York, he’s a songwriter and producer and of course with my husband Larry Swist. Larry came up with the title Spitfire because of my Sicilian temper and personality and ha ha ha…that’s pretty funny.
Taunjua: You collaborated with mega-producer Michael Wagener, who among others produced such stars as Queen, Alice Cooper, Sass Jordan, Great White and Extreme. Tell us what this collaboration was like? We and our listeners are certainly interested in what cooperation with such famous people looks like?
JESSIE GALANTE: My manager for “FIRE” in LA was Ray Brown (he was also a clothing designer to so many famous rock bands, international rock bands). And he’s the one who made the connection with Michael Wagener because he had access to him and he was easier to approach since he was our manager. So it was pretty cool. Anyway, working with Michael Wagener was a dream! You would think that working with a mega producer like him would be so intimidating. I mean he is so calm and gentle and kind and humble and he’s a lot of fun. He's a funny guy. I mean I was intimidated anyway but it was an amazing experience for me. And his method of producing vocals was new to me. It was a new experience and that’s when I started learning more about recording vocals. He’s one of the sweetest people I know and I still keep in touch with him. I actually spoke with him about a month ago. He lives in Nashville, not too close but close enough for me to jump in the car and go see him!
Taunjua: An amazing voice, determination and courage are the qualities that you possess and which portend success on the music scene, but... Could you tell us something about the other side of the music business? What advice would you give to upcoming artists, of which we have a lot on the Museboat channel, to avoid problems in their music careers?
JESSIE GALANTE: Thanks so much for your strong kind words, TJ…. I simply love to sing to express whatever is going on inside of me at that moment! I think your question is an important one and I’ve learned so much and have performed, recorded, toured with a lot of amazing and supportive musicians and friends. Of course y’know there’s good times and there’s bad times. That’s just part of the journey of a musician because of the music business, there will always be problems. But when you have total control of yourself and your emotions you can keep the focus on your music. That’s crucial. Sometimes it’s hard because we’re so sensitive. musicians are sensitive. But you have to keep your eye on the prize. That’s your ticket, that’s your gold, your heart and soul and no-one can take that away from you much less control you. Come on. So with social media you can control your own destiny and develop your artistry as you see it….and if you decide you want to change it tomorrow…there you go…it’s done. So I say, to recap, stay true to yourself and enjoy the ride! Because that’s how you will enjoy it…when you do stay true to yourself.
Taunjua: What have you been doing during the pandemic with regards to music?
JESSIE GALANTE: Well fortunately as soon as the pandemic hit I started getting really busy, it was weird but I was happy about it. I was busy not only with not only my music but with other artists. Just when the pandemic hit, I was asked to co-write an album with a very cool and powerful Italian rock band called Klee Project based out of Rome and I recently finished one of their new singles for their next album. On their previous album, I wrote all their lyrics and also helped design the storyboard for two of their videos. It's great stuff really if you get a chance to check it out. I also recorded two duets and a video with an artist from my hometown and as a guest vocalist for a few artists. I also co-wrote a bunch of songs that co-host the Musicians of Buffalo Christmas concert it’s something we’ve been doing every year going on our seventh year it’s called the MOB with guitarist Bobby Lebel and bassist Billy Sheehan and we’re still working on it’s all very cool stuff and can’t wait to get it out there we don’t know when because everybody is busy but we’re working on it. And last year we also recorded and released a Christmas album of the songs that we perform live at the show. So a lot of stuff going on but I’ve also been busy re-doing some of my songs that I’ve never released, actually songs that Larry and I wrote together that we never released and co-writing again with the musicians I’ve written with before like Janos Szucs from Hungary and Joop Wolters from the Netherlands and hoping to write with the more of the other guys that I’ve written with. During the pandemic because we were all locked down and on the internet a lot I was able to meet new songwriters and people that were interested in working together. How cool is that? So you know there’s a lot to do and there’s a lot more music to make and I truly believe that the world is my oyster!
Taunjua: What are your plans for the future? Especially the short-term ones?
JESSIE GALANTE: Well short term and currently I’m working on the MOB Musicians of Buffalo Christmas Concert the one I mentioned that I co-host with Bobby Lebel and Billy Sheehan. It's a three hour program with traditional Christmas songs and familiar rock songs. This is a charity event with proceeds going to Music Is Art which was founded by Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac. It’s a program to enrich and support our community with access to music and to encourage people to find their musical voice, think about how music touches our lives, and most importantly think about the fact that music is art.
During the show we also invite guests to get up and sing or play all rehearsed of course. Also short term the next few months I have some appearances locally and I'm also designing a storyboard for a new video so I’m pretty excited about that. I’m always writing so that’s on-going and looking forward to starting some new collaborations. My plans for the future are to get back to Europe in the Spring of 2023 so I’m waiting for the agent to send me that magical itinerary! It’s been a long time coming, last time I was there was in 2012 with Larry so I’ve missed being there and looking forward to going back. Keeping my fingers crossed!
Taunjua: Please tell us the funniest story from your music career.
JESSIE GALANTE: Well this is a tough one because there’s a lot of them! I’ll tell you the one that just popped into my head. This is when I played a festival in Budapest Hungary (this can be viewed on my High Road Easy video) at least the performance. Towards the end of that show, someone in the audience handed me a bottle of something. I didn’t know what it was so I asked the crowd and they all shouted Palinka. When I repeated the name or tried to repeat it, everybody laughed and the entire crowd kept repeating, chanting it until I got it right. It was crazy fun, it was wild. They were so much fun. So Palinka is a traditional Hungarian fruit brandy and it comes in different strengths depending on what kind of fruit it is and if it’s home-made. Hungarians are very proud of their Palinka. So I took a few sips out of the bottle (it was a new bottle) and said that it was really good, strong but really good and they got the biggest kick out of that. After that I saw frantic arms reaching out to me with all different kinds of Palinka in different bottles and containers and they didn’t want me to leave the stage! So by the time I went backstage, there were people back there because it was an open area and people wanted me to try glasses of their home-made brews which were even stronger. Of course what are you going to do, I didn’t want to be rude, so I tried a little of each, just a little sip and there were probably about 20 people there holding their little glasses. It was adorable. So I just tried a sip otherwise I would have hit the ground face down and hard. So it was an amazing experience and really I just felt so embraced by their culture and the fact that they wanted me to try their precious Palinka. So from then on I was addressed as the Palinka girl from America and they sent me away with four bottles to take home. It was crazy, I loved it and I love them!
Taunjua: Is there anything else you want to say to our listeners?
JESSIE GALANTE: TJ it’s Museboat and your listeners that have made my music have deeper meaning and as a musician that makes my heart soar and I wish I could know your listeners even more. If I could touch someone somehow someway then we are connected and that’s what inspires and encourages me even more. We are all on this planet together so we should rock it together and enjoy each other while doing it! I believe music is the universal language and you know we have a lot of say to each other! So I say rock on and let's shake our world to a frenzy with the power of music, love and our friendship and remember the Show Must Go On!
Taunjua: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule for the interview, Jessie.
JESSIE GALANTE: Thank you TJ and everyone at Museboat Channel and listeners for embracing my music and introducing me to new music all around the world!