Earlier this year Spanish blues/jazz musician Gene Garcia released his passion project GENESIS. Gene opens to make it to the UK for some live shows at some point, but in the meantime slip on GENESIS and feel your troubles wash away.
What are the origins of the band, how long have you been playing together?
This project began three years ago, when I saw the possibility of making the GENESIS album, it is an idea that I had been preparing for 15 years but I kept it due to lack of funding and personal problems. Now I have done it, choosing the right musicians to perform it. I got in touch with Victor Zamora, pianist and musical director, and he chose the musicians to make the album with good judgment, Cicero Lee on double bass and Joel Silva on drums, in this way we created this splendid trio that worked from the beginning. to perfection, both musically and personally. The trio is magnificent and they are musicians who come mainly from the Lisbon jazz scene, they live in Lisbon (Portugal) and I live in Spain, specifically in Badajoz, a city in southwestern Spain and near the Portuguese capital, on the border with that country. We have been working together for approximately three years.
How did you feel performing your first gig? And how was it?!
Well, I worked on many projects during my artistic career. I have been playing black music, blues, soul, jazz, big bands, etc … for almost 35 years on the road, with more than 1000 concerts behind me, meaning that I am used to the stage, but the day of the premiere of Genesis, it was something very special for me, especially to see the fantastic idea realized that in the end is carried out in a magnificent way. It was an unforgettable show. It was exciting.
What should people expect when they check the you out? How would you describe yourself?
I am a white singer of black music. I always try to make the public leave my shows satisfied, reaching their hearts and minds, in that way my power that during the time the show lasts, has them imnotized and at my mercy, you know, you are the viewer’s point of attention. How would I define myself?,… I don’t know,… a snake charmer?, a captivating voice?… Hahaha, it’s difficult to define myself, but I can give you some words from the latest reviews about the show in the Spanish press:
“GENE GARCIA’s voice, his way of dressing, his attitude when the lights are turned on is to feel that you are in front of an ARTIST. When the character merges with the person there is no longer any effort, it arises in a natural way and there it catches you, paralyzes you with its voice and the enjoyment begins”
The new music scene is bursting at the seams with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out from the others trying to build a name?
From my point of view, I think that trying to stand out from the rest is not the work of a band, the work must be done by the producer or company that works with them, through current mechanisms, especially social networks. I believe that the job of a musician is to stand out with his talent, not give up, fall and get back up, have faith in what you are doing and above all learn from every detail of the creation process. Sometimes you stand out and other times you don’t. But always keep trying. I also believe that music is not a competition; I know that it can become that, but I think that the artist, the creator, the writer, the filmmaker, the painter, etc, … just have to express what is inside, with the truth, without fooling oneself, because sooner or later your opportunity will come.
What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?
At the moment I am working on promoting the GENESIS album, playing in Spain and Portugal, closing more concerts but already by 2022, Madeira, Azores, Portugal, some African countries as Cabo Verde. We are working on it, all depends on the pandemic that we are suffering, it conditions everything, in Europe there are many restrictions and we’ll have to think about the day-to-day. And the second main objective for me is to be able to tour the USA, UK, Australia,…. etc, …. countries where this music that I make is well received. This is hard situation, but you have to do it, there is no other way.
What band out there at the minute do you feel that you would be best suited to open for?
I can’t tell you, I’m from the old school, I’m not aware of new things, sometimes I do, but with Genesis, I have a lot of work now, I don’t know too many new groups internationally, I really like Gregory Porter, Erykah Badu, Esperanza Spalding, the latest work by Tom Jones, Jose James,… I informed myself before about the new bands on the BBC program “Later with Jools Holland” but since the pandemic, they have not broadcast more programs in my country. But I repeat it, I’m old school and I like what I like and when people listen to GENESIS, people will know what are my tastes.
What are your first musical memories? And what was the light bulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?
My first musical memories are flamenco and the native music of my country, but I am very curious and since I was a child, I began to investigate what else there was in the world. First I found Elvis, and all the types of music that he made, you know that he encompasses all American black and white music, from there, I discovered R&R, then blues, gospel, country, later soul , jazz, all styles in general. What fascinated me the most then was gospel music and blues and that’s where it all began. I told myself that I was to sing black music. It was not easy for me, my family did not support me, when I was fifteen I had it clear and in 1988 when I was 18 years old I started running away from home to go to the places where they made this music and I found my friends to create my first band called INLAVABLES , and so far that is my job. I have a long career on the road. For me music is like breathing, I always think of music.
What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?
Uff !!,… I don’t remember, I’m so focused on the last few years that I forgot, hahahah…, I think the last artist that I went to see was Gregory Porter in Lisbon, and i remember too in Barcelona, I really enjoyed with Barbara Hendricks at the Voll Damm jazz fest., after I don’t have the time or opportunity.
The album that you have in your album collection/spotify playlist that would surprise most people?
I have many, “Baltimore” by SIMONE, “Closing Times” by TOM WAITS, “Al fin juntos” by BOLA DE NIEVE and BENNY MORE, “The exciting Joe Williams” by JOE WILLIAMS, “The Hit man” by EDDY KENDRICKS, ” Amazing Grace ” by ARETHA,“ Lady in Satin” by BILLIE HOLLIDAY, etc… we would be saying for a long time what I like and they are all my favorites. I also like Classical music, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Chopen, Kachaturian, Dvorak,… .we will stop, right?,… Hahaha, I’m kidding. Sorry
Although 2020 was a year to forget for many reasons, there was been some incredible music released; what would be your album of last year?
GENESIS by Gene Garcia, without a doubt, although it came out in February 2021, .. hahahaha… what can I tell you ?, hahahahah,… listen to it in its entirety, one after the other because it tells a story, as if you were reading a book, GENESIS is something not to be missed.
How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?
We are at an acceptable level of activity, but it has to go further, no doubt, at the moment I don’t have other option. People can know me more on the net, on instagram, facebook, YouTube, on digital music platforms, spotty, deeper, iTunes, etc,… they just have to search Gene Garcia GENESIS.
Photo’s via Facebook.