Gena Perala
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Gena Perala

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Solo Folk Pop




"Gena Perala, Exactly Nowhere ***Review***"

Gena Perala's latest release, Exactly Nowhere, is like drinking ice water after eating a
peppermint; refreshingly cool. She's not the Katy Perry type; rather Gena is more of a
cross between Pink, Alanis Morrisette, Cyndi Lauper, and a hint of Sheryl Crow...very
quirky, crafty and theatrical. Exactly Nowhere is a 15 track soap opera that not only
showcases Gena's creative writing skills, it also tests the boundaries of what it means to
be an artist in a music industry full of redundancies. Listening to Gena Perala, you feel as
though you're hearing an audio feed from a stage play. Perala's voice-over acting skills
are on display as she delivers each line like a seasoned thespian, keeping you dialed
into the drama that unfolds on each song.

My favorite song on the album, Supernova Superstar, because it's just awesome! I
listened to it like 7x before I went to the next track. This is her music video song or single because
it's the one that I think would go over very well with the general public. It's a unique record
that gives off a Sheryl Crow vibe, and I really love the way Gena sings this song. There's
tons of great music on Exactly Nowhere, each song offering it's own candid peephole
for us to look into Gena Perala's world of emotional rollercoasters, heartbreaks, and self

Similar to Eminem's "Slim Shady" album, Exactly Nowhere has several moments of shock
and awe that, if you're not ready for them, will hit your ears like a ton of bricks. For
example: in her song "Hip Hop and Cartoons," Perala drops the "f bomb" a couple of
times, catching me completely off-guard because I don't swear/curse/cuss. But, I still
thought the song was insightful. As part of the "hip hop generation," I know and
understand the influences that hip hop and cartoons each have had on the minds of
young Americans; so this song is a reality check that will make any parent think twice
about letting cartoons and music babysit their kids. This is truly what creative art is all
about; making people aware, and sometimes uncomfortable with what's really going on in
the world.

The bottom line is, Gena Perala ROCKS!! She's a very talented musician and songwriter
who could do extremely well. If you're looking to discover awesome new music, Exactly
Nowhere is worth it's weight in musical gold. Connect with Gena online at: | - I AM ENTERTAINMENT

"Advice for Life by Gena Perala"

Advice For Life by Gena Perala
04/08/20140 Comments

Gena Perala's new single "Living Proof" is our new anthem of hope. With lyrics like: 'I have been broken and put back together, I have been worse & I know I've been better!'
this Vancouver native has captured our listening ear along with our hands that snap & clap along to the Doo Wop sound. The breath of fresh air has transitioned from poet author to singer/songwriter and after hearing (and watching) 'Living Proof' we were convinced she knew a thing or two about the ups & downs of life. So without further adieu, #CBS gives you Advice for Life by Gena Perala.
"Living Proof" is based on this idea of wanting comfort and satisfaction.. wanting security, in the ongoing uncertainty of life. I started writing it after a party weekend. I was feeling super vacant as partying can often leave you feeling and was wanting more. Hence the first line "I just want to fall in love" and so on.. I actually started this one when I was playing music with a couple friends of mine, Carmen and Camille so shout out to them: - great musicians.. But I just sorta ran with it.

The Lyrics:
"The world is spinning, no end, no beginning.. and I am Living Proof
Cuz I have been broken and put back together
I have been worse, I know I've been better
This is the deal, it's the only one
Let's smile and try to have fun.."

Just means, that we're here. We're alive and that THIS. IS. IT.

Don't try to make sense of life. Someone once said to me "The only certainty in life is that life is uncertain" so there ya go. Do what's right for you. Be honest. Read. Be compassionate. Laugh. Be grateful. Don't be afraid to admit if you made a mistake. Be courageous and if other people don't like you.. don't worry about it. You can't please everyone.
Something my mom always says to me which I find comforting is "Everything works out in the end and if it doesn't, it's not the end".
Just keep moving. Keep creating. In this industry and in life, I get rejected all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. It's brutal. But you know, when you put yourself out there, failure is inevitable. Rejection is inevitable. I write songs and poetry and make videos and art because I love to. It makes me so happy. I'll be doing this until the day I die. Recognition and financial success may never come, but that's not why I do it so I never have to worry about anybody taking this away from me. And I'm grateful for that.
"Living Proof" is off Gena's most recent album “Exactly Nowhere”(2013).

To learn more about Gena Perala & her upcoming tour dates, like Calabash April 15th & more, you can visit her website "Living Proof" can be downloaded here.

Facebook: - Chic Black Sheep


Due to the way Sonic Bids has formatted their Press Section - Press is completely out of order. My apologies and thanks for checking out my music! - SONICBIDS

"Gena Perala, Exactly Nowhere ***Review***"

Gena Perala is a modern renaissance woman. Raised on the carnival circuit, she developed a keen insight into the human condition, and the artful storytelling style of a life-long performer. Perala broke into music by way of her award winning poetry. She has published three books to date and released two albums of original music. Her debut album, This Ain’t Pretty, won Perala rave reviews. Her follow-up,Exactly Nowhere, finds Perala taking things to the next level.

Perala opens with “Living Proof”, bringing elements of classic 1960’s girl pop. There’s a rock-a-bye feel to this tune, and while Perala is a bit verbose, the vocals are exceedingly easy on the ear. “Fine” is an interesting take on a relationship where her partner makes her feel good about herself while spiraling downward himself. There’s a sort of helpless fatalism here that’s palpable, and the song is gorgeous in its sadness. “Hip Hop Cartoons” is rife irony. The seeming anthem of living life on one’s own terms has a distinctive slacker element that’s more about simple existence than living or learning.

“La Fin” is a dark waltz that is sung primarily in French with English interjections. Perala is in her element here with a compelling mix of raw animus and madness. It’s a moment that will haunt you into listening again and again. “Exactly Nowhere” is theatrical in approach, sung seemingly in post-relationship shock. Perala’s composition is masterful, right down to the string accents. The lyrical caricature is as artful as the music, and in case you didn’t know it already, Perala is showing off some serious songwriting chops here. “Superstar Nova” finds Perala in a more straight-forward pop approach, completed with elemental synth and a dance beat. This is too busy as a relationship song and a bit too self-focused. “Fat World” is a catchy garage/punk number that may be stuck in your noggin for days for its musical proclivities and for Perala’s enthralling voice.

