Work samples

  • tangerine ~ nina gala
    excerpt of 'tangerine', track 7 from nina gala's debut album "swan heart," accompanied by micro-visual
  • perfect, precious - nina gala
    excerpt of 'perfect, precious', track 4 from nina gala's debut album "swan heart," accompanied by micro-visual.
  • nina gala ~ casalena live (dc, 2022)
    nina gala performing 'casalena,' at a private show in DC. 'casalena' is track 10 from gala's debut album, "swan heart".
  • the making of my debut album, swan heart
    micro-visual including behind the scenes footage from the making of nina gala's debut album "swan heart," accompanied by the title track.

About nina

Baltimore City

Singer, songwriter and guitarist, nina gala, creates intensely intimate songs that draw attention to the richness of our inner worlds and the preciousness of our feelings, experiences and dreams. gala has become known in Baltimore's rich underground for quieting rooms with her unmistakable voice and emotionally charged solo shows since the project’s inception in 2015. Following the release of two EPs “gala.” (2017) and “renaissance” (2020), gala made an exciting return… more

swan heart (album, 2022)

In the summer of 2020, gala found herself at the end of a six year long partnership, in the middle of a pandemic and living alone for the first time. Over the next six months, with not much more than a mattress on the floor and her amp plugged into the wall, she started writing the songs which would become her debut album, "swan heart". With support from emerging Baltimore-based producer Erik Schwarzenberg, who co-produced the album, gala has expanded her sonic universe from sparse voice and guitar only compositions to include bass written by gala herself, percussion, and string arrangements by Jon Birkholz (Super City, Soul Cannon). While emotive storytelling remains at the center of gala's practice, these embellishments help "swan heart" stand out as the most sophisticated piece in the artist's collection.

"swan heart" was released digitally worldwide on October 15, 2022. In collaboration with Daemon TV, a UK based record label, the album was also released on limited edition cassette. 

all songs written and performed by nina gala
string arrangements by jon birkholz
percussion by erik schwarzenberg

produced by erik schwarzenberg, nina gala
mixed by erik schwarzenberg
vocals, guitars & bass engineered by erik schwarzenberg
percussion engineered by garrett long at the watermelon room
mastered by mat leffler-schulman at mobtown studios

additional performers:
violin by yu-ting wu
viola by allen hicks
cello by zack branch

photography, artwork: nina gala
artwork design assistance: taylor casalena
  • swan heart
  • "swan heart" album artwork
    Photography, styling by nina gala Design assistance by Taylor Casalena
  • swan heart on limited edition cassette via Deamon TV
    In collaboration with UK based record label, Daemon TV, "swan heart" was released on limited edition cassette (edition of 50 in dusty pink and white) and accompanied by “retreat,” a zine created by gala, featuring hand written diary entries, film photography and other mementos from her time creating the album.
  • retreat: the making of swan heart
    “retreat,” a zine created by gala in collaboration with UK based record label, Daemon TV. It features hand written diary entries, film photography and other mementos from her time creating her debut album, swan heart. (full download on next slide)
  • retreat the making of swan heart.pdf
    “retreat,” a zine created by gala, and released alongside "swan heart" on limited edition cassette in collaboration with UK based record label Daemon TV. The zine features hand written diary entries, film photography and other mementos from her time creating her debut album, "swan heart". images were taken by gala herself, as well as Erik Schwarzenberg, the co-producer, lead engineer and percussionist on the album.
  • nina gala - the river is mine (fadensonnen, 2022)
    a clip of nina gala performing her song 'the river is mine' at fadensonnen on december 15, 2022.

we looked like angels (a virtual live performance, 2021)

  • we looked like angels ~ a virtual live performance
    an intimate virtual performance of 'we looked like angels,' track 3 from "swan heart". This piece was originally recorded and release during the height of the pandemic when live performances were not possible.

renaissance (EP, 2020)

an artistic awakening
a coming of age
a renaissance

renaissance is nina gala's second independently released ep. 

