Davii might have initially found his footing and honed his musical chops in the rock world, but his recent transition to electronic music has allowed him to share his message like never before. With a unique fusion of visual art, EDM, weighty topics, and a multi-lingual appeal, Davii is proving himself to be an artist to watch.
Join us in getting to know Davii in this installment of NRT Insider.
So you're pretty new on the music scene but you've been creating music for a while now, starting in the rock world and now embracing more of an electronic vibe. Talk to us about how you got started in music in the first place and how you transitioned from rock to EDM.
My first instrument was an electric guitar. I chose that because at the time all I listened to was rock music, so my only musical influence was that. I kind of convinced my brother to play drums too, and then he got pretty good real fast, so we started a band. Later, I moved to the U.S. with that band to hopefully get our name out to a much bigger scene, but over the years people kept leaving the band, including my brother. We were at a point where I was the only original member left. It's really hard to find a group of people who think the way you think. It's not that I was suspecting that, but I did want to play Christian music, and finding people that are Christian, talented and hardworking is just hard.
Time passed and I started listening to EDM. I love how energetic and kind of aggressive it is, but it's still full of emotion. I found myself incorporating a lot of electronic sounds into my music, so I was already learning how to produce it, and then I started seeing the rise of EDM in secular music and in Christian music with guys like Capital Kings and Gawvii. So I wrote my first EP and put it out just to see where it would go. When I dropped my first song, the feedback was incredible, better than anything I've ever done. I started getting offers for production and playing live shows.
To tell you the truth, I kind of grew out of rock music a little. EDM does have a bad reputation in the rock scene, but when I saw how difficult it can be to create an EDM track that sounds original, I just fell in love with it. So here I am.
Do you remember some of the first Christian bands you came in contact with?
I grew up in Puerto Rico with my grandparents. My household wasn't really that musical, but at some point I started listening to rock music, thanks to MTV and the time they used to play music videos.
I found myself at Hot Topic a lot listening to new records, and then one day I heard this band called Underoath. Their new record at the time, They're Only Chasing Safety, had just come out. This thing changed my life, man. The words to some of these songs really did something to me. So Underoath was definitely a big influence in my life, as well as bands like P.O.D. and Relient K.
Finding Christian music at Hot Topic... never thought I'd hear that, but man, that's awesome! So you moved to Florida from Puerto Rico at age nineteen to pursue Christian music. That must have presented some early challenges right away.
When I moved to Florida to pursue music, I was pretty young for sure. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but I didn't know how to get there. Being young and a new Christian at the time, I definitely made a lot of mistakes. I guess I fooled myself into thinking that my heart was in the right place and that I was making music to glorify God, but later I realized that I was only making music that would glorify me instead. I slowly grew into the mindset that I have now, but I still struggle with this. It's something that I'm working on for sure.
Let's talk about your current EP. There's four tracks, and you don't shy away from some controversial topics. In fact, you open the EP with a song about abortion.
So I like to call my music honest music. The reason behind that is my words really do mean a lot to me, and they always come from very personal experiences. The first song on the EP is called "Love Lost," and that title is almost a response to that phrase that gets thrown out there a lot, which is "love won." I just said to myself, how can someone say "love won," in one sentence and then in the next say abortion is okay or that killing a baby in the womb is somehow okay? So this song speaks from the perspective of a child in the womb. With this, I'm not trying to change people's minds as much as I want their hearts to change.
Musically, this is the first EDM track I ever did. It's a little different than my other songs for sure, but I love playing it live and telling people what the words mean. There's always someone in the crowd that needs to hear this, and I've already had people come up to me telling me how much they needed to hear it. It's just very awesome how God can use you and me to save lives.
"Evermore" is the title track on the EP and was the lead single, so talk to me about that one.
"Evermore" is my baby, man. When I came up with the vocal melodies, I just couldn't get them out of my head. Musically, it's my favorite song on the record. The lyrics speak about how I found God at a point in my life where I had nothing to live for, I guess like many of us. When I became a Christian, I knew that I had to leave a lot of things behind, so I slowly did. This song speaks about not holding onto the past but looking to the future.
You've got a lot of passion for film making and video production. Anyone can go to your YouTube channel and check out what you're working on now. It's really cool stuff. How's all of that influencing your art moving forward?
I think I filmed my first short film when I was like eleven or twelve with this camcorder. Movies are just something that I've always been really interested in, so about five years ago I made my first music video for my band. I think like a week later I was already filming another music video for another band, so it just took off. I created a company called Efileno Media, and I've been doing that full-time since.
The idea behind Davii is that it's not only about music, it's about visuals too. I love that at this point I have control over my art one hundred percent, from music to artwork and the music videos. It makes it all flow together very well.
I do have plans of hopefully creating a short film that goes with maybe an EP or album at some point. I guess I'm just waiting for the right time for that.
Okay, let's get back to your EP. The track "Freedom" just makes me smile.
