Gina Chavez’s fusion of Soul, Folk, Pop and Latin sounds has made her one of the more widely celebrated musical acts in her Austin, Texas homebase, which says even more than it would about similarly-acclaimed artists from other cities, given Austin’s reputation as a musicians’ haven.
But her 10 Austin Music Award nominations haven’t kept Chavez from having an impact beyond the city limits. And that impact extends beyond music, as well. In 2009, she taught English to children living in poverty in El Salvador, an experience that led her and her wife to create the Niñas Arriba College Fund, which awards scholarships to young Salvadoran women. Chavez is also a cultural ambassador with the U.S. State Department and has traveled all over the world performing in that capacity.
Last year Chavez released the EP Lightbeam, a follow-up to her 2014 bilingual album Up.Rooted, which greatly expanded her fanbase after exposure through NPR’s All Things Considered and the program’s “Tiny Desk Concerts.” The five-song Lightbeam has a sultry, slow-burn Sade-like quality and was inspired by the romance with her wife, which began more than a decade ago and caught the “staunchly Catholic” Chavez by surprise. Everything about Lightbeam is a celebration of the couple’s love — a European tour last year served as their honeymoon and the music video for the EP’s first single, “Heaven Knows,” features footage from their 2017 wedding.
“This is the story my heart wanted to tell,” Chavez said in a press release about Lightbeam. “The story (of) 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 performs Friday, Feb. 22 at Ludlow Garage. Click here for tickets/more show info.