The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper

Arts and Entertainment

Exclusive Interview with Rising EDM Artist Gawvi

By Staff Writer Shivani Avasarala

Rising Christian EDM artist and music producer, Gawvi, participated in a joint conference call with the Smoke Signal on March 28, and revealed some teasers for his highly anticipated debut album, We Belong. He also offered insights on his inspirations and motivations, and provided advice for young musicians trying to pursue their dreams.

Gawvi, born Gabriel Santos Azucena on September 23, 1988, was raised in Miami, Florida, which he cites as having a strong influence on his music. Born to a Dominican mother and an El Salvadorian father, Gawvi grew up listening to Latin-Caribbean music by artists such as Selena and Juan Luis Guerra. As an avid Christian, Gawvi attended church regularly throughout his childhood, and credits his spark of musical interest to playing music in church. “I was hitting the keys all the time, and playing the drums when I wasn’t supposed to. Being at church and being surrounded by those instruments all the time just intrigued me,” said Gawvi.

In 2008, Gawvi began his career while working with music production in Reach Records, home to many other Christian hip-hop and EDM artists such as Lecrae, Tedashii, and Trip Lee. On his musical journey to this point, Gawvi said, “I definitely didn’t get here by myself. The label I’m part of believed in me when I was 16 years old.” Through Reach Records, Gawvi eventually produced music for various artists and was especially acclaimed for his production work on Lecrae’s album, “Anomaly”, which peaked at No.1 on the Billboard 200 after its release in 2014. In 2011, Gawvi worked under the guidance of experienced artists Rodney Jerkins and Pharrell Williams, whom he later mentioned as one of his biggest role models in the music industry. He later went on to officially sign into Reach Records as an in-house music producer and engineer, and soon began his career as a solo artist, releasing EDM mixtapes and EP’s.

Gawvi’s music has been well received among critics, and praised for its refreshing combination of styles from hip-hop, electronic, and pop music, while remaining faithful to Christian roots. Many of his songs convey messages of strength on issues such as family or financial hardships. Gawvi hopes to have a positive impact on his listeners and fans through his music and purpose. “When I retire, I want to leave knowing that a lot of people’s lives have been touched though the process.”

In the future, Gawvi hopes to continue releasing music and establishing his name in the music industry. This year, his goal is to create quality music and bring out strong emotions in people. On any advice for aspiring musicians, Gawvi said, “If you want to go into the music industry, you have to be super passionate about it. I was eating, breathing, and sleeping music non-stop; I always knew that was what I wanted to do … whatever it may be you are trying to go after, be passionate about it and love it.”

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