Gina Chavez | EP Lightbeam to release Summer 2018
Austin musician Gina Chavez never thought she'd see the day when two women could marry in Texas. Then again, she never thought she would marry a woman.
“Heaven Knows,” the first single off her upcoming five-song EP, Lightbeam, is the musical journey of twelve years in love; a love Chavez never thought she would experience.
“I was 24, staunchly Catholic and I’d had great, healthy relationships. But I’d never been in love,” Chavez said. “Then I met this girl with a smile that made me question everything I thought I knew.”
Lightbeam, set to release this Summer, is a sonic departure for Chavez who is known for her signature style of bilingual Latin folk-pop that topped the iTunes and Amazon Latin charts with her award-winning album, Up.Rooted. The 2015 Austin Musician of the Year traded her acoustic guitar for the smooth tones of a Gibson hollow body, and called upon producer Dwight A. Baker (MISSIO, Alpha Rev, The Wind and The Wave, Josh Abbott Band) to lay down five soulful and diverse songs, that expand upon her previous work with same lively and sophisticated spirit that her fans have grown to love.
Lightbeam boasts intensely personal lyrics -- heaven knows our souls, our story / the shape of your heart when you hold me / wouldn’t tear us apart or disown me” -- strong melodic hooks and a pop aesthetic that showcase Chavez’s versatility as an artist.
“These are songs my heart has been wanting to sing for so long,” Chavez said. “To shout from the rooftops that I am in love! To tell the world about this incredible woman who lights me up and calls me to my best self, and show that our love is more than tolerable. It’s the kind of love we’re made for.”
Recorded in eight days at Matchbox Studios in Austin, Texas, the EP features some of Austin’s finest -- Dave Boyle (keys), Conrad Choucroun (drums), and Steve Terebecki (bass) -- on five unapologetically personal tracks that explore longing, faith, beauty, and sacrifice.
“I took some time to allow myself to write,” Chavez said. “No boundaries, no genres, just me and my guitar, and I was pretty surprised when these soul-tinged songs bubbled up. But this is the story my heart wanted to tell; the story what it means to be a Catholic Latina and fall in love with a woman; the story of what it means to live your heart no matter what the world says.”
Chavez and her wife, Jodi Granado, met at the University Catholic Center at UT Austin. The next decade would see the couple through the ups and downs of a long-distance relationship, coming out to friends and family, hiding their love while volunteering in El Salvador, and building a life together in Austin. Last year, Chavez and Granado, still practicing Catholics, tied the knot at Tiny T Ranch just east of Austin -- two years after marriage equality became legal in Texas.
With nine Austin Music Awards, an NPR Tiny Desk with more than half a million views, and frequent tours as a cultural ambassador with the U.S. State Department, Chavez and her 6-piece band are official SXSW artists for the fifth year in-a-row. They head to Kyrgyzstan this April ahead of Chavez’s solo debut in the UK, a mini-tour that kicks off the couple’s European honeymoon and the release of Lightbeam.
A multi-ethnic Latin pop songstress, Gina Chavez is a nine-time Austin Music Award winner. Her bilingual record, Up.Rooted, topped both the Amazon and Latin iTunes charts following a feature on NPR's All Things Considered and has been hailed by The Boston Globe, USA Today, and Texas Monthly. Her Tiny Desk concert made NPR’s top 15 of 2015. Fresh off a 10-country tour as a cultural ambassador with the U.S. State Department, Chavez’s passionate collection of bilingual songs take audiences on a journey through the Americas, blending the sounds and rhythms of the region with tension and grace. Her Spanish-language anthem, “Siete-D” (Grand Prize winner of the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Contest) recounts her experience volunteering in a gang-dominated suburb of San Salvador where she is a co-founder of The Niñas Arriba College Fund for young Latinas.