MidPointMusic: great presentation with @topicdesign at the AMA luncheon Friday. enjoyed the folks we met and learned much!
"My mom bought me this really cheap nylon string guitar when I was 14, and somehow I started figuring out Jimi Hendrix songs with it." Unabashed yet humble, her answer to a common question reveals Gaby Moreno in a nutshell. Immensely talented with a guitar and gifted with a soulful voice beyond her years, Gaby hails from Guatemala, but has called Los Angeles home since touching down in 2001. Since her arrival Gaby's been constantly immersed in music and the industry with a single-minded goal: To become a successful singer/songwriter mixing Spanish and English vocals while retaining total artistic and creative control. Looking back on the past decade, it's apparent Hendrix isn't the only thing she can figure out.
Winner of the 2006 John Lennon Songwriting Contest, "Maxwell Song of the Year" via Escondidos helped garner exposure and was a huge step in the right direction. Her pace has quickened since, with songs like the irresistibly funky Greenhorne Man being featured by television shows such as ABC's "Lincoln Heights" and "Ghost Whisperer" and MTV's "The Hills." She was then given the task to write the theme song for NBC's "Parks and Recreation" which is now a staple in scores of households across the nation.
It's only a matter of time before bigger things are set in motion. KCRW's Nic Harcourt, the former host of "Morning Becomes Eclectic", featured Gaby in an October 2008 podcast and bestowed the "top tune" status for a day as well. He said he was "Caught by surprise with its organic and understated feel. She sings beautifully both in English and Spanish." This from a man who, in their own words, helped musicians like Coldplay, Dido, and Norah Jones get on the map and achieve stardom.
Pop culture aside, what truly matters to Gaby is whether her fans and fellow artists respect and honor her work. The answer: Yes. In August of 2009 Gaby toured along with established singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman. Later in November of 2009, Gaby was thrilled to open for the fiercely independent and adventurous soul, Ani Difranco, on an East coast tour. And taking a cue from the most successful independent artist previously mentioned, all of Gaby's tours have been without the aid of a booking agent nor label, something she's animatedly proud of.
Whether she's belting traditional Guatemalan ballads or ripping up funky blues inspired riffs, Gaby Moreno is on the rise. She's excited for a new decade, new changes, and new challenges. She can't wait to see you out there.
You'll did it if you dig: early Norah Jones, Erin McKeown, Cat Power