If creativity had competition, GAWVI would be its toughest match. The multitalented solo artist, just dropped his debut LP “We Belong”. Our honest and captivating interview left me with a sense of renewed vision that“belonging” extends far beyond fitting in with the cool kids. But, fitting in with yourself and, allowing those core gifts to soar far beyond the minds eye. This cover to cover listen is the vibe we all need to get 2017 going in high gear, aka—LIT! This is just the beginning of great things for G, enjoy.
Mm: Rock N Roll is giving me life! I am not even gassing you up, the moment I heard it, I said to myself “yo, this song is so lit. It is captivating”. How did you go into the studio and create that kind of off-the-bat energy. That you are able to share and I am able to feel that immediately?
GAWVI: Rock N Roll was literally the last song that I created for this album, right at the finish line when I had to turn in my album. So that song wasn’t even in my thought process when I was creating the album. It was just the last one and I was like this has to make it. It was just piece by piece, everything just went perfect. I got sing on it which is another thing that went cool about it. It’s a cool song about the music industry. I don’t want people to fall into the glitz and glam like everything perfect and I don’t specifically mean like Rock N Roll the genre, more like Rock & Roll the industry type of vibe. It’s a fun song. It’s trappy, its vibey. It’s definitely one of my favorites.
Mm: It’s LIT!
Mm: I want to dig into this line “to have it all would you sell your soul”? Then you follow that with “all I know is, I wouldn’t mind” which I thought when I heard that, hmmm! Ok, so this is my interpretation of it. I like it because, I feel like we have all asked ourselves that question, depending on your moral stance some more than others, I feel. I personally am a believer, I believe in Christ and know that he has given me a purpose but even with that, those kinds of questions — I battle with. I’m like, dang would I? I have had certain offers and moments where that question has been a very real reality. But, different people will interpret that in different ways. For you, is that line a play on words of what you have personally experienced or what you have seen take place?
GAWVI: It’s a little bit of both. I’m basically like a character whenever I create music. A lot of times its experiences of my own and experiences of what I hear from people within conversations. Thats what I feel a lot of people go through. There is always that moment where its like yo, I wouldn’t mind having all of this and trade it even if you say, I don’t even fully know what I am about to trade it for — its literally your soul, its your life. You’re giving away your life. There is another cool line I have where I reference calling this kid Grammy. Here’s the story though. I remember going to a party in LA probably when I was around 22. It was an industry party and I just knew a lot of people there. This guy literally introduced himself by saying his name but connecting it with Grammy. So lets make up a name, lets say Eric Grammy and I was like “ that’s your name”? Yea my name is Eric Grammy and I was like wow, great to meet you and than I walked away. I remember thinking wow, this guy literally identifies himself as this Grammy. That is all he lives by, for you to put your name close to a grammy. And, I just felt people can be so lost in their identity at times and thats how that line came across. A lot of times in the song, its personal experience and sometimes it just experiences, I have seen people go through— I’m like man you would literally sell your soul for this.
Mm: Within this you have kept a consistent theme of using your platform to spread a broader message. How have you personally not gotten swayed. From an outside perspective maybe someone can’t for-see denying certain temptations, how have you said “ok no, this is what I am going to stand for point-blank period”?
GAWVI: It’s honestly still really difficult. Especially going on the road but having a great solid group of friends is super helpful for me. My foundation, I am a Christian so a lot of things that I have been raised to understand and a lot of things that I believe in right now helps me stay grounded with a lot of different things and values. I love my family and I try my best to be a great husband and a great father as much as I can, even when I am away. It sucks being away from them on the road but there is a lot of things I am learning as an artist. This is my debut album so this is still new to me and I’m learning. But, it has been amazing just having a great group of friends that always keep me grounded and I think that’s been what is working out for me.
