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January 23, 2024 28 mins

She did survive, she's thriving... and so can you! That's the Queen of Disco's message to us all. The documentary, "Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive", about the making of her 2019 gospel album, "Testimony", will be out on Galentine's Day, (February 13th.)


Gloria joins us on LOVE SOMEONE to talk about her journey, the film, and to lend some heartfelt and hard-won inspiration! Don't miss this episode! ~ Delilah

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:04):
January not only a month of resolutions, also a month
of reflection. Because our past kind of the informs or
shapes our future. We often find ourselves sifting through events
of the previous year or years with a little more
clarity than maybe we had in the midst of our

(00:25):
turbulent times, and we make conscious decisions to move forward purposefully, wisely,
and more healthy ways. Does this resonate with you? Have
you had times like that in your life? Maybe it
wasn't last year, Maybe it was a whole lot of
years ago. You were vulnerable, you were making bad choices,

(00:46):
but somehow, somehow you came through it, You survived, and
now you're thriving. Good for you, Bravo. Today's podcast guest
will join me in cheering you on. She knows more
than a little bit about surviving. Nearly five decades ago,
in nineteen seventy eight, Gloria Gainer, the Queen of Disco,

(01:08):
released I Will Survive. At the time, she thought she
had overcome quite a bit the death of her mother,
a serious spinal cord injury, turmoil with her career, But
it wasn't until she reached the age of sixty five,
divorced her husband and manager and had to completely rebuild
her life that she truly understood the iconic lyrics she

(01:31):
had been singing all those years. Gloria Gainer joined me
on Love Someone back in twenty nineteen. We had a
long chat about those tumultuous years. She had hit rock bottom,
but came out on top and swinging, or rather on
top and singing. She's recently written and recorded a gospel album, Testimony,

(01:53):
that went on to receive a Grammy, and today she's
back with more exciting news. The movie Gloria Gaynor I
Will Survive. It's a love letter of sorts to her
global fan base, a personification of one of the most
iconic songs ever recorded, and a motivator for everyone facing

(02:17):
a challenge. The film follows the story of Gloria Gainer
as she was writing and recording Testimony, which features musical
guests Bart Millard, Jason Krabb, Mike Ferris, and Yulanda Adams.
It's a present day's story with footage and interviews that
tells of Gloria's incredible life and what led to the

(02:39):
creation of this album. Bringing the documentary to life has
been a labor of love for Immy nominated director and
executive producer Betsy Schneckner, who started filming in twenty fifteen
just as Gloria was beginning the recording process. True to
documentary making, Betsy had no idea that it would lead

(03:00):
to a ten year journey with the legendary singer. We're
going to hear about it firsthand from the Queen. I'll
give her a warm welcome right after I share some
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(04:28):
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to see you again, good to talk to you again.

Speaker 2 (04:41):
Thank you.

Speaker 1 (04:42):
Last time we talked was four years five years ago,
twenty nineteen, and now you are. You were telling me
at the time that you had something in the works
that you were excited about, and now you have birthed
that something and we get to catch up today and

(05:03):
find out what God is doing in your life.

Speaker 3 (05:07):
Well, he's working unders this documentary that has been at
several what do you call film festivals and done very
very well, gotten really good reports and a few awards.

(05:27):
It's doing great and I'm very pleased about it.

Speaker 1 (05:30):
So Gloria Gainer nineteen seventy eight, the year I graduated
from high school. You were number one on the charts,
and I was a kid in Reedsport, Oregon, three thousand
people working at the radio station, and you know, because
it was such a small town and a small station,

(05:51):
we got to pick the music that we played, so
the owners only let me on in the afternoon when
the kids got out of high school. They were playing
like Scandinavian music. I kid you not on this radio
stations during some parts of the day because it was
a big Scandinavian community. But I remember playing and dancing

(06:13):
in the studio and singing at the top of my
lungs your anthem, I Will survive, which has now become
more than an anthem. It really is your testimony and
your documentary, your movie. Where was your head at while
I was a teenage kid in read Sport, Oregon singing

(06:34):
along really off key with you?

Speaker 3 (06:39):
Well, I was very much looking forward to the success
of the song and being able to uplift and inspire people,
you know, all over the world with that song.

