Musician unafraid to dream big
Gianluca Gibbons is bringing his gospel jazz fusion band home next week.
HTG got rave reviews when they performed at LA hot spots the House of Blues and the Viper Room but the pressure is on with their concert here.
“We have been talking to people in the music industry out in LA and they will be watching to see what will happen and if we can prove ourselves,” the 24-year-old said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a make-or-break moment because we will keep pushing regardless ... but it’s a great opportunity for us to pivot in the direction we want to go to.”
The band will perform at a series of events over the next week. On the list is a performance at Chewstick’s Emancipation Concert on Thursday and a gospel concert at Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Church on August 7. See their final Bermuda performance at Chewstick’s Front Street headquarters the following day.
Mr Gibbons graduated from La Sierra University last month. He plans to pursue his music career full-time; he doesn’t have a back-up plan. I just focus on envisioning myself where I believe God wants me to be,” he said. “Every morning I wake up closer to that dream. Outside of music I am also active in my own business venture and have other skills such as translating, music instruction, songwriting, sound engineering [and] business marketing which I will leverage as I climb this ladder towards my dreams. Where there’s a will there’s a way.”
He started the band with drummer Kevin Jimenez back in 2011.
Their mission? To create positive music that uplifts and inspires people.
“There is a lot of music out there that’s entertaining, but it isn’t always so uplifting,” he said. “It’s important to us because we love music — that is how we communicate and express ourselves. It’s not just something we do, it’s who we are.
“You can ask any of us and we’ll say it’s our passion.”
The group believes that instrumental music and jazz still have a place in the mainstream market.
“We want to be a band known for our music and one that travels with our music. One of our dreams is to do instrumental music for movies and to be able to collaborate with as many artists as possible.”
In the past they’ve worked with former American Idol contestant Antonella Barba. They’re also in discussions to team up with Lauren Mayhew, a singer, songwriter and actress in LA.
While here, the band will perform Summertime Again featuring Bermudian singer Hannah Eggen.
“It was heavily inspired by Bermuda and starts off with a traditional Gombey rhythm,” Mr Gibbons said. “The lyrics are also inspired by Bermudian imagery. In writing it I wanted to create a summer song that was created and inspired by my childhood in Bermuda. It has a mix of EDM, Dancehall grooves, and Gombey rhythms in the beginning and it pulls these different elements together. Overall it’s an island-sounding song.”
He wrote and created it last summer with the help of LA producer Alleykat. “I know Bermuda will love it,” he said.
It means a lot to the local musician to be back performing on his home turf.
“Bermuda has always been a part of me and even though I’ve lived away from the Island for a long time I still identify with it,” he said.
“People always ask ‘Gianluca why do you always say hi to everyone? Why are you so friendly? Why do you talk like that?’ And I say I grew up in Bermuda. If I am walking and my eyes make contact with someone I have to say ‘hi’, that’s how I was raised. It’s weird for people out there in Los Angeles, but that’s how Bermudians are. People also ask me why I’m so laid-back and not stressing out. Those are some of the characteristics that set us apart as Bermudians.”
Everything up to this point has been in preparation for this moment, he said. “Now it’s our chance to show the world we are ready to make good music and touch as many people as possible.”
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