Gaby Moreno is a captivating vocalist and songwriter originally hailing from Guatemala. She is an Emmy nominee and Latin Grammy winner who has released 4 solo records internationally. Her latest album “Ilusión” received a 2017 Grammy nomination for Best Latin Pop Album. She has toured with Tracy Chapman, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Ani DiFranco, Punch Brothers, Milk Carton Kids and Calexico, and has shared stages with the likes of Bono, Andrea Bocelli and Van Dyke Parks.
Gaby has collaborated with Van Dyke Parks to create an orchestral album that will be released this Fall. The album also features Jackson Browne, Jim Keltner, Ry Cooder.
Over the past three years, Moreno has toured Australia as part of the Celebrating David Bowie extravaganza, as a featured member of Hugh Laurie’s Copper Bottom Band and as co-lead singer of the critically acclaimed vocal group The SongBirds. Gaby also played to a week of sold out shows in Melbourne in 2017. Gaby is currently a regular guest on the internationally renowned radio show Prairie Home Companion and sings the theme song for the new Disney TV series Elena of Avalor. Gaby has also toured with Mike Garson of Bowie fame and is currently organising and performing in various benefit concerts for the Guatemalan crisis.
A previous winner (and now judge) of the John Lennon International song contest, Moreno received an Emmy nomination in 2010 for co-writing the theme song of the hit television series “Parks and Recreation”.
In 2012, Moreno and Ricardo Arjona released a duet, “Fuiste Tu,” which was nominated for Song of the Year and Record of the Year at the 13th Annual Latin Grammy Awards. The music video for Fuiste Tu has amassed over 500 million views on YouTube.
In 2013, Moreno was crowned Best New Artist at the Latin Grammy Awards.
When it came time to record her latest album, “Ilusión”, Moreno decided it was time to revisit her beginnings. Musically, the new album captures the pure spirit of the aspiring immigrant artist who made her way in a new country (America) with just her guitar, an intriguing voice, and a pocketful of songs she was eager to share.
“I wanted the record to sound as authentic and as close as possible to what the band sounds like live,” she says, referring to her longtime collaborators. “I said, ‘Okay, let’s go back to the sound when I put out my first album, when it was just a few musicians in a room together, and it was about having fun and capturing performances. I wanted something human. I’m not a robot. I wanted to embrace the imperfections. That’s human. Maybe in the moment, I’m feeling something that’s making my voice break. It’s raw emotion. I wanted to keep that."
And she succeeded. The new collection of songs, most of which she wrote or co-wrote, reflect the organic mixture of her wide array of influences, from the blues to boleros. The record’s natural sound reflects the analog philosophy of producer Gabe Roth, bandleader of the Dap Kings and co-founder of Brooklyn-based Daptone Records, home to the legendary Sharon Jones.
“There’s something about certain old records that I love, especially that warm sound,” says Moreno. “This is why I wanted to go into the studio for this new record with Gabe Roth, because of his minimalist approach. He doesn’t use any computers, it’s all his ears. We did it all to tape, using these beautiful old vintage microphones, and playing all together in the same room. So you don’t have the luxury of doing 20 takes for every song. We do three takes and choose the best one out of the three. It was kind of nerve-racking... but it sounds so real.”
The album is an intoxicating blend of Spanish and English.
Moreno’s uplifting, hymn-like “Fronteras,” which means borders, reveals a theme of hope in the midst of darkness. In a time of persecution of immigrants, the song extends a hand of camaraderie for those who leave everything behind to pursue their dreams. The bilingual refrain captures the essence of “Ilusión” and the composer’s confident, mature state of mind when she created it: “And I laugh and dance. It’s in my blood. And I dream free. This is where I belong.”