Speaker 1 (06:52):
So, even as young as you were, your motivation was
to inspire folks.

Speaker 2 (06:56):
Well, absolutely, And then we.

Speaker 1 (07:00):
Talked about this back in twenty nineteen, but for folks
just joining us on love. Someone tell us what and
I know this is what the movie is about. Which
is going to be in theaters for only one day?
M h, only one day? What is it going to
be on a platform after that? Because you know I
work nights? Sure, okay, do you know which platform?

Speaker 2 (07:20):
Yet? Not yet?

Speaker 1 (07:21):
Not yet okay, that is yet to be announced. Tell
us some of the things since nineteen seventy eight that
you have survived, because it's a lot.

Speaker 3 (07:32):
Since nineteen seventy eight, I've survived the passing.

Speaker 2 (07:36):
Of all of my siblings, I'm so sorry.

Speaker 3 (07:40):
And a couple of spine surgeries, a few fine spine surgeries,
a couple of knee replacements, a few knee replacements.

Speaker 1 (07:50):
So you're the bionic woman, is what you're telling us.

Speaker 3 (07:52):
Absolutely absolutely, And you know, just the natural ups and
downs that happen to other people, different illness. You know,
you get sick, you get well, you know, you you
you have friends you don't have you know, you fall
out with somebody, you have an argument, you get back together,
and you know all that kind of thing. Divorce, you know, marriage,

(08:14):
as if your marriagers isn't traumatic enough. And then I
got divorced, and so this it's been a lot.

Speaker 1 (08:21):
I saw a little preview of the of the documentary,
and in it you were talking about how in the
course of your marriage you allowed yourself to be controlled,
and that resonated with me because I look at you.
You know, you were our anthem, the strongest woman. Anytime

(08:44):
we saw you on stage, you were just so large
and in charge and powerful. That powerful voice and your
your dance and everything just screamed I'm in I'm I'm
I'm in control of this. And yet the truth of
the matter is, like many other women in performance or

(09:06):
the arts or just life, somehow we let our power
be taken away, We give it away, well let it
be diminished. How did that? How did that impact you?
And where are you at now?

Speaker 3 (09:20):
Well, you know, there's a line in the movie, I
don't know if you're familiar with the movie called for
Colored Girls, and there's a line in that movie where
she says, I almost let him get away with all
my stuff and that and I lived that I almost let.

Speaker 2 (09:38):
Him get away with all my stuff.

Speaker 3 (09:39):
I mean it was like yeah, And so I was
able to pull away and back up and regroup and
get my act together. And you know, I always say
I often say to my friends, God had to drop God.
God said, I'm gonna have to drop a house on
my baby girl because she's stupid.

Speaker 1 (10:00):
Old think I'm listening. I didn't hear the word stupid.
I heard the word hard headed, because you are anything
but stupid, but perhaps a tiny bit hard headed.

Speaker 3 (10:11):
Yes, yes, yes, definitely hard headed and so yeah, but
when the house fell, I mean I jumped up and
got my act together and pulled out and survived and
now I'm thriving.

Speaker 1 (10:27):
Amen to that, Amen to that I saw in the
preview Bart Yeah, yeah, singing with you and working with you,
I love that man. I love that man.

Speaker 2 (10:41):
Isn't you a great such as we are?

Speaker 1 (10:43):
He's such a sweetheart. And I don't even know how
many years God has blessed me with knowing him and
the guys twenty years. Well maybe his baby had just
been diagnosed with type one diabetes, like just when you met.
Tell me how God brought you guys together and what

(11:05):
that looks.

Speaker 3 (11:05):
So, my wonderful producer and along with my manager Stephanitie
Gold came together with it. If you know, we decided
we needed to do we wanted to do some duets
on the album, and so they got together and decided
who they would contact to who would be best with me,
who would work best with me, and then contact them

(11:27):
and see if they agreed and if they were willing
to do it. And I was so very very pleased
when he and all of them that joined me on
the album said yes and and came and became a
very intricate part of the project and just made it wonderful.

