Gina Chavez

Artist of the Month - December, 2020

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Queer, Catholic and unapologetically herself, Gina Chavez possesses a warm, alluring voice that compels you to sit up straight and listen. The multi-ethnic Austin native has come a long way from when she picked up a guitar for the first time during college. She’s racked up 12 Austin Music Awards, recorded a well-received NPR Tiny Desk and embarked on multiple international tours, including performances as a U.S. State Department cultural ambassador. Her bilingual Latin pop spans past genre boundaries, covering everything from acoustic folk-pop in 2007 debut Hanging Spoons to simmering R&B-soul in 2018’s Lightbeam, which soundtracks her love story with her wife.

Chavez sharpens her first all-Spanish language album La Que Manda, or The Woman in Charge, with a new defiant edge and sonic exploration. Inspired in part by her observations on the road, it is a starkly feminist work detailing a woman’s journey to empowerment — both a healing catharsis and a rallying cry. Produced by a team of award-winning artists (Thom Russo, Fernando Lodeiro, Adrian Quesada, Linda Briceno), the album has since earned a Latin highlight survivors of domestic violence. Filmed during the pandemic, the accompanying music video shows dancers reclaiming spaces in tandem with their bodies as Chavez sings: “Toda la historia callando una verdad / Hemos tenido el poder” (“All of history has been quieting a truth / We’ve had the power”).

—Annie Lyons

Photo by Ismael Quintanilla/courtesy of the artist

NPR LIVE SESSIONS/KUTX – Musicians: Gina Chavez, vocals, guitar; Lilli Hickman; vocals; cameras and edit: Michael Minasi; audio mix: Jake Perlman; producer: Deidre Gott