Gaia was Newton-John's first album since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. Many of the songs were written about her experience, such as "Why Me" and "Not Gonna Give into It", as well as her interest in conservation.Gaia was recorded in Australia during 1993 and 1994 and released by several independent labels internationally, except in Australia where Newton-John was still signed to Festival Records. The album was praised by critics and fans. AllMusic called it "the most honest and inviting album of her career." The single "No Matter What You Do" reached the Top 40 in Australia.
The album's liner notes contain explanations for the inspiration behind each song written by Newton-John.
"Don't Cut Me Down" - "I found this half-finished in a drawer full of tapes I started in the late 80's. It reflects my ongoing feelings for the old growth forests that are so threatened by man. Los Angeles, 198?"
"Not Gonna Give into It" - "I wrote this after chemotherapy treatment. It speaks for itself. Los Angeles, 1992"
"Why Me" - "I wrote this song the night after my surgery, as I was pondering the question "why me" as everyone does. My father died with dignity of cancer on the day I was diagnosed and he never complained for a moment. This is for him. Los Angeles, August 1992."
"The Way of Love" - "I find it painful that some people are so unaccepting of each others' beliefs. In my experience, they all have merit. Chloe and her school sang on this one. Byron Bay, 1993."
"Gaia" - "Gaia (pronounced Guy-ya) - is the spirit of Mother Earth. She is the giver of dreams and the nourisher of plants and young children. This song came to me at 3:00 AM on a cold winter morning in Byron Bay and I was compelled to write and finish it. I feel the spirit of Mother Earth spoke to me. August 1993."
"I Never Knew Love" - "This song was born of joy. I asked for help and received it. Byron Bay, August 1993."
"Do You Feel" - "To kindred spirits everywhere. Los Angeles, Sept 1993."
"Trust Yourself" - "This song was born out of my decision to write, record and co-produce for the first time an album of songs about my personal feelings. In order to do so I had to let some other commitments go."
"Silent Ruin" - "The first song that I have ever been asked to write was for a powerful and frightening documentary, "The Last Whale". I feel this is the plight of all the planet's creatures and I changed whale to wild for the album. Byron Bay, November 1993."
"No Matter What You Do" - "This song came to me in the car on the way to the studio. It was during a time when I was having a lot of problems and I sent this song to all the negative forces in my life. December 1993."
"Pegasus" - "I saw Pegasus in a meditation so vividly that the next night I woke up with this song in my head!"
"No Other Love" - "For the loves of my life, Matt and Chloe. Byron Bay, Jan 1994."