Speaker 1 (11:47):
They are wonderful. They were boys. They were boys when
I met them. You know, some of them were just starting,
you know, their careers, their marriages that they had been
together for a long time, but really kids. Yeah, And
to see how they have mercy Me has grown and

(12:09):
blessed so many people around the world has been fun
to watch. Like I kind of feel like a mama
hen you know, like I met Josh Grobin when he
was a kid, he was a teenager. I met Michael
Boublat when he was a teenager. I kind of feel
like I kind of I bask in their glory when

(12:31):
they do well and when uh when he when when
mercy Me and Bart hooked up with you what a combination,
I know.

Speaker 3 (12:42):
I know, he's like I said, He's just wonderful, so great,
so easy to work with, so creative, so talented, and
and and so many different areas, and it.

Speaker 2 (12:54):
Was it was, It was just great.

Speaker 3 (12:56):
It was just a pleasure to work with him, and
and and the other guys that we had on and
Yolanda Adams the same.

Speaker 2 (13:05):
It was great.

Speaker 1 (13:06):
Yolanda, what a voice. I know why God didn't give
me a singing voice. I want it. I coveted. Everybody
in my family is musical. You said you lost all
your siblings. Were they musical? Yes, so you guys could
sing together, harmonize together.

Speaker 2 (13:25):
I couldn't sing with them because I was a girl.
I have five brothers.

Speaker 1 (13:29):
They wouldn't let you sing with them.

Speaker 2 (13:31):
Oh I was a girl. Well would they let me
sing with them?

Speaker 1 (13:34):
Seriously? Even after your success?

Speaker 2 (13:39):
Well, after my success, I wouldn't let them sing with me.

Speaker 1 (13:45):
Oh that's good. Well everyone in my family my father
was in a band, he was in a country western band.
My mother could sing, my sister can sing, My little
brother can play instruments and sing. I had three biological children,
all of them inherited the musical gene and passion for music.

(14:05):
I have a three note range, happy birthday is in there. Okay,
that's it. So I covet your gift. I did. And
one time I was like, God, why why did you
give this gift to everybody in my family but me?
And you know what he said, He knows my ego.

(14:27):
I mean, I have a huge ego, Gloria, and I
have no talent. Can you imagine if I had your
kind of talent, your kind of gift, your kind of voice,
and this kind of that.

Speaker 3 (14:39):
He's got other purposes for you. But let me make
you feel better about your voice. Okay, I fully believe
this to be true. Do you know how babies love
the sound of their mother's voices, no matter how badly.

Speaker 2 (14:53):
The mother sings, Yes, they do. Well.

Speaker 3 (14:55):
I think that's because God loves our voices when we
sing pray to him, no matter how bad we sound.

Speaker 1 (15:02):
That's why he said, make a joyful noise.

Speaker 2 (15:04):
Exactly, Yes, noise, noise noise.

Speaker 1 (15:07):
Yes, And I do. I make a very joyful noise.

Speaker 3 (15:12):
Yes.

Speaker 1 (15:12):
But it took me a long time to come to
peace with the fact that my sister can sing, my
brothers could sing.

Speaker 2 (15:18):
Well, you can too, and you've got the best audience. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (15:23):
When I was younger. I used to lie on the
air and say I gave Celine Dion voice lessons, and
some people believe me. I'm like, are you kidding me?
You didn't really believe. That's just a joke, that's a lie.
How old were you when you realized you had this gift,
this voice? Because you're you're not that big physically, and

(15:46):
yet your voice fills an entire auditorium.

Speaker 2 (15:51):
Thirteen, that's when you knew thirteen years old.

Speaker 3 (15:55):
I remember very distinctly because I was standing in the
hallway of my apartment build singing, waiting for a friend
for mine to come down and come out and play.
And I was singing why do Foods Fall in Love?
Frankie Lyman, who was also thirteen years old, And when
a neighbor came down and said that she heard me

(16:17):
and thought that I was a radio that convinced me
if he could do what I could do it we
were the same age. And then that's when I decided
I wanted to be a singer.

Speaker 1 (16:25):
Heymen, where did you live?

Speaker 2 (16:26):
Where did you grow up in Newark, New Jersey?

Speaker 1 (16:30):
Who there's a lot of talent people coming out of
New Jersey.

Speaker 2 (16:36):
Talent coming out of Newark and surrounding area.