“Hoopla” finds Perala lampooning women who fulfill themselves by digging for gold and living off the success if others. The campy atmosphere of the song, which alternates between reverb soaked simplicity and alt-rock excess, is reminiscent of Meryn Cadell. “On Second Thought” is a memorable piece of musical theater that tracks the internal ups and downs of a fickle minded suitor. Her writing is brilliant, incisive and funny yet somehow utterly mortal. The transitions from navel gazing pastiche to manic hope are perfectly conceived and executed. ”My Match” focuses on a repeat hookup offender who laments not finding permanence. It’s a humorous and sad caricature that will likely remind you of someone.

“Life Is Hard” is a gorgeous, string-laced monologue from a character who is her own worst enemy. This worldview is dark and full of pessimism and yet utterly familiar from someone you know. Perala’s light touch makes this more accessible and believable. “Tell It To The Stars” is an upbeat dialectic on seeking external guidance from the stars. Perala is eminently likeable here as she speaks from the heart in an upbeat, country flavored arrangement that will have you tapping your toes.

“See Myself” is a gently rolling piano ballad that’s deftly orchestrated to build the emotive strength of the song while keeping Perala’s superb vocals front and center. There’s something of a secular sermon feel to this at times, with a distinctly inward focus built of insecurity as the concomitant strength it breeds. “Every Man” starts out in Perala’s signature confessional style, but struggles to escape its own weight. She recovers nicely, closing with the brief, yet hopeful “Neverland”.

Gena Perala’s musical and lyrical brilliance shines through on Exactly Nowhere. There’s a theme of disaffection based on a mistrust of human intentions that runs through the album, but Perala also has a sense of humor. In essence, Exactly Nowhere is something of a catalog of musical defense mechanisms that lead to the album’s title. Perala deconstructs, perhaps, her own defenses with humor and grace and a fantastic sense of musical theater. She takes tremendous risks and even when things don’t quite work out they’re certainly interesting. Exactly Nowhere finds Gena Perala distinctly somewhere wonderful.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5) - Wildy's World

"Interview with Gena Perala + New "Living Proof" Music Video"

Gena Perala isn’t your typical Vancouver songstress. Born into a traveling carnival, she’s spent her whole life with a very unique frame of mind. Whether it’s in one of her three published books of poetry, on the slam circuit, or in her refreshing, honest songwriting, Perala brings a fantastical, hilarious, and heartfelt voice to her listeners. Her full-length album,Exactly Nowhere, was released late last year, and we at Media Snobs are thrilled to feature her first music video for “Living Proof” as an exclusive, right here on our site. In celebration of the video, we sat her down and asked her a few questions about life, the universe, and Leonard Cohen.

What was it like growing up in the carnival circuit? How do you feel that has influenced your songwriting?

Growing up on the carnival was a really unique experience. It was a colorful and raw lifestyle full of interesting people and characters. We were family. I think “The Road” as we call it, influenced my view of people and society, in turn influencing me as a writer.

What’s the best story you have from that time?

I had a lot of fun as a kid on the carnival, but one of my fondest memories was watching the little monkey that would drive a car around a track. I would just sit and watch this little monkey drive for hours.

You’ve been described as “Jewel meets Peaches”; can you elaborate a little more on that comparison? What role do you fill by walking that fine line between the demure and the assertive?

Well, I was sitting outside my friend’s house waiting for him to get home, and I was listening to the track “My Match” off the album (Exactly Nowhere). It was the first time I was hearing the mix and this woman was walking by and she says, “Hey, that’s really good… who is that?” and I said, “It’s me actually,” and she said, “You’re like Jewel meets Peaches,” and I’ve been using that comparison ever since. Wholesome and maybe virtuous meets the uncensored, unapologetic misfit. It’s a really interesting comparison for sure. I have a line in the song “See Myself” (Exactly Nowhere) that goes “Beauty and disgrace, it’s such a fine line, I’ve got bruises on my feet because I walk it all the time.” And it is such a fine line, especially for women, so I don’t know what role I fill other than writing about my experience and perhaps challenging whatever ideas people have that might confine me to who and what they think I am or should be.

I’ve found that the Vancouver/Victoria music scene is pretty unique in terms of how its artists interact with one another and their fans. What’s your experience been like in this regard?

I’m not really part of any one scene here in Vancouver. I know a bunch of bands and musicians. Really talented ones so my interactions are often just as a friend or as a fan like everyone else. I’d like to start doing more collaborations so I’d like to start interacting more with other musicians in the future. As for interacting with my fans, I mean it’s great. Fans are great! I’m always just so happy to be a contribution to anyone’s life.

What was the origin and/or meaning of the name “Exactly Nowhere” for your album?

The origin was a line an ex-boyfriend had said to me. I can still see it clear as day. He was proving a point to me about how our relationship would never be what it was. Basically that it would never be a loving, caring relationship again. It was brutal. He said, “It’s exactly different” in this harsh point proving way, and I thought “No s**t.” I should have left right then and there but… I didn’t. Anyway, I really liked the juxtaposition of the two words ”Exactly” and ”Different” so I wrote them down, and a couple months later when I finally did leave the guy, I was writing the song “Exactly Nowhere” about how lost and devastated I was feeling and this line just came so perfectly: “I’m 5’3”, I’ve got brown hair and I’m exactly, exactly nowhere.” I’ve since thought a lot about the name “Exactly Nowhere” and what those two words together can represent, and they still resonate so strongly. No matter where you think you’re going or where you’ve gotten, philosophically I mean, we’re all just exactly… Nowhere.

What’s the songwriting process like for you? Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever written (or had the idea for) a song?

