Grace McCrady and Gigi Amal have been playing together, writing songs, and developing a musical partnership based in the ukulele for years. After hearing a full band behind their songs and wanting to expand their identity, they changed their name from The Ukuladies to The Gemnize. In Latin Gemini means twins, which reflects their strength as a vocal duo. You’ll also notice how “MN” sits nicely in the middle of their name, rooting them as true Minnesota artists.
They’ve built a following that has bloomed into their debut album being fully funded by contributors on Kickstarter. This has allowed them to explore professional recording at Studio 65 to fill out their songs, have new promotional photos taken, and release new merchandise. The result is Wild Hearts, a culmination of stories and experiences Gigi and Grace have been through or witnessed their friends go through.
“Peaches” opens the album with a lone ukuele and smokey bass. The song ties in the album cover with a story of the title heroine running away in the rebel car. Sometimes the bad decision carries a heavier lure than listening to the correct voice. “Siren” strings that theme into a metaphor of a ship at sea and witnessing the impending lighthouse siren of a crash.
“You must be careful baby,
You’re pulling me in slowly and I feel that a crash is coming,
It’s time to sound the siren.”
The full band adds sass and swing to “You Ain’t a Bad Man.” If you hear it on a juke box, be prepared: the bar is sure to break out dancing.
The vulnerable “Everywhere” opens up a common wound of reflecting on the one that got away. The swoon and almost illogical pursuit of someone is easily relatable. The Gemnize tug at those strings beautifully. The album is filled with stories of love and love lost.
The Gemnize showcase their range on “Into the Blue.” Its gypsy, Fleetwood Mac vibe benefits greatly from the full band. It speaks of finding a partner, feeling comfortable in the relationship, then feeling it slowly slip away.
“Why do you try to push all my love aside
You pull me back and forth and then you run away and hide.”
Finishing out the album is the title track, “Wild Hearts.” The hopeful song exemplifies moving forward with love as the guide. The lyrics creatively tie in the stars (I’m imagining the Gemini constellation) and railroad tracks that help symbolize traveling with a purpose. We follow the story of two lovers moving to the Midwest, starting a family, and constantly reminding themselves of the times where their hearts were wild. It’s a reminder that in all fairy tales, ‘happily ever after’ always comes after struggles, mistakes, and sadness.
Wild Hearts carries the story of a woman who grows into herself through experiences in life, love, and heartbreaks. Each song brings another chapter and way to relate to your own personal journeys. There are plenty of gems on this album that can serve as reminders and guides to get you through life’s troubles. The Gemnize deliver a constellation of songs that shine bright with Wild Hearts.