Interview with Gioia Bruno of Exposé


AE: You had a benign throat tumor while you were still performing with Exposé. Did that come from singing?
GB: No, you know like anything, any kind of a cancer, it’s from stress.

AE: Oh yeah, and you get it where it really counts because it shuts you down.
GB: Yeah. Stress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition. And I was forced to come off the road, and in doing so I had a lot of time to really investigate holistic types of medicines and herbal remedies and basically just shutting my big fat mouth.

AE: What was the signal? Did you feel a lump or your voice was affected?
GB: Actually my voice was affected, that was the first sign. … There was an actual growth in my vocal chord and it was inside, like a node would happen on the outside. So this happened on the inside and just started to swell. They said that if they operated that I would never, ever sing again. We found out that it was benign and I looked up everything; my family and everybody was working on it. And I spoke to a few different doctors. I went to the professor of otolaryngology at [the University of] Miami/Jackson [Memorial Medical Center], and he told me that they can shrink. And it’s completely gone. And I got involved in just really great supplements — I’m like the vitamin whore.

AE: What are the other holistic things you did?
GB: The reason I went to those was because they starting giving me steroids, and I started feeling really wacky. But just all these different herbal remedies — I used Eastern medicine, I did acupuncture.

AE: Were you still touring at that time?
GB: What happened in the summer of '91 [was] I had to stop performing because business and contractual obligations just got really complicated. They kept trying to push me to go back out and I was like, “You don’t understand, this thing is just getting worse.” It was at that point it was just growing, and I was singing worse and worse. How can I get on stage? What can I do? I want to get well and you’re not worth it, sorry guys. Not the girls.

And I wouldn’t compromise. I just said, "If I’m ever going to sing again, we’ll do what I really wanted to do," which was … I wanted to be a songwriter and sing with a band and have fun and screw the record business. I didn’t want that, I just kind of fell into it, and everybody thinks it’s like some fairy tale thing, but I’m saying it’s a curse. [Laughs.]

No it wasn’t a curse, I can’t even go down saying that, but I can I tell you that three women, three menstrual cycles — I know why I never wanted to be with women in my 20s, because I was with Ann [Curless] and Jeanette [Jurado]. As much I love them, each of them I’m sure they’d say the same thing. We’d want to kill each other every other day. But I embrace them now. I didn’t talk to them for so long, and now we’re talking due to work.

AE: When you hear “Point of No Return,” what do you think of?
GB: The goosebumps I used to get. And I’m grateful for that, and I still get those goosebumps and people still freak out when they hear it. I think that I’m a damn lucky girl, is what I think when I think about those songs, because I really had a great career with it. And when it really comes down to it, was I miserable then? Yes. Am I grateful for it? Hell yes. And would I do it again? Double hell yes, I would just do it a little bit differently.

AE: What would you do differently?
GB: I’d have a hell of a good attorney. And I wouldn’t listen to half to the people that influenced me back then. I’d be a little stronger as a woman and more independent, which is what I feel I’ve become.

AE: You’re very ripped; what do you do to stay in shape?
GB: I pretty much do shakes every day. I have a business that I do — my Usana business — that’s what I’m talking about with supplements and stuff; I found a company that has 100 percent of everything I need for me. And my voice has gotten so much better; it’s so much more consistent. And then I do the shakes because it’s all low glycemic and my blood sugar has to be regulated. When I have too much, I go off the freakin' wall. And I eat healthy. It became like a lifestyle thing for me. I love fried chicken but it doesn’t love me. I love to cook, so I’ve learned how to make things that don’t normally taste good taste really good.

AE: What’s your workout routine?
GB: I lift weights and do cardio just like pretty much everyone else, but I do superset everything, chest and tri's, back and bi's, that kind of routine. Then I’m bad too, I really don’t work that hard. I think what it is, is years and years of doing it. I was 16 when I started, so I’m really blessed. Thank you God that I can even have any muscle left. And I move really fast. So just the energy, I just go.

AE: Your daughter Brianna was born in 1988 during the height of your Exposé fame. How did you deal with being a mom and a traveling performer?
GB: She was born when “Seasons Change” was number one. [Laughs.] She was with me all the time. She was on every stage and every dressing room. Her microphone stand was always set up, and her little white shoes — her poor little feet were all crooked, so we had to straighten them out, so she would always wear these little clunker shoes and she had her little headphones on so we wouldn’t blow her brains out. She was so cute. She knew the dance moves better than we did at 2 years old. She had three mamas; all three of us took care of her.

AE: Does she do any singing or dancing now?
GB: She sings her friggin' butt off. She’s amazing, but she doesn’t want to be a singer, and I guess seeing me struggle so much. She wants to be a writer. … She’s my best friend, I love her so much. That’s my world.

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