The songwriting process for me is either I get a lyric or I get a melody first and then I build from there. A lot of times it’s a lyric first but not always. I’m currently writing a 60s style doo-wop type song, a la Ronettes, and I got the melody first for that one. I get ideas for songs all over the place. I write about my observations and thoughts so I could be at a party, at work, a show, on a walk. More circumstantial than actual physical places.

We’re featuring your music video debut for “Living Proof”. What was the filming process like? Can you give a little background on the inspiration for the video and how it relates to the song?

YES! The video! The filming process was an inspiration and an education. I had a great creative team behind me, who were instrumental in making this visual, happen. It was directed by Blake Farber and a Vancouver based film company, Insider Films, produced it. I had never done anything like this before, never worked inside this medium so naturally, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. Thankfully this team was there to fill in all the stuff I didn’t know, which was a decent amount! We all worked really hard and I got to see how the wonderful world of film operates. I had this abstract idea of falling and floating to accompany the song and I loved the idea of being suspended because of some of the lyrics in the song, and so this is what we came up with to get that feeling with the budget we had. I loved working in this visual medium and can’t wait to do it again!

Many of your songs focus on stuff that isn’t usually brought up in [mainstream] music—anxiety, self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy, social awkwardness. Do you set out with the intention of bringing this sort of honesty to the music scene, or is it more of an organic extension of who you are?

Haha! Oh man. That stuff probably isn’t brought up in mainstream music, I’m not too sure about music in general though, maybe you’re right. There’s that quote from Plato, “Rulers should be careful about what songs are allowed to be sung,” so I think it’s safe to say musicians have been dropping truth bombs for ages. I don’t set out with any intention when I’m writing a song except to write a song. But I write about what I’m contemplating, what I’m dealing with, what amuses me and affects me. I guess my cards are on the table.

You’ve got a background in slam poetry and have won some pretty impressive competitions with your work. Do you think all musicians are poets by nature?

This depends on how we define poetry. Simply put, if poetry has to be language, then no. If poetry is an expression of some form, then yes.

What’s your favorite set of lyrics by another artist, and why?

This is such a tough question. I love words and poetry, so I don’t have a favorite. I mean, I could quote so many different artists from folk to hip-hop to pop and everything in between. I will chose one for the sake of this interview. I think the why is obvious with this song… But it’s a great reminder.

“Everybody Knows” by Leonard Cohen

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

What’s next for you?

Good question. I have a bunch of goals for this year so we’ll see what happens. The visual for “Living Proof” is out now so I’ll use that to hopefully get some new attention and new opportunities from radio airplay to licensing deals and so on. I’ve been applying for touring and video grants so here’s hoping! I plan on doing another short tour from Vancouver to California in May, and I will be facilitating poetry workshops with 11th graders throughout the month of April. - Media Snobs

"Thank folk for New Bands"

Gena Perala
From the off it is obvious that Gena Perala has a certain thing about her, an eccentric poetic mind, a tinge of something strange, and a great uncontrollable creative streak. Having grown up travelling the carnival circuit, there’s no shortage of explanation for this character, but, as I didn’t know this previously, it was the sheer frank sincerity of her lyricism that made her stand out to me. She is obviously unafraid to share her feelings, and unlike many musicians, she does it believably. With songs like Hip Hop and Cartoons, Superstar Supernova and Life Is Hard, she is like the bridge between anti-folk and pop, like a Canadian Emmy The Great, or Rae Morris with a bit of punk spirit in her. Basically, Gena is someone you want to be your friend, but you’ll have to settle for her great music.
Based – Vancouver, Canada
Find her at – - Thank folk for that

"XXQs: with Gena Perala by"

Gena Perala

Posted on November 1, 2013 in Featured Artist by Richie Frieman
I’m pretty happy that I get it when our latest feature, Gena Perala, describes herself as “Jewel meets Peaches”. Why do I feel this way? No idea. All I can say is that it’s accurate, and I feel better inside knowing I understand.
Anyway, Perala, a “carny kid” turned fantastic pianist and musician, first hit the scene in 2008 with her debut album, and blesses us once again today with an all new collection titled Exactly Nowhere. We asked the up and coming singer/songwriter to tell us all about it: “There’s some really nice sounds, great musicians and I’m pretty lyrical. It’s also a real diverse collection, from soft lullabies, to lo-fi pop punk to carnival to country etc. As for process…I usually get an idea or a lyric and then build a melody as I write the lyrics – so the lyrics and the melody come cohesively. I often have ideas of how I want the song to sound as far as production goes, so I brought those ideas to the table during the recording process and Chris Gestrin and Russell Marsland were amazing in helping those ideas be realized.”

Click to to prepare for Exactly Nowhere – check out her schedule while you’re at it and if you’re in the NYC area, watch these new songs come to life at a live performance. There’s still much to get into, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQs below.

XXQs: Gena Perala (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what makes you stand out from others in your genre?

Gena Perela (GP): Eclec·tic: including things taken from many different sources. I think that answers both questions.

PEV: What kind of music were you into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?

GP: I loved all kinds of music growing up. My parents were, and still are, really into music so I spent a lot of time with their record collection. Sam Cooke to Cyndi Lauper to Paul Simon…the list goes on…I remember sitting on the floor and admiring all the album covers. The first concert I remember going to was Janet Jackson: Rhythm Nation. It was pretty awesome. I still have the t-shirt!!!

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage to perform?

GP: Yikes! and Yay!

PEV: What is the best part about being on stage in front of an audience?

GP: It’s almost like the songs aren’t fully realized or complete until I play them for others.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

GP: People are usually surprised to hear I grew up on the Carnival. I’m what you call a ”Carny Kid.”

PEV: What happens when you hit a brick wall when writing? What are your methods to get over it?

GProoftop1GP: I just wait.

PEV: How do you think the industry has changed since you first started out?

GP: I don’t know that it’s changed much since I released my first album in 2008. Mediocrity still rules the mainstream so there’s little money in independent art and artists unfortunately. Technology and the Internet make it possible for almost anyone to record and release an album, to connect with other artist all over the world, but again, it was like that in 2008 as well. So, I guess it hasn’t changed much.. But I’m no expert.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, Exactly Nowhere? What was the writing process like for this album?

