Gouge Away's Christina Michelle: 5 Women Who Inspire Me | Revolver

Gouge Away's Christina Michelle: 5 Women Who Inspire Me

Post-hardcore singer highlights Kim Gordon, Ginger Spice and others
gouge away christine Michelle PRESS 2020, Tommy Cantwell
photograph by Tommy Cantwell

March is Women's History Month, a time to reflect, celebrate and advocate. With that in mind, we asked a number of our favorite artists to highlight some of the women who have most inspired them. Up today, Christina Michelle, singer of Floridian post-hardcore rabble-rousers Gouge Away. She chimed in fresh off the release of her band's stellar new two-song EP Consider b/w Wave of Mutilation, which features the raging original "Consider" plus a reverent cover of the Pixies' 1989 classic "Wave of Mutilation."

1. Kim Gordon
I feel like it might come as a surprise that Kim Gordon has become an influence of mine just recently. We have always been compared to Sonic Youth in some way so I have this habit of banning myself from listening to anyone we're compared to, just so I don't accidentally get influenced too much. It's hard to ban yourself from Kim Gordon forever, though. I think she contributed such a unique presence and sound without ever being gimmicky and I especially appreciate her for doing her thing because she seems like a shy person. As a shy person myself, it can be intimidating not just to perform and be visible, but also because I think a lot of people expect the person with the mic to be a hype man or at least exude confidence. I appreciate her for being a woman who just wants to play music without all the fluff. She's spoken about how she didn't see herself as a "girl in a band" until people started referring to her as such and I relate to that a lot.

2. Beyoncé
I don't think there's enough time in the world to explain my admiration for Beyoncé so making this brief is tough! She's managed to stay relevant throughout my entire life. She's confident in every way, which I look up to a lot. She's a master in every craft: singing, dancing, performing, orchestrating her vision, and so on. I feel like pop artists often get written off because they have a lot of people involved in their work, but if you look into her career even briefly, you'll see that she really is the mastermind and she works harder than most. She's an all-around powerhouse and she makes me want to work harder at everything.

3. Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger Spice
It might be funny to have a Spice Girl on my list in 2020, but hear me out. I was blessed to have the Spice Girls to look up to at such a young age. They had messages of feminism, girl power and friendship over competition. Geri was particularly vocal about it. I feel like she was singled out the most in a negative way for how sexy she was, but she never seemed to tone herself down, despite criticism. If you believed in their message, you started to believe that it was OK to be yourself unapologetically. Wear what you want. Be shy or loud. Respond to critics with humor and pay them no mind. I might have been too young at the time to articulate my feelings, but I always knew they were not only relevant in the moment, but making an impact on us young girls forever. I hope every young girl has a Ginger Spice.

4. Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast
Michelle has so much power in her softness. It's such a skill to be able to sing so dreamily and still have a voice that carries so much depth and substance. I find her to be just insanely talented. She's directed her own music videos, carried Japanese Breakfast as a solo artist, and is a great storyteller in her writing. There's no faking the emotion, and her songs and live performances have moved me to tears on many occasions.

5. Candice Maritato of Woolbright
The definition of resilience. Candice is one of my best friends and a former roommate. I've seen her go through a lot of hardship in a short amount of time, but somehow she still carries herself with grace and wisdom. She cares about everyone in her life with her absolute entire heart. I've always admired her for being direct with people even when the conversation might not be an easy one. She's the person in the room who will manage to be your friend by the end of the night and remind you to drink enough water.