When we sit and think of what it means to be truly “American,” no single image comes to mind. It’s impossible not to consider the many cultures that have found a new home in this country since its very inception, or the marginalized groups whose stories have been heard–inciting change along the way. While the work of improving upon acceptance and kindness is a constant battle, there are artists like Gina Chavez who use their microphone to weave their own colorful story into the story of our country as a whole–inspiring masses along the way.
Chavez’s story is not far off from a majority of Americans. Born in Austin, Texas, she grew up surrounded by and relating more to American culture than her Latin roots. When in college, a new, cultural world opened before her eyes–connecting to Latino music in a way she never had before. Over time, this transformed into her impeccable sound, fusing Latin, folk, and pop together and oozing with the sophistication and maturity that only an artist as experienced as she is can muster. She went on to become and Austin darling, garnering critical acclaim from platforms like NPR, becoming a 10-time Austin Music Award winner, and breathing life into her NPR Tiny Desk Concert back in 2015.
While Gina Chavez’s music speaks, of course, about her multi-cultural identity and the many relatable twists and turns that comes along with it, it also speaks of discovering herself and a need for equality in all aspects of life. In 2017, Chavez and her partner were married just two years after marriage equality became legal in Texas. This personal growth heralded a new sound for the folk-led artist, embracing electric elements and powerful lyrics like never before.
Many Americans and people around the world see themselves in her message of love and self-discovery, which is why we need more voices to ring as loud as hers. We’re so lucky to have her moving freely through the world and spreading that inspiring narrative, including right to our very hometown! On Saturday, February 22nd, Chavez will be making her way to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center for what will be a radiant and powerful performance. Make sure to snag tickets and catch us front row.
Cover photo by NPR.