GP: It was a real labor of love for myself and my two producers Chris Gestrin and Russell Marsland. There’s great production and instrumentation from violin and cello, pedal steel and trumpets, organ, glock and so on. There’s some really nice sounds, great musicians and I’m pretty lyrical. It’s also a real diverse collection, from soft lullabies, to lo-fi pop punk to carnival to country etc. As for process…I usually get an idea or a lyric and then build a melody as I write the lyrics – so the lyrics and the melody come cohesively. I often have ideas of how I want the song to sound as far as production goes, so I brought those ideas to the table during the recording process and CG and RM were amazing in helping those ideas be realized.

PEV: With all your traveling, is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

GP: Europe.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?

ENCoverSmGP: What career? Ha! Just kidding. Seriously though, I mean I’m still waitressing and doing music on the side so they’re super proud of me for sticking with it. Working hard. And they love the album. Well, most of them…I think.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

GP: I love riding bikes. I play bicycle polo (yeah it’s a sport). I love to read and hang out with my friends. In the summer, I’m all about the beach. And dancing is fun.

PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration. Why?

GP: There are so many but ok, o -

"Gena Perala, Exactly Nowhere ***Review*** Five Stars"

The all-too-familiar insecurities and vulnerabilities attendant to the pursuit of romance are the stuff of clever, ironic and relentlessly heart-pinching pop brilliance in the lyrical hands of Ms. Perala. Coupled with a tuneful sense that pivots seamlessly between naivete and sophistication, the Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist offers up a track-after-track stream of fresh sounding, enchanting fare. From-the-gut emotional tugs, as well as stick-with-you choruses spring forth from the candy-sweet torcher “Living Proof” and from the urgently heartsick title track. The harmonically smart arrangement of “Superstar Supernova” displays a savvy worthy of Joni Mitchell and the appealing quirkiness of “Hoopla” might bring a smile to Laurie Anderson’s face. One of this year’s standouts, hands down. - Roots Music Report

"Gena Perala, Exactly Nowhere ***Review***"

As an artist who had grown up amidst uncertainty, diversity, and character as the child of two parents who worked in the carnival circuit, Gena Perala transfers this experience into her music, whether intentional or not, seamlessly and to a great degree of skills and musicianship. Having previously released three books of poetry and a debut album, This Ain’t Pretty (2008), Perala has now released her second full length and has further established herself as a signified musician and songwriter. Exactly Nowhere plays out exactly as her childhood may have; full of uncertainty, diversity, character, and is also a very honest, no-holds barred record.

Gena Perala is not your average songwriter and helps blow away barriers and stereotypes that one may associate with a solo musician who sings and writes about the themes of love, heartbreak, and emotional struggles. Every song is so unique and differs so much in scale (yet none being any more significant that the other), sound, and it can really be hard, if not close to impossible, to properly identify Perala without sounding pretentious and a little ridiculous at the expense of multiple genre-headings and sub-headings. From the French themed and sung ‘La Fin’ to the pop-punk, bass driven ‘My Match’, to the country-inspired, prairie romp ‘Tell It To The Stars’, to ‘On Second Thought’ which could fit perfectly well in any 80’s musical, you never really know where the album will take you or what you are up for next. Perala shows off her musical diversity and fearless exploration and adventurism without exactly ‘showing off’, but instead does so with confidence, charm, and great modesty, never reaching for anything out of step or out of reach and as a result each track, no matter what direction she decides to go in, is just as good as the last.

Despite the immense diversity on the album, Perala is always able to tie it all together with her darling, strong, comforting, Southern-rooted vocals that add to not only each song, but each track, her own touch of personality and character. As well, her songs are intensely honest and Perala never strays away from touchy subjects or beats around the bush, always upfront and concise, her willingness to sing things, thoughts, and ideas that we may at first think of ‘weak’ or ‘desperate’, come off as stronger and more charismatic than ever. Never sugar-coating anything yet always able to sing with a sweetness that is hard to match, Perala has a natural knack for storytelling and opening up about certain subjects that others just cannot pull off or whom would never dare.

Whether you are looking to share a tear, enjoy the sun, hibernate in your bed, or feel some empowerment and outright fun, Exactly Nowhere has something for everyone and for any situation but no matter which that may be, Perala will never fail to bring out a creeping smile on your face. - MV Remix

"Gena Perala, Exactly Nowhere ***Review***"

Living Proof is the first introduction that listeners will likely have for Perala’s music, and it allows listeners to be entranced by her inimitable style. The track soars on plinking pianos and a vocal style that takes on hints of Sheryl Crow and Stevie Nicks. While Perala’s vocals are front and center, the instrumental arrangements present here provide a very thoughtful backdrop. Fine uses an interesting differentiation between the vocal and instrumental elements of the track; the disparate pacing of the two makes for a wholly unique track. Hip Hop and Cartoons ties together a sixties organ with a free-form set of vocals. The inclusion of a snap/clap track showcases Perala’s interest in the titular genre. Fat World is the perfect example of a late-album track that bolsters the album’s momentum. Hoopla spins listeners into an entirely new direction, all while keeping the same high quality that was presented during the opening strains of the album. The track takes on a Bif Naked meets Letters To Cleo feel that will keep listeners firmly tied to their seats until the conclusion of Exactly Nowhere’s final track, Neverland.

Neverland is a microcosm of the various styles and approaches that Perala took through the entirety of Exactly Nowhere. However nicely the track ties up the loose ends, Neverland still adheres to the adventurous spirit of the rest of the album and will keep listeners second guessing until the last note.

Interested readers can pick up a copy of Exactly Nowhere at Perala’s CDBaby ( ). Check out her website for more information about live shows, samples of her music, and methods to contact her.