all music written & performed by nina gala
artwork by nina gala
recorded by jon birkholz
mixed by chris freeland (beat babies studio)
mastered by elaine rasnake (daughterboard audio)
  • renaissance artwork
  • 1. red hot sun
    the clouds are changing overhead and we can too the rivers reaching through the bend and we can too the calendar laughs and I forget that no flower blooms all year long I want to lose my body in a turquoise tide and the roll of the red hot sun
  • 2. new moon
    the moon is shy in a tight black cape mars the maternal eye sinks inside the solar plane and it don't ask our permission it don't need our blessing she is what she is she does what she does there ain't no second guessing and the chemicals wax and wane a red cloud of smoke and there's no hawk of war and there's no peaceful dove cus what we think we know ends and begins at what we're taught such sophisticated language for so little understanding there's no universal truth from one point of view there's no truth but the paths to understanding surround you so listen to your sisters and listen to your brothers and let their voices rise with the others history was written but some were forgotten let their stories sprout out like flowers in a garden it's our garden
  • 3. fruit, bread & cream
    fruit, bread and cream i've got all that I need and I feel rich when you stand next to me and we're carving our own paths like snakes in the sand and we're waiting on a sign fruit, bread and cream I found my soul when you gave me a name and I feel rich cus we're still dreaming and we're carving our own paths parachutes across the sky and we're waiting on a sign fruit, bread and cream your eyes, moonlight and mary jane the warm curve of your body I got what I need
  • 4. red bird, white rose
    god is cruel but god is me waiting room energy out of you and out into the air out of you and out into the great unknown and the black side of my heart a nest of soot and twine turned to greet the world again unkind I thought I saw you red bird I thought I felt you white rose shadow over my head shadow over the family shadow over the home shadow over my head shadow over the family wish you could come home I thought I saw you red bird I thought felt you white rose
  • fruit, bread & cream ~ a short film by nina gala
    a short film by nina gala based on track 3 of renaissance, "fruit, bread & cream"

"gala." (EP, 2017)

"gala." is a memoir-- an exploration of girlhood, vulnerability, trauma, and silence.

the entirety of "gala." was written and performed by nina, recorded by jon birkholz at hippo hut and mixed by chris freeland at beat babies recording studio.

born wet: 7:14
theres so many words i've never spoken
tiny jewelry lockets never opened
i buried my tiny mind in sand and snow
i tucked away my love in the back of the top drawer

i was born wet
but i had to walk
made to speak
forbidden to talk
shy in the summer
you cut my hair off
i looked like joan of arc
in a turtle neck
and denim overalls

some things you just don't get back
that others have taken
you kick and then you scream
and then you play dead

don't forget to leave a light on
somewhere inside yourself
you will have your entire lifetime
to try and dig it back out

and here i am
and i wasn't meant
to be beautiful
or brilliant
yet here i stand
not as ugly as you imagined
somehow beautiful
and brilliant
i was born wet but i had to walk

little mothers: 5:43
when did my uncle 
start saying i love you 
every single day 
all these acts of kindness 
somehow combined into 
a great big wave 
and i sailed away 

the neighbors called us 
little mothers 
cus we took care of ourselves 
sneaking through the forest 
hovering over the stove 
putting dad to sleep 
well i've been hell 
so i know a pineapple paradise 
so maybe i'm in over my head 
don't knock me off my feet 
life just don't seem worth living without my dream 

so i'm reaching for the fruit 
i don't know if it's ripe 
but i've got to try 
so i'm reaching for the fruit 
hoping for something sweet 
hoping for something right 
get me the fastest black horse 
you can find 
and i'll ride away

dog days: 5:04
parachute of fear and doubt 
always looking for the ground 
or my way out 
settle now 

cus i love you right out in the open 
there is no hunter and no prey 
spent years in a shell 
in the darkness of the ocean 
but every dog has it's day 

drunk off your hum 
you sing in my ear all day long 
careful hands make quiet minds 
come inside 

cus i love you right out in the open 
the tallest tree in the storm 
i'm living off of the shock of your lightning 
you're my best friend forever more 

if i'm an orchard 
you're an orange grove 
a field of wheat 
the sweetest honeycomb 
i'm loving you until i grow old 
i find solace in what's to be seen 
and told

bare bones: 5:00
i don't like this circumstance 
locked up all the time 
i need a chance to smell the roses 
before i grow old and die 

memorys a funny thing 
we grow older but it stays young 
and everything we thought we knew 
starts to unravel 

whats out there and whats inside 
of everybody else's mind 
i wanna see your spirit crawl outside 
of your body and dance in moonlight 


baby put your tarot cards down 
you keep drawing the face of death 
but you know you don't have to worry no 
cus you've got to die to be reborn again
  • nina gala ~ gala. (ep full)
    nina gala's debut ep "gala."
  • bare bones: a short film by nina gala
    "I need a chance to smell the roses before I grow old and die" sings gala on "bare bones" track 5 from her debut ep, "gala." the accompanying film, aims to magnify and celebrate simple moments of beauty and wonder. carefully cropped and framed images of natural wonders like soft flowing waves atop golden sand, the shiny flesh of an orange, and the wet crevices of honeycomb. These otherworldly visions all combine and collide in the film, and blur the lines between our reality, memory and dreams. The film was featured at Light City 2018, Baltimore, MD.

nina gala at the Hippo Hut (live performance, 2016)

Nina Gala at The Hippo Hut in Baltimore, MD
Film Maker- Tyler Harrison

  • Nina Gala- (Live) At The Hippo Hut // Baltimore, MD