Speaker 3 (16:39):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (16:39):
Yeah, so I got smiled on that area when it
comes to the talent.

Speaker 2 (16:44):
Oh yes.

Speaker 1 (16:46):
Now in the movie, you get pretty real, very real,
very transparent and talk about some really bad choices that
you made as a young woman. Can you just share
something that was so hard for you to be honest
about but God brought you through it and gave you

(17:06):
the ability to own it and talk about it.

Speaker 2 (17:10):
Well.

Speaker 3 (17:11):
The one thing that was very, very difficult to to
own but also I felt compelled to talk about it
because of the outcome was the party that my ex
husband and I threw out in California when I was
riding high on the success If I Will survive and

(17:34):
long story short, you'll see it in the film how
I lost my moral compass for a minute and God
snatched me out of it. Now, I lost it because
I gave my heart to the Lord. I remember asking
my mother that could I go and be baptized when

(17:55):
I was sixteen?

Speaker 1 (17:56):
And then success came along.

Speaker 2 (18:00):
Influences.

Speaker 1 (18:01):
How long did you let those influences steal your life?

Speaker 2 (18:05):
Good? Ten years?

Speaker 1 (18:07):
And what brought you back?

Speaker 2 (18:08):
God himself? No, he snatched me in my collar.

Speaker 1 (18:11):
And what did he say, that's enough.

Speaker 2 (18:14):
That was it.

Speaker 1 (18:15):
That was it, And then you decided, after being the
Queen of Disco, that was your title. That's how we
introduced you on the air, the Queen of Disco. Yeah,
to do a gospel album. What did people say when
you're like, I want to I want to sing praises
to the Lord? You're like, yeah, okay, right, did they

(18:37):
remember the disco dresses you used to wear on stage?
Mm hmmm you had you have gambs legs. Yeah, but
you did. You found people who believed in you and
helped you put the album together.

Speaker 2 (18:57):
Yes, you know.

Speaker 1 (18:58):
And and what of you awards? Pardon and you want
a few little awards?

Speaker 2 (19:04):
Yeah, yeah, won a couple of awards.

Speaker 1 (19:07):
And you can go ahead.

Speaker 2 (19:09):
When you do his will, he will bless.

Speaker 3 (19:10):
You, you know, just as simple as that.

Speaker 2 (19:15):
He would absolutely bless you. Any blesses us. Sometimes when
we don't.

Speaker 3 (19:19):
Do is will. You know, we can not good to
our children when they're like bad sometimes, you know.

Speaker 1 (19:28):
All the time, Yeah, because they're so dang cute and
we love them so hard even when they're bad.

Speaker 2 (19:37):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (19:38):
Spending time reminiscing with one of my musical heroes today,
Gloria Gaynor. Here's some news about another hero on Mine,
a podcast sponsor who helps to make these incredible experiences
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(20:01):
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(20:24):
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(20:46):
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(21:09):
Learn more about mercyships at mercyships dot org. So, Gloria,
this documentary really is a labor of love, and it
really was like birthing a child, birthing a project, only
it was a very long pregnancy from the time you
decided to do it, from that till the time that
it it was a wrap. Tell me what that looked

(21:31):
like and who was there for you doing it?

Speaker 3 (21:34):
Well, well, my manager's definitely go with one hundred percent.
There for me helping her was Tom store Out, our
social media person who does a hundred other things. Besides that,
there was of course Betsy the producer and she had
some issues that that that personal things that stall the

(22:00):
for for a minute. But you know, it was just
that she was willing to travel with me overseas and
and and and got some live footage for the documentary.
And yes, she put blood, sweat and tears into it
and uh and has done an awesome job in my

(22:21):
opinion and an opinion of many other people.

Speaker 2 (22:25):
Yeah, it's been. It's been great working with her.

Speaker 1 (22:28):
So it comes out during the Month of Love, Yes,
and Gallantine's Day. Gallantine's Day, are you gall with your
Gallantines with your best friend.

Speaker 3 (22:41):
You can all get together and and go in groups
and see it together and and just make a make
a wonderful you know, a day of camaraderie and and
friendship and love, you know, between girls.

