Bilingual singer-songwriter Gina Chavez combines Latin roots and American upbringing

Danielle Lopez

At 18 years old, singer-songwriter Gina Chavez decided to make music her future as she watched country-blues artist Toni Price perform on an Austin stage.

“I think it was one of the first times I saw an Austin female, someone like me, up on stage,” Chavez said. “And that just struck some kind of chord in me.”

The UT alumna and Austin-native began performing throughout the city in 2006 and has since adopted a six-piece band, created a college fund for girls called Niñas Arribas, become an eight-time Austin Music Award winner and released her album, Up.Rooted.

The 2015 Austin Musician of the Year combines her Latin roots and American upbringing on Up.Rooted to create a collection of bilingual songs that includes cumbia, bossa nova, vintage pop, reggaeton and folk.  

“I am constantly amazed at how open and receptive people are,” Chavez said. “Sometimes I think it’s really hard for us to cross boundaries, and I hope that my music can in some way bridge communities.”

Chavez’s next performance in Austin is in the Listening Room at Winflo on June 25.