"Freedom" is just a very happy song for sure. Years after I became a Christian, I started having doubts about God's existence in a way. Many of my friends had left the faith, so I just kind of started feeling the same way. Instead of looking for a way out, I started searching for answers to my questions.
Apologetics was a big help in this. People like William Mcrae and Ravi Zacharias helped a ton. The evidence for Jesus and God just became so real to me, but more than that, just knowing that Jesus really died on the cross and that His body escaped the grave fills me with joy.
The title of the song is the response to a close person who told me he didn't want to be a Christian because he wanted to be free. I just think that if you believe that God doesn't exist and that when we die that's it, we would all be just slaves to our own graves. I believe that real freedom comes when you get a chance to know God, the God of the universe. So I made a happy-sounding track to make you want to dance and jump with joy, knowing that through Christ, we're really and truly free.
The EP wraps with "Innocence." Tell me about that song.
This is the very first track I released as Davii, so I really love the music on it, and I feel like it's very original sounding in a way. It kind of defines where my music was at the time. The lyrics are awesome for sure. I wanted to speak about sin and addictions, but in a way that was also relatable to other things.
In this song, I'm asking God to literally drown me out in my mind. It's very hard to hear His voice when we have our heads filled with sin. One of my favorite lines I've ever written is in this song when I say "bring me back to the days when I was young, when I was safe. Innocence was all I knew, and my heart cried out for You." I wrote that a long time ago, and I'm just glad I finally put it out in a song.
The EP cover art is quite interesting. It features a headshot of you, next to a guy in a mask holding a lantern. There's lot of other stuff on it, but there's got to be more to it here. Talk to me about what this cover is conveying.
I made the artwork after I finished filming the music video for this single, and it's basically the video in a photo. When I think about "Evermore," I think about the universe, I think of how incredible it is, and I see how the Creator of it all created us in His image. That's just crazy to me, us being so small compared to the universe, but still God's most important creation. So I added the stars inside of us to represent that, in a way, we are bigger than the universe.
There's also the masked guy holding the light. Besides being in the artwork and in the videos, you can think of him as part of Davii. Behind the scenes it's just me, but for live shows and visuals, he's going to be a big part of it. It's just basically to represent that I will be talking about things that some people don't want to say, and the light in his hand represents the light that we should all carry as Christians, no matter the consequences.
I love the intentionality of what you've put into that shot! You've got the four-song EP that came out in October 2016, and you just released a killer cover of "Hills and Valleys" by Tauren Wells. What's next?
First of all, "Hills and Valleys" is an incredible song. I remember being out on the road and my wife texted me saying I had to listen to it. She knows me pretty well. A few weeks ago, I was looking for a song to cover and do a remix of, and this song just came to my mind over and over again. Tauren Wells is an incredible singer, and I kind of didn't know if I'd be able to pull it off, but I still tried it. I guess a couple weeks after I recorded it we put it out, and the feedback has been incredible. Even Tauren Wells shared it on Twitter, which is pretty cool.
We're working on some remixes for other artists and getting ready to produce my next record. I'm just very excited about the direction that Davii is heading in and can't wait for people to hear my new music.
You recently played at Creation Festival. How was that experience, and what is a show with Davii like?
I can literally say that Creation Festival changed my life. It was my first time playing a festival, and when I got the email to play I didn't know what to expect, but I had the feeling that it was going to be an incredible opportunity. It was. People were just amazing and treated me better than I deserve. I'm just hoping to come back next year.
Our show is a little wild. I honestly just want people to have fun. My goal is the clean alternative to like a nightclub or an EDM festival. I bring the masked guy to my shows too, to keep it interesting. At the moment, I have my brother wear it. Our show is very interactive and I like to change it depending on the event. I sing my original songs, but we also DJ other producer tracks to make our show more dynamic.
In today's Christian music, it's not very often we find an artist who can reach the English and Spanish speaking markets. How do you feel about your ability to do that, and what is your vision long-term for reaching the Latino market?
So I grew up in a bilingual family, and from an early age I listened to Spanish music as well as English music. I remember a few years ago when Kari Jobe put out a record in English and Spanish and thought that was genius. That's kind of what I want to do with Davii. I'd love to have songs in both markets, English and Spanish.
It'd be incredible to tour in South America singing in Spanish, and then tour North America singing in English. I feel like Davii can do so much more and reach so many more people this way. Also, there's not really a lot of Christian pop music in Spanish, so that would really separate me from the rest of the Spanish singers.
We certainly wish you the best. We need musicians praising the name of Jesus in all countries, so that's way cool to hear. Thank you so much for joining us and allowing us to discover your amazing music. I can't wait for more in the near future.
Thank you so much for having me! I just want to let people know that if you want to find out more about Davii, you can go to my website daviimusic.com. See you soon!
Davii is a New York born, Puerto Rico raised EDM artist who is bringing the light of Christ to the electronic music scene. His debut EP 'Evermore' is available now.
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