Speaker 1 (22:58):
So what is is something you want to impart upon
our listeners from your heart? Like if you could just
give them lay one truth down, if you could give
person somebody one truth that would stick, what would that be?

Speaker 2 (23:15):
Hmm, that's hard.

Speaker 1 (23:19):
Okay, Two, you can have three my podcasting have as
many as you want.

Speaker 3 (23:26):
One one of the one of the big things is
that what I learned through this and God said it
to me and then he would commit then he then
he then he went on to prove it to me
that no one can keep He said to me, no
one can keep you from getting what I have for
you except you.

Speaker 1 (23:43):
Say that again, because for the people in the back.

Speaker 3 (23:45):
Keep you from getting what I have for you except you.
And having learned that he is the only one who
knows and wants only what's best for you and the
only one who can bring it all to pass, that
was a wonderful thing for him to put it in
my heart. And he had shown it through this, through this,

(24:05):
not only through the making of the of the of
the documentary, but the things that went into the documentary,
that activities, and the things that happened to me through that,
and how he's carried me through I mean through this,
through the making of this video. I lost to siblings
and he's carried me through that. But uh, through my

(24:26):
life as of now, I've lost all of my siblings
and He's carried me through it all. And and it's
just I just want to impart to people how faithful
he is, and I want to impart to them. My
favorite scripture, which I believe, is this. This is the
scripture you have to live by. Trust in the law.
This is Proverbs three, verses five and six. Trust in

(24:49):
the Law with all your heart, in all your ways,
acknowledge him, and he will direct your path. I have
lived it, and I continue to live it and INTENDU
to live it until I'm gone.

Speaker 1 (25:01):
Gloria, thank you for spending this time with us. So
Gallantine's Day it's going to be a three day celebration
because we got Gallentine's Day, then we got Valentine's Day,
then we got Delilah and Paul's birthday. Because my husband
and I have the same birthday the next day, so
we got a three day, three day celebration going on.

(25:21):
And then as soon as we find out what platform
it'll be released on, I'll be sure and let our
listeners know so they can.

Speaker 2 (25:28):
Be Thank you so much, appreciate.

Speaker 1 (25:30):
That, Gloria Gaynor. Thank you for surviving, Thank you for thriving,
Thank you for being with us today.

Speaker 2 (25:36):
Thank you my pleasure, my great pleasure, pleasure.

Speaker 1 (25:38):
Gloria Gaynor, music icon and disco legend, inspired millions for
decades with her words I will survive. But she only
truly understood the profound meaning of these lyrics after she
faced a devastating divorce, financial ruin, and spiraling health concerns.

(26:00):
Gloria sot to not only survive, but to thrive with
unwavering faith and the spark of new dreams. The film
follows Gloria as she embarks on an unexpectedly difficult eight
year journey to write and record a gospel album. It's
the tale of the remarkable challenges that fueled her music

(26:21):
and path to stardom, and her present day message, empowering
audiences to believe it is never too late to transform
your dreams into reality. Gloria Gainer I Will Survive celebrates reinvention,
the power of faith, and a magnificent second act. It's
exclusively in theaters on Gallantine's Day. That's February thirteenth for

(26:46):
the uninitiated, when you celebrate your best friends. You can
get your tickets early by going to Fathomevents dot com
and clicking on February Events. Speaking of Gallantine's Day or
Valentine's Day for that matter, how about a bottle of
Gloria's new perfumes Survive to send the message of unwavering

(27:06):
belief and support to someone special. You can find it
at talkshop dot live, in Her Survive or Gloria gainor
in your search bar. Keep up to date with Gloria,
her music, her movie and all that's going on on
her many social platforms at Gloria gainor on Facebook, Instagram, threads,
and YouTube. I hope life has been kind to you.

(27:29):
I hope you haven't faced a great deal of adversity,
but I know you've had challenges. We all have, and
I hope that if you've been through it or are
currently in the midst of it, you're in it. You
know that there's a path forward. It might feel like
that path is straight up the side of a sheer cliff,
but with a willing heart and the right people cheering

(27:50):
you on and a faith in the Almighty, you can
do it, and you're sure to inspire others along the way.
I am so glad Gloria found the time to be
with us today. I'm so glad she slowed down and
loved us. She's inspiring like that, isn't she
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