it takes a single drop of water to start a wave...
Lula and Juicy's Improv Fest Trifecta!
Gemma performs in her improv musical comedy duo in not 1, not 2 but 3 Improv Fests this year! Femprov Fest, West Coast Musical Improv Fest and the San Francisco Improv Fest!
"BottleShock: The Musical"
Gemma performs in the new musical, Bottle Shock UnCorked for FOGG Theater at Napa Opera House!
Gemma receives Edwin Cohen Award!
Echoing Green, a foundation that supports the top social entrepreneurs in the world honored Gemma in South Africa with the Edwin Cohen Award for her dedication to community. Gemma is the first woman to receive the award!
Can you believe the mission that has provided clean water and sanitation to over 315,000 people in Asia and Africa started with a song?
Gemma Bulos is a multi-award winning social entrepreneur, singer and speaker.
As a pre-school teacher who was not on her regular 8:50am train to the World Trade Center on September 11, Gemma Bulos, witnessed a global community united through tragedy. In response, she wrote “WE RISE”, a rousing anthem that celebrates water as a metaphor for peace and unity in action. She left her life, gave away all her belongings and with her backpack, guitar and meager savings began traveling around the world to launch the unprecedented Million Voice Choir. By September 21, 2004, in celebration of the UN International Day of Peace, peaceful voices in over 100 cities in 60 countries sang 'WE RISE" from all over the planet. This was the single drop that started the wave....
While Gemma was building the Million Voice Choir she got to be known as the 'water lady'! Because of her new moniker, she got invited to sing 'WE RISE' at the United Nations' Water for Life Conference, where she learned about the global water crisis. After mobilizing the Million Voice Choir, her simple water metaphor transformed into her cause. She researched different clean water strategies being implemented around the world, learned how to build some simple technologies to clean water that could be made by laypeople using local materials, and with an award from Queen Latifah and Covergirl, started doing water projects in her country of heritage, The Philippines. Her innovative program, creating community-led organizations that could provide water services and generate income, brought her international recognition from Echoing Green, Schwab Foundation, Tech Awards, Ernst Young, Stanford University and more. (see awards)
Gemma's 'accidental life' as a pre-school teacher/jazz singer turned award-winning social entrepreneur has been the source of inspiration for people around the globe. Gemma has been asked to share her insights on social entrepreneurship, international sustainable development, women's leadership, building movements, designing innovation as well as following one's dreams and taking risks. She has spoken and performed at events such as Clinton Global Initiative University, World Economic Forum, USAID, United Nations, UN Women, to name a few. She has spoken alongside dignitaries including Archbishop Desmund Tutu, Jane Goodall, Wangari Maathai, Vandana Shiva, Marianne Williamson and more. She has 3 TEDx Talks along with many other presentations. Scroll down to watch recorded talks.
TEDxGramercy: How To Accidentally Change the World
TEDxBayAreaWomen: It Takes A Single Drop of Water To Start A Wave
TEDxMillRiver: How to Build A Million Voice Choir
USAID Historic Water and Sanitation Strategy Launch, US Senate
(Gemma is featured at 7:00min)
World Economic Forum, Tianjin, China
IdeasLab: Affordable Water Management
Tech Award for Equality to A Single Drop for Safe Water
Inspiration Safari Interview
list of speaking events
An abbreviated list of engagements is included below. Full list provided upon request.
Gemma speaks on a variety of topics.
Social Entrepreneurship and Innovations in the Water Sector
Gemma offers her insights and experiences building an award-winning social entrepreneurial model bringing clean water and sanitation to communities in Asia and Africa.
Water and Music: A Pathway to Peace and Global Harmony
Gemma tells the story of how she evolved from an aspiring musician and preschool teacher to becoming a global humanitarian raising awareness of the global water crisis and what she did to address it.
Global Women's Water Initiative
Gemma is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Global Women's Water Initiative. GWWI invests in women by training them to become water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) technicians, trainers and social entrepreneurs.
music and performance
SINGER, IMPROVISOR AND STORYTELLER
Before Gemma started doing her current water work, she was an accomplished singer. She is most well known for her song WE RISE, the theme song of the Million Voice Choir where choirs in over 100 cities in 60 countries sang WE RISE from all over the globe on Sept 21, 2004. View the video below.
WE RISE Million Voice Choir
A seasoned world traveler and an empathic storyteller, Gemma’s music reveals her wandering soul and roving experiences. Her sultry and velvet voice fused with her bold and adventurous spirit beckons audiences to join her on a musical journey being fearless and faithful - faithful and fearless - and everything in between. Gemma blends soul, R&B and jazz with her experience as a global humanitarian, bringing a relevance and vulnerability to music that trancends melody and lyrics and inspires hope.
Gemma has sung at clubs and festivals as a featured soloist and support vocals around the globe including House of Blues (Los Angeles), The Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center (NYC), The Village Gate (NYC), Madison Square Garden (NYC), Carnegie Hall (NYC), the United Nations (NYC) and many many more.
Gemma has released three CDs highlighting her roots as an artist and emerging as a renaissance woman.
CD Produced by B.Hardin and G.Bulos
Simply You - J.R.James
Face Another Day - M.Macmullan
Rainman - J.R.James
Bridges - S.Brown and G.Bulos
Lights Begin To Fade - J.R.James
This Woman's Work - K.Bush
Invisible Man - G.Bulos
Let the Girls Sing - J.R.James
In My Sleep - G.Bulos
Open Wide - G.Bulos
When We Were Kings - A.Marvel, A.Powers, A.Roman
We Rise - G.Bulos
CD Produced Live in Studio by J.Goff and E.Lawrence
Better Than Anything
I Believe in Love
Pieces of Dreams
Gemma's love of the musical theater stage after over 27 years was re-ignited in Spring 2015 when she starred in Forbidden Broadway with OMG I Love That Productions! In 2015 alone Gemma starred in 7 different productions ranging from the villainous Childcatcher in Bay Area Children's Theater's TYA production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; award nominee Smokey Joe's Cafe at Chanticleers; the world premiere reading of new musical "The Four Immigrants" by MIn Kahng at
awards and recognition
gemma is a multi-award winning musician and social entrepreneur
Echoing Green Foundation
Best Emerging Social Entrepreneur
Social Entrepreneur of the Year
Social Entrepreneur of the Year
Filipina Women's Network
Most Influential Filipina Thought Leader and Innovator
Swanson Equality Award for A Single Drop for Safe Water
Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law
Social Entrepreneur Fellow
Queen Latifah for CoverGirl
CG Vibes Award for Women Changing the World Through Music
Theatre Bay Area Titan Award
Finalist, Actor 2015