Top Tracks: Fine, Hip Hop and Cartoons - Neufutur Magazine

"Gena Perala, Exactly Nowhere ***Review***"

Transition from poet to artist? Sure, there’s no leap there. Many would claim that their favorite song lyrics constitute “poetry” and you can see how poems could eventually become lyrical matter. For poet/songwriter Gena Perala, they certainly seem to be one and the same. The published poet has released her new album, Exactly Nowhere, 15-tracks of cathartic lyrical matter and demure backing musicality, all wrapped up in an emotive package.

“Living Proof” opens the album in Doo Wop fashion with tinkling piano notes, slight backing percussion and Perala’s stout vocal delivery. Backing keys and vocals bolster the sound but the musicality stays in the background allowing the star of the outfit to shine in the lyrics. The down tempo “Fine” opens with picked acoustic and weepy keys in the background before again, the vocal delivery stands at the foreground. The near spoken word lyrics tell the story of relationship analysis, which I can’t help but think is autobiographical. The contemplation continues through the body of the track as the “narrator” assures herself that “everything’s fine.” The mood changes with the quirky “Hip Hop and Cartoons.” Perala claims she sees her generation as “able to learn more from Hip Hop and cartoons than from any church or religion.” Again, the musicality is slight propelling the vocal delivery to the foreground. The lyrical matter is slightly jarring on this one but it speaks to self-awareness and validation. “La Fin” has an ethnic folk feel in the instrumentation of strings and plucked acoustic and alternating French and English in the lyrical matter. “Fat World” implements a Pop Punk feel with distorted electric guitar, staccato backing percussion and a social awareness in the message of the lyrical matter, speaking to the unrealistic expectations on women in today’s culture. The universal truths continue on “Life is Hard.” This track is more anecdotal lyrical matter that speaks beyond the containment of the track with simple piano melody bolstered by more weepy strings just underneath the surface of the track.

Perala certainly has the songwriting part down. Add her approachable vocal delivery and what you have is more than poet or artist or combination of the two. The songs aren’t simply written for the sake of writing songs but belie the fact that Perala is a socially aware dynamo of a woman. She isn’t afraid to take on taboo topics such as self-awareness, a woman’s self image and healthy and tumultuous relationships alike. If thought-provoking and emotive matter is your bag, go out and find that place called Exactly Nowhere.

by Christopher West –
- Skope Magazine


In the age of the mp3 people are favoring singles as opposed to the listening experience that an LP has to offer. This current climate has led many artists to think in terms of releasing singles here and there but Vancouver-based singer songwriter GENA PERALA is going against the grain with the release of her new 15-song album EXACTLY NOWHERE - an album that goes just about everywhere in terms of sound from baroque, musical theater, country, French pop, punk and even a few gospel, blues and hip hop flourishes.. While the music itself is ambitious and epic in it's scope it is PERALA's love of language that makes a huge impression. Just give the tracks LIFE IS HARD ( a track punctuated by the most delectable string arrangement), EXACTLY NOWHERE and her "church song" HIP HOP AND CARTOONS.
Listen Here: -

"'Eclectic' Sound on New LP"

A White Rock-born-and-raised musician has put the finishing touches on her sophomore album and is preparing to hit the road to promote her music.

Gena Perala’s Exactly Nowhere was released in June. She began writing and recording the tracks for it – a mix of genres ranging from pop-punk to country – in 2010.

“I just keep hearing that it’s eclectic and diverse and (critics) can’t quite pinpoint a genre, which I think is great. I never set out with a genre in mind. I just write songs and they are just written in such a way that they deserve a particular sound,” the Vancouver resident said. “Just because I’m not punk doesn’t mean I can’t write a song that has a pop-punk feel to it.”

The Earl Marriott graduate (1996) has previously released three books of poetry, and debuted her inaugural album, This Ain’t Pretty, in 2008. She is now gearing up to play a slew of venues from Vancouver to Los Angeles, and hopefully, tour in Europe.

Born to “carnie” parents, Perala, her brother and her mother would reside in White Rock while her father travelled with the carnival, eventually meeting up with him when school was done for summer break.

The unique experience helped shape Perala’s perspective, often meeting interesting characters while traveling the carnival circuit.

“It was just life for us. We were what you called ‘carnie kids’ and everyone kept an eye out for us. We just went from small town to small town,” she said.

“Because of the people I was exposed to, I think that probably made a difference.”

Perala continues to meet a variety of people – albeit a bit younger – in a different capacity now, as a facilitator for poetry workshops for teenagers. The workshops have included youth from juvenile correctional facilities as well as a handful of Greater Vancouver schools.

“One of my best friends is a teacher and she invited me to participate in a slam-poetry unit,” Perala explained. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been so nervous or frightened. I spent part of the class facilitating poetry with them and the poems were brilliant.”

Perala’s class spread through word of mouth, with more teachers inviting her into their classroom.

“It’s a great opportunity,” she said.

For more information about Perala, visit - The Peace Arch News

"WFIT 89.5 FM Features Exactly Nowhere"

C'est la Vie - Acoustic and World Beat Radio Show Features Exactly Nowhere:
Our second set was a featured album entitled, Exactly Nowhere by Gena Perala, its pronounced Jenna. also on U-tube, Amazon and all the other usual online stores. Why Gena Perala as a feature? Well it was the lyrics, and her tell all style, her voice, and the diversity of her song styles. There is only one song that's not in English, so this is not your typical world music CD. Yes she is from Canada, but it was really, the sheer amount of quality songs on one album that said, I had to share it with you.We played seven of the fourteen songs on the CD, and I gave background on the artist and her music. - WFIT 89.5 FM

"Garage CD of the Week"


Its a lively album, teeming with ideas, frank disclosures and thoughtful observations, so Gena Perala's Exactly Nowhere has a commensurately varied and occasionally disorienting style (or many styles). One minute Perala can recall Kate Bush, the next a French chanteuse. Throw in some drama offset by playfulness and her winsome voice, and Perala emerges as an individual who won't easily be classified. Production by Chris Gestrin and Russ Marsland can merge old fashioned rock&roll triplets with modern percussion, strings with piano, ugly with pretty. There is the feeling that Perala hasn't divined her sound yet, but we benefit as she and her producers opt for what best suits the song.

