At 26, Gina Venier stylishly combines her soulful blues roots and pop influences to create an original sound that defies fitting into a genre.
Raised in the small town of Dixon, IL, Venier pulls from her dad’s musical background as a blues musician to find inspiration behind her unique style and stage presence.
At the age of 6, Venier started singing and playing the drums. At 13, picked up the guitar and has been playing live ever since. She credits her dad for infusing a passion for music in her at an early age, and he frequently shares the stage with her today.
Early on, music was never a career choice front runner for Venier. She received a degree in Broadcasting in 2012 from Elmhurst College, but soon after found more desire and passion to be in front of an audience, than in front of a script. After playing local shows in her hometown and the Chicago area, she started to put her focus toward developing her craft as an original artist.
In the summer of 2012, Venier auditioned for Chicago’s largest singing competition “Bar 1 Big Break.” After showcasing her creative versatility and artistry on piano, guitar, and drums, she made it through the 10 rounds of auditions. At the finale, Venier performed an original song “Enough For Me,” and won.
After winning the competition, Venier began playing more shows in the Chicago scene and writing songs.
In 2013, Venier moved to Nashville where she began to focus entirely on compiling her original catalog.
She played the Nashville scene as both an artist, and as a writer and drummer for other artists in town.
In 2014, while living in Nashville, Venier auditioned for Season 14 of Fox’s American Idol.
“I had heard the show was holding auditions in town, and since I was living down the street from where they were, I felt like I had to show up and try it.”
With her soulful voice, and “one woman-band” set up of cajon, kick pedal, guitar, and “lucky egg,” Venier wow-ed producers and judges with her first audition of ZZ Ward’s “Put The Gun Down.” After all three judges gave her a “yes” she was through to Hollywood. Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Conick Jr. were continually surprised and impressed by the unique performances she brought to the show. Lopez called her a, “funky, funky girl” and Urban would frequently comment on Venier’s “true artistry.” Gina made it to the season’s overall Top 48 contestants, and was Top 24 for female contenders.
Post-American Idol buzz and success, Venier got back to spreading her ‘hybrid genre’ of blue-eyed soul pop as a singer/songwriter in and out of Chicago-land venues and throughout the Nashville music scene. Both Chicago and Nashville have been exploiting her distinctive vibe, whether through an intimate acoustic show, or fronting a band, each performance is guaranteed to be dynamic.
She draws on her percussive background to heighten her live performance of rhythm guitar, and showcases an expressively raw and raspy vocal tone during live shows, creating an unparalleled live performance of natural soul.
Currently, Gina continues performing, writing, and accumulating original works leading up to her first record release. “Artist’s are rarely satisfied, or feel “ready” to be fully exposed. It’s a vulnerable position to be in. I want to be smart about it. I definitely want to be heard, and I’m working hard at it.”
Her style challenges fitting into a definitive genre, and blends the art of singer/songwriter meets radio-worthy blue-eyed soul pop. “I want to make music that is universal and relatable… that people, including myself, enjoy listening to. I also want my live show to be something to write home about.”
Music has become her exclusive project and this extraordinary talent holds all the characteristics of a true artist on the rise.
All show tickets are final. No refunds. Lineup subject to change at artists discretion. During shows, we are truly a “LISTENING ROOM” and will expect conversations be kept to a whisper out of respect to the artists on stage. The writers you will listen to are the ones who actually wrote the songs you’ll hear. These aren’t “cover songs” – these are the talented writers who wrote them. The Listening Room reserves the right to ask anyone to move outside or leave during the show if they are being disruptive to others with no refunds given. Tickets are for “dinner and a show” and we will begin seating typically 30 minutes prior to your show time. We will only hold reservations for 15 MINUTES AFTER SHOW TIME. If you are not at the show within 15 minutes of show time, The Listening Room may release your seats to other guests and consider you a no-show. To maximize seating, it is possible you will be seated with another party at the same table (i.e. two couples sat at a table of four). The Listening Room has a $10 food/drink minimum PER PERSON, PER SHOW. Your ticket guarantees you a seat (if you arrive within the time policy stated above), and seats are on a first come, first seated basis to all ticket holders – for seats closer to the stage, please show up early. We may stream our shows online or video portions of our shows. By purchasing ticket you agree that your image or likeness may be shown online during streamed shows or on audio/video recordings. Many other common questions may be answered by viewing our FAQ section on our website – listeningroomcafe.com/frequently-asked-questions/. Thank you, and we look forward to having you at the show!