Pop/Hip Hop artist and award-winning producer GAWVI has just released his highly anticipated sophomore album Panorama. Featuring a variety of collaborators including Aklesso, RJ, and Enzo-fellow musicians he met after sharing the bill on a near sold-out show in Fort Lauderdale- the organic relationships have made for a fun, and collaborative experience that shows in the music.
GAWVI also sites his live crowd as a phantom collaborator for this album. He selected his sounds based on what they have responded to at shows-"no skips allowed" has been the mantra of creating this body of work. GAWVI will be taking Panorama on the road this year, where fans can get the opportunity to see the songs performed live and hear more about GAWVI's personal journey.
Q: GAWVI, thank you so much for doing this interview with us. you started your career working with Pharrell and Rodney Jerkins, can you tell us one of the more memorable moments working such hitmakers?
Thanks so much for having me. Well, I started my career prior to going out to LA. I had already done production for Rhema Soul, Social Club, Lecrae and other Reach Records artists. I went out to LA because I wanted to have another experience and branch out out of my network and see what could happen. I was privileged to meet both Pharell and Rodney while working in LA. I grew up admiring them. I ha several memorable moments with them, but overall I think what I remember most was their work ethic. I remember watching how hard they worked on their craft. It was so impressive to me because you think to yourself that they've already "made" it. You assume for some reason it has now become easier, but I learned the the higher you go the harder you work because now there is a certain level of greatness to be heard from their production. It was great to see how humble they were with their success and they didn't take it for granted.
Q: Why did you decide to work for REACH Records and branch into Christian music?
I grew up in church. That was the foundation on my life. I also grew up in a very musical household where we listened to everything. When I was starting out I would hear Christian music and it sounded dated to me. I knew I had a new, fresh ear and I wanted to be able to bring that new sound. I started off with Rhema Soul and they allowed me to experiment with sounds. Then we saw the movement Reach had going and I liked their sound but I knew that I could add to what they had and make something game changing with them. I like to consider myself a trendsetter and Reach was doing just that. So it made sense for me to be a part of what they were doing.
Q: When and how did you come to know Christ?
I've always known about Christ, but it became more serious to me in my teenage years. I begged desiring a closer relationship with Him. Unfortunately, my parents eventually went through a divorce and that was tough for me. It caused me to begin questioning everything I had been taught or believed in. So it took me a while to really grab a hold of God's truth and promises for my life, but once I did, it made sense to me and I've been on my journey ever since.
Q: You have a new record called "Panorama." Why do you call it "Panorama"?
The way we come about with the name was so organic. It was one of those moments when you're sitting around with people who are just as excited and passionate about this project, explaining what the songs mean to me, what I want to communicate. I was expressing how I want people to get the whole picture of who I am, not just as an artist, but as a man, as a husband, a father. Panorama defines just that.
Q: You have described your music as therapy to you. How have these new songs been therapy to you?
There is something so deliberating when you release your truths, your honest emotions and feelings even in a space where, a lot of times, there is this expectation of perfection or the persona of having it all together. Writing these songs, stirring my emotions made me feel free with every honest moment I shared. It was a great release. Sometimes as artist, we carry pressure that with people put on us or sometimes we can put it on ourselves. But God wants us to live life of freedom, so with my lying it all out, it felt turbulent, it felt muddy sometimes, but at the end it felt therapeutic and freeing,
Q: Tell us about your new single "With You." What's the song about? And how was this song birthed?
"With You" is a very personal song that expresses some emotions I was dealing with last year. It was a tough time for me while I was on tour. It was a new experience and being away from home. I didn't realize how much of a toll it could take on my marriage and my family in general. Then my childhood best friend passed away while I was on tour and I couldn't go to his funeral, so it was just a tough season for me. I knew I wanted to write about these things that were happening, the emotions I was struggling with. I knew I wasn't the only one that had dealt with these type of emotions and concerns. This song was just something that felt I needed to get out, share my heart, tears, fears and my ambitions on not allowing it to break me.
Q: How do you wish this new album would help the lives of your listeners?
I want to people to walk about challenged to not be ashamed of their own truths for fear of judgement, I want people to relate to it and create conversations and challenge themselves to build communities with each other to help walk each other long in their journeys. Ultimately I want people to hear God's heart for them through my music. That even though you may be going through things that make no sense, God is still holding onto us in the valley moments of our lives because these small moments that feel huge to us, are all part of bigger picture. Panorama.