-The Province News
- The Province News

"Gena Perala’s Exactly Nowhere CD is Announced + Review"

Gena Perala’s Exactly Nowhere CD is Announced + Review

I had the chance to get an advanced listen to her upcoming album that really wowed me. She mixes the sounds of folk and pop music to create catchy yet mellow songs. The strong point for me was her intelligent lyrics, clearly from her poetry background, that never hung around for too long as the melody swept you away. This was especially evident in the album’s title song Exactly Nowhere and, perhaps my favourite, Fine. Although I couldn’t understand the words in La Fin (I’m really not much of a Canadian, not knowing French), I loved that song. It’s a great song that sounds positively French and is the first single with a video here. I’m definitely excited for the release of the album, so make sure to check out her music! - Honest Reviews Corner

"21 Questions with Gena Perala"

21 Questions with Gena Perala

May 30, 2013

A&C Interviews

21 Questions with Gena Perala

TNB: Please explain what just happened.

GP: Alanis Morissette came on the radio playing a hit from 1994, and then a very beautiful song came on. It’s called “All I Want,” by Kodaline. Pretty.

TNB: What is your earliest memory?

GP: I think I was in some kind of oxygen tent. I remember the color yellow, and my mom.

TNB: If you weren’t a musician, what other profession would you choose.

GP: Writer.

TNB: Describe a typical work day.

GP: Like a lot of my other days.

TNB: Is there a time you wish you’d lied?

GP: Can’t think of one.

Full interview here:

- The Nervous Breakdown - Literary blog & podcast

"Another art- and drama-fuelled album is Gena Perala’s Exactly Nowhere"

Another art- and drama-fuelled album is Gena Perala’s Exactly Nowhere. It moves around from style to style drastically, but is unified by Perela’s light, intimate but imposing voice. She’s at Chapel Arts June 16." - The Province News

"Gena Perala, Exactly Nowhere ***Review***"

It was a pleasure to discover Exactly Nowhere. I would describe it as Michael Nesmith once said to me about an album, "like a good hot-fudge Sundae, thick, rich, and slow to digest.” I found it to be intelligent, funny and insightful.

David Bean
Artist Airplay Advisors
Music Reviews @ - David Bean, President - Artist Airplay Advisors

"Interview with Gena Perala"

Gena Perala

popYOUlarity: Are you trying to prove anything with “This Ain’t Pretty”?
popYOUlarity: Do you believe that regardless of how blissful or turbulent life can be, that if you have faith, love and devotion, all can be healed, which in turn are precursors for creating a good album?
Gena:That’s a complicated question…If it’s simply about creating a good album –well, I don’t think there are any precursors, or you could also say there are many. They can come out of turbulence, bliss, pain, none and all of the above. Basically, there is no rhyme or reason to a good album…it just works; it’s got life, soul.

popYOUlarity: Nobody is perfect; people often make mistakes. What do you think one of your biggest mistakes has been so far?
Gena:I’m going with Oscar Wilde on this one "Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes."

popYOUlarity: What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten from a song?
Gena:This is a really tough question…I can think of songs that have made a difference for me, lyrics that I love but advice from an actual song? I’m not a huge fan of The Tragically Hip (sorry to say) but I’ve said this lyric to myself, a couple times in my life: “No one’s interested in something you didn’t do” – from the song ‘Wheat Kings’

popYOUlarity: How does your creative process work for you? Do you have to sit down in your space to do it, or is it just a matter of when inspiration hits you?
Gena:When it comes to song writing, I think I usually get a lyric or a sort of feeling or theme, and then, I sit at the guitar or piano and work it out a bit. A lot of times it’s something I’m dealing with - an outlet for the thoughts and emotions I’m having and I am so thankful to have that outlet. I think it keeps me a lot saner and balanced than if I didn’t have it.

popYOUlarity: Can you talk a bit about the artist growth that you have had since the start of the recording process?
Gena:Well of course since the songs that are on the album were written I’ve moved into such a different place in my life. My experiences have changed and of course so has my writing. I think I’ve grown lyrically but also I would hope the growth I’ve done as a person also comes through my writing

popYOUlarity: What is your most vivid recording studio moment and do you have a worst moment?
Gena:I have a few vivid moments…One would be when my producer came up with a sound that is on my album by clinking these two porcelain statue thingies together…I think one was this little pig and one was a dog or something – anyway, it sounded cool and we broke the poor piggy but the sound made it onto the album. I don’t have a worst moment, unless you count my producers uncomfortable furniture. I spent a lot of hours in uncomfortable furniture.

popYOUlarity: What is the hardest lesson you have learnt so far in the entertainment industry?
Gena:Mediocrity rules.

popYOUlarity: At this point, what do you fear most?
Gena:Not being happy.

popYOUlarity: In the big picture how would you like people to view your music?
Gena:As good music.

popYOUlarity: What made you feel like the record was done?
Gena:It was just done. We knew.
popYOUlarity: Is song writing a gift or skill?
Gena:For me it feels like a gift but that’s not to discourage anyone from writing songs because they have to work at it. If you want to write a song, write a song, gift, skill, whatever.

popYOUlarity: Is there any music you don’t respect?
Gena:I either like a song or not, I think it’s well written or not, but I don’t respect or disrespect songs. I might, however, lose respect for people who listen to a particular song or music, but I don’t disrespect the song itself.

popYOUlarity: What do you want out of an audience?
Gena:I love an audience who listens and is willing to get into it.

popYOUlarity: What are you looking forward to for the rest of this year?

popYOUlarity: Do you have anything you would like to say to the readers of popYOUlarity?
Gena:Check out my website at -

"Gena Perala - Artist to watch for"

Each month Skope will cover 8 bands that we have discovered through and that Skope feels are doing music that is unique, powerful, and has loads of appeal. Check out my feature here: - Skope Magazine

"Gena Perala, This Ain't Pretty ***Review***"

Gena Perala
A probing collection of songs blending folk and rock sensabilities. 'This Ain't Pretty' isn't, but its charmed with a direct language that will have you thinking, while still supported by moments of wide eyed wonderment. Perala smoothly blends the folk and rock traditions well with an abitily to build power while maintaining the arts inherent integrity. Her skill for this makes me think of Tom Cochrane.

