Although she can't read sheet music, Carson City resident Gale Revilla is one of the five finalists for the Native American Music Awards for her album, "Pharaohs."
"Going into this, my goal was not to win the award. I wanted to get recognition for my work," she said. "Being in the top five, there's no losers."
Her New Age music is nominated in the World Music category for songs outside of the Native American culture. She was first chosen as one of 500 national artists, then made the cut to 110. The finalists were then narrowed to seven and now she is among the top five.
She is also among the top 10 nominees for a Grammy Awards and is hoping to make the final cut.
With no formal training in music, Revilla began to "fool around" with the keyboard 11 years ago when a friend of hers worked at a public access television station and needed someone to write scores for local documentaries.
She tried it and it wasn't very long before PBS was picking up her work. Her last piece was used for the Ancient Architects of Egypt documentary played on NOVA from 1993-1994.
From there, she has turned her Carson City townhouse that she shares with her 6-year-old daughter, Morning Star, into a music studio.
She writes, arranges, produces and performs her music under her recording label Morning Star - named after her daughter. She has made nine albums and even designs and makes her own album covers.
It usually takes her six to eight months to record an album, but "Pharaohs" took little more than five months.
"It just flowed," Revilla said.
As a Mescalero Apache, Revilla said she receives divine inspiration.
"For all my inspiration, I look up into the heavens and say, 'It's time,'" she said. And if what she receives isn't from God Himself, it's from those close to Him.
"It's from God's music department and what a department He's got," she said.
Music has not been Revilla's first brush with fame, however.
She acted in the movie "Grizzly Mountain" and worked as an extra in the television drama "Nash Bridges." She's also been in various commercials for companies such as Coca-Cola, Budweiser, McDonald's and Burger King.
But her true love is her music.
She quoted comedian George Burns in saying: "I'd rather love what I do and be a failure than hate what I do and be a success.
"More than anything else, this is what I want," she said.
SO YOU KNOW
Gale Revilla's CDs are available at JJ's Ear Candy or by calling her at 841-0791.