Mm: Speaking of still learning. This is your debut album, I love to use the analogy of kids because back in the day in New York, I worked as a nanny. I’ve done all the hustles in the world to get to where I need to get to, and watching kids grow…..specifically learn how to walk seeing them fall down get up— fall down get up… taught me a lot. I took from that and said, wow God thanks for showing me that as an adult we are still that kid falling down and getting up, falling down getting up. It just looks different. It’s in music, its in fashion or whatever your growth process is. What has been your fall down get up lessons from “Lost in Hue” to now with “We Belong”
GAWVI: Ooo, I think an all around perfect thing that I have been learning is communication. Letssay communication within my marriage, the more I am traveling now the harder it is to understand whats going on in my wife’s heart. How is she feeling throughout these seasons and things like that since I am not physically there to see it. Being more intentional to call in and do face times sitting down listening to her, I need to do better at that. Also communication with my record label. There are a lot of things that I am learning like man, I could have explained this a little bit better if I wanted to see a better outcome or something. They are also learning how to communicate with me. So Communication is like the biggest thing I have been learning. A lot of times we grow up and think, I know how to talk to people and actuality were just leaning so many different personalities, new people, new faces along with different styles and cultures of communication. So that piece, the communication lesson is the biggest thing I have been learning.
Mm: To circle back to the album with God Speed that is another song that is just so full of life and energy. You say in that song my connect is way up when I heard that I was like ok, so is mine.
GAWVI: Haha yea, yea!
Mm: That too was another one that was just right off the bat it was filled with so much spunk. Was that the intention behind it? Or did you go in create and whatever the outcome is the outcome?
GAWVI: I’m very, very hands on with all my songs. I have to help write it, help produce it. I am very much a producer and not just creating a beat and that’s it. So I got to create that song God Speed first and then a conversation with Andy and I ….Andy Mineo who is featured on the song. He had this cool concept of God Speed where we were just talking that God Speed is God be with you. We also though wanted to figure out cool new slang saying God Speed where its like there is a new level of excitement and energy. Kind of like how people are saying its Lit. You know, its just different. We were also thinking, man this would be cool if it was featured on the movie fast and furious, taking God Speed to a new level. We wanted to think outside the box and gathered all these idea and put them together. It was KB and Andy Mineo rapping about their identity and how confident they are. It is just fun and high energy. When I was creating the song, the number one thing I thought about is I need a high energy song for my shows. Whenever you're at my shows there is no way you can be leaning up against the wall or just standing still. You have to be sweating & jumping. It was fun creating that song, its one of the fun song on the album.
Mm: It’s a lot of fun to listen to. I like how you just mentioned that you are very hands on within the writing and producing of your work. I remember you saying that you interned or worked under Pharrell Williams for a while. I might be getting this wrong, but he is one of the creative Wow’s of our time. How did that impact you within what you are doing now?
GAWVI: Pharrell is definitely one of my absolute favorite artist. When I was…. I keep on forgetting the age but I believe I was between 17 & 20. I got to be an intern at this studio and Pharrell had blocked off that whole studio for a good solid 4 or 6 months. Throughout all of those months I was his runner boy. I would get his food and that was about it — haha!
Mm: I love it!
GAWVI: Within that process though, I got to see him just work and I was a fly on the wall seeing what goes on. It was really cool, because he was working on his N.E.R.D album at that time. He was also working on Fat Joe’s project and he was also working on Shakira. It was so cool to see him just bounce between three different studios all at once— all the time. If you think about N.E.R.D it was like a punk Rock Group. Then you think Fat Joe, who is straight up Hip-Hop and then Shakira who is a Latin artist. Being a producer able to jump into all of those different styles back to back non-stop was inspiring to me. That’s what I always wanted to do. I always wanted to be a producer like that where…. I could just create anything and get my mind going. Thinking what if we do this and what if we do that. When you listen to “ We Belong” the album I think people will get that definitely all mixed together, it hits every single corner for everyone to enjoy.
Mm: I love that and I couldn't think of a better way to end the interview then on that note. I realize I went deep with you on a few questions so I thank you so much for your time. I am so excited about We Belong and am looking forward to shouting this out.
GAWVI: Thank you so much, this was so amazing!