There are some very good singles in the album. One in particular had me paralyzed and that would be track 6, 'American Way'. Also noteworthy is her classic, 'Baby Girl' and I was really excited about her spoken word ending track called, 'I am offended'. That's brilliant.

This is one you can't hear just once.

Ryan Fletcher
Melodies in Mind
CJSF Radio

Print and online version of Hear\Say Magazine's March issue
Who: Gena Perala
What: Singer-songwriter whose music has a not-so-ordinary sound to it.
On The Web:
Sounds Like: A less mainstream version of Sara Bareilles
Stand Out Single: This Dance - CJSF Radio

"Gena Perala, This Ain't Pretty ***Review***"

Gena Perala - This Ain't Pretty
2008, Gena Perala

British Columbia might just be one of the most vibrant scenes in all of rock and roll. I've had the distinct pleasure of hearing several bands from BC in the past few months and I have been extraordinarily impressed. It's come to a point where I have high expectations whenever I see a return address on a submission from Western Canada. Gena Perala bears up these expectations with room to spare. This Ain't Pretty is an impressive project combining thoughtful, sometimes biting lyrics, top notch folk-rock songwriting and a distinctive, memorable voice (figuratively and literally).

Lyrically I would put Gena Perala up with Ani DiFranco for frank honesty, disturbing perspective and aesthetic pursuit. Musically the songs are functional. Perala is more in the singer-songwriter tradition, where the songs are more vehicles for the stories than art forms in and of themselves. That being said, she is an accomplished songwriter with a keen ear for melody and beauty.

Baby Girl is currently my favorite song on the album, although I suspect this is one of those seminal recordings where I will be listening to it for a long time and the favorites will change over time. Bride To Be is another gem. It opens almost like a minor-key sea shanty and turns darker as optimism fades by the first chorus. American Way is a biting look at the influence of American Pop Culture ("Tell me we're more than opposable thumbs"). I would also highly recommend Knew I Was In Trouble and Restless By Nature.

I believe that Gena Perala is the sort of distinctive voice that only comes around every 10 years or so. She bears the linguistic gravitas of a Bruce Cockburn or a Canadian Springsteen. She bears hearing, and I strongly recommend This Ain't Pretty to my readers.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Gena Perala at, where you can purchase a copy of This Ain't Pretty. - Wildy's World

"B-Scene, a new web concert series"

Russell Marsland is going forward and backward at the same time.

His B-Scene, an Internet TV series shot monthly at Strut Studio, wants to expose new talent we'll be hearing more about in the future. Talent such as Gena Perala..
- The Province News

"Got a nice Shout Out in The Province!"

The Garage has heard some good things about Gena Perala, through Russell Marsland. Marsland co-produced her Exactly Nowhere CD with Chris Gestrin. Perala plays Chapel Arts on June 16.

- The Province News

"Strut Studios presents The B-scene web concert series"

Check out a little impromptu song I did for the B-Scene opening gala at Strut Studios - Strut Studios

"North By Northwest Interview on CBC"

CBC Interview

"Hi Gena,

I want to let you know that you created quite a buzz amongst nxnw listeners. I had so many emails and calls from listeners who said your poem and songs just spoke to them so and women...range of ages...all wondering how to spell your name, find your website, your music and your books"

Sheryl MacKay
North By Northwest
CBC Radio - CBC Radio


"Gena is fresh, original, edgy and melodic,...a poet."

-Bob Siegel, Siegel Entertainment

"Gena is Smart, Funny, Edgy and full of honest soul and Passion. And she's beautiful, inside and out. It shines through her, and if you pay attention, you too will see and hear what I heard. A very gifted artist whose heart is hard wired in the open position...exactly the way it should be! She'll make you laugh, cry and maybe even think! And that is what we all need to be better members of the human race...Enjoy her spirit."

RUSSELL MARSLAND, Producer, Musician, Songwriter, Teacher

"Gena Perala is such a talent and completely captivated the audience with her dynamic delivery and presence. Gena not only does spoken word but combines it with singing and is truly a unique and gifted artist. In addition to her talent, Gena was extremely easy and professional to work with and I would highly recommend her to other entertainment buyers for festivals, fairs, concerts and special events and would not hesitate to hire her for any events that I am working on."

JODI SMITH - JLS Ent., Publicist/Entertainment Coordinator Pacific National Exhibition and Harmony Arts Festival

"Gena is the kind of student every teacher would wish for, hard working, self creating, naturally talented with huge potential. In her I see a rising star with a new kind of intelligence and courage."

SHEINAGH ANDERSON - Teacher/Voice Artist

"I'm just stunned by the quality of your work. In all my years I can't remember a single friend or artist that achieved what you have, the first time without major label support. It's gotta be you! That energy and enthusiasm seem to translate into perpetual forward motion. No loss of time or energy. Always the right connection. Always the most favorable choices. The only negative is that now I have to wait a while for the next one. Darn!"

SANDRO CAMERIN - Teacher/Guitar Player

"I came to the church of Gena and left a believer, moved to tears from 'Free'. Can't seem to make a lot of sense, still processing the experience. Overwhelmed."


"It was an honour and a pleasure to have Gena Perala join our Telus Mobility City Arts Performance at the Pacific National Exhibition. She brought youth, tenacity and inspiration to our event. Gena possesses potential beyond her years. She has an intrinsic ability to invoke raw responses from her audience. She doesn't merely present a story, a song; she takes you on a visual journey. We would absolutely include Gena in any further performances and gladly offer up our recommendation for this brilliant young artist."

GRACIE AYLWARD - VSOS City Art Producer - Various

"International Airplay"

My recent release "This Ain't Pretty" has begun to get international airplay in Ireland, Italy, The USA, Australia and CBC Canada!!!

"like a much more listenable Alanis Morrisette' in that she also sings about slightly confronting topics, but better. Nice voice, good arrangements"
-Arthur Elliot
Queensland Australia
*Australia Radio 99.7FM*, Program - Sidestream - Radio

"My first Feature Film"

I will be featured in my first feature film. It's called "Love Happens" and stars Jennifer Anniston and Aaron Eckhart. - Traveling (now called Love Happens)

"Pongid Radio"

Congratulations! We have listened to Chasing Butterflies and would like to add your song to our station's rotation! We listen to every submission and choose the songs that we like and that we believe will add to the overall quality of our station - so congrats and welcome to the Pongid Radio community. There is a lot of competition here and we believe that you are among the best! -

"Pretty Ugly"

Peace Arch News
Pretty, ugly

By Laura Baziuk - Peace Arch News

Published: July 26, 2008 10:00 AM
Updated: July 26, 2008 2:43 PM

Homegrown singer writes about beauty in her debut album

Gena Perala believes a flawless smile is not beautiful. She’d need a gap between the front teeth, or a bend in the grin, to call it beautiful.

The singer-songwriter, originally from White Rock and now living in Vancouver, says true beauty is awkward or off-kilter.

“What’s beautiful is just authenticity,� says Perala. “It’s better to be vulnerable.�

The guitar and piano player with the smooth, Jewel-like voice sits on her parents’ deck in the sunshine. She wears a grey T-shirt with ‘BEAUTIFUL’ spelt backwards and in reverse across the chest.

Perala croons about the challenges to be beautiful on her first album, This Ain’t Pretty, which was released to stores and radio stations last month.

If she had to slot herself into a genre, she says she would choose both folk and anti-folk, though she thinks of herself more as a “blended wine� of music.

She’s hit several key steps as a rising musical star – including a music video, an appearance on Vancouver talk show Urban Rush, and a non-exclusive contract with small American label, HCM.

The only thing missing now from her career is a professional manager, she says with a laugh. Right now, her mom organizes and promotes her gigs.

Perala grew up in White Rock and spent her summers touring with her parents, who work in the M. F. Wagner Circus.

Singing as both an art form and career creeped up on her when she started to attend and perform in poetry slams.

“I started fusing songs into the poems. My dad bought me a guitar, and I wrote my first song, Restless by Nature.

“It just connected,� she says.

A lyrical writer “first and foremost,� Perala says she composes from what is uppermost in her mind.

“It’s an outlet for all the things that I’m thinking. Otherwise, they keep circling in my head.�

It’s better to be vulnerable, she adds, such as in the openings lines “I’m disgusting/I’m really disgusting...� from one of her favourites from her album, My first plea.

Those lyrics might make some people uncomfortable, but Perala says she just lets her true feelings out.

“We just need to remember we’re just as ugly as we are pretty.�

Just like the gap that offsets the perfect smile, she says balance is key to beauty.

Her first album charts a “constant inquiry� to find her own beauty, both inner and outer.

She says she’s hard on herself. She debated whether to wear her thick-framed, cat-eye glasses for this article’s photograph.

“It’s always this battle to accept myself,� she says. “My awkwardness is part of who I am.�

Love and beauty comes with acceptance, she says, and through each career turning point, she learns to overcome society’s physical ideals and accept her image.

“There’s something I can provide for women just in starting to own my own beauty.�

But with all her milestones, Perala says she still enjoys the small achievements – the personal connections – the most.

“It’s not about me, it’s this piece of art we’re making,� she says of the more than 50 people who helped produce the music video for her album’s third track, Baby Girl.

She has also performed for huge concerts, but she feels the most warmth when she plays to a small crowd, such as a gig in North Vancouver last week.

“There was only five people there, but each bought a CD. To me, that’s a turning point. That’s 100 per cent. I really got to contribute and inspire people.�

Friends of friends have even played her songs at funerals and used her lyrics in their weddings vows.

“I felt like I was an artist,� says Perala. “I’m the heartstrings.�

Her next album, yet to be recorded and titled, is a little cheekier, she says.

The CD will feature more piano and deals with relationships – and how “life is just so hard, even when it’s easy.�

She hopes to one day tour with a famous artist like the Raconteurs, Tom Waits or Damien Rice, but for now, she’s preparing to perform with her own band, Vancouver-based TomGirl, at their first gig at the ArtsAlive festival in Langley on Aug. 16.
- Peace Arch News


Still working on that hot first release.




Gena Perala grew up as a carny kid, spending much of her childhood traveling with her family on the carnival circuit. Perhaps this explains her astute lyrical insight into human nature and the world around us. She wears her heart on her sleeve and is refreshingly herself. Her lyrics, her voice and her willingness to bare all, create an atmosphere of poignancy and revelation. She was once described as "Jewel meets Peaches", which is a pretty good description.

Gena started by performing in the Vancouver Poetry Slam before bringing her love of writing and her love of singing together. Her dad bought her a guitar; she muddled her way through it and soon wrote her first song, "Restless by Nature" (This ain't pretty, 2008). She has since performed for the United Nations, on the PNE Main Stage, at the Stanley Theater, up the East Coast and all over Vancouver. She was cast as herself in a feature film entitled "Love Happens", starring Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart and was the winner of the Rock the Vote audio contest, winning $1500.00 for her poem expressing the importance of voting. Most recently one of Gena's songs can be found in an independent feature film "Me, my mom and a whistle".

Gena Perala also works with the youth in her community, hired to facilitate poetry and music workshops within Surrey Juvenile Correctional facilities as well as within Vancouver's School District. The guardians of the Correctional facility said they had never seen the boys (aged 13-17) so respectful and so engaged with any facilitator, ever.

Gena has published three books of poetry, "I'm a Worst Case Scenario Type of Girl"(2003), "Clean Getaway"(2005) and "Better Sorry than Safe"(2011). She has released two solo albums "This Ain't Pretty"(2008) on rotation at CBC, and most recently, a real labor of love, "Exactly Nowhere"(2013).

Gena Perala also plays with a band called Tomgirl, a melodic indie pop band. You can hear their music here:

Canadian and American Citizenship
Often splitting her time playing music between Vancouver and NYC

Band Members