Gavin Haley has quite the interesting story; at only 22, he’s already a former-professional-cyclist-turned-musician (I’m pretty sure he would be the first of that designation to appear on PHILTHY…) This summer he released two singles, “96” and “Show Me,” on Red Bull Records, and he’s currently working on an EP for the label, which they’re hoping will be available in the very near future. His sounds are a soulful and sultry brand of pop, reminiscent of some of recent history’s best R&B balladry. Haley is about to set out on a massive batch of dates, opening “Mom’s First Headline Tour” for Ashe, and the tour’s second stop is upstairs at our very own World Café Live on Wednesday, September 11th. Yesterday I got a chance to chat with Haley about his short time as a musician, his background, and just how much he’s enjoying this chapter of his life.
Izzy Cihak: It’s hard to believe that, at your age, you’ve already transitioned from a professional cyclist to a professional musician. How do the two compare? They would seem to have very little in common, although I’m guessing there’s something there.
Gavin Haley: Haha, yeah, life is a trip. Cycling and music are so different – I think the one thing they have in common is how hard you gotta go. Hard work is undefeated and cycling really taught me that. I’ve been very blessed with how this music thing has started coming together, but I’ve had to keep my head down and block out a lot of noise. Just go fast and stay positive 🙂
Izzy: How do you approach music and songwriting, both in terms of your process of creating and just your goal as a musician?
Gavin: Music is a feeling for me. I just love to jam and sing melodies. At first it was just developing an idea with things that were coming naturally to me. The longer I’m in LA the more I have to write about. Now I’m pushing myself to make the most relatable piece of work I can, while keeping it real to me. As far as the process of making music, it hasn’t changed much – I start with some chords and then like to freestyle whatever melodies come out. That’s just how I learned to write.
Izzy: And who are some of your favorite musicians, whether they directly influence your sound or not? I honestly can say I would have a hard time guessing, but I know that church music had a big influence on you.
Gavin: Aside from worship music, Chris Martin inspired me so much growing up. Coldplay is one of the few bands I jammed to. I love the way the music makes you feel. It takes you far away from everything and you just float there. Other artists whose sounds I’m influenced by include Frank Ocean, James Taylor, XXXTenacion, and Post Malone.
Izzy: You’re about to kick off a really big tour with Ashe. Are there any gigs you’re especially excited to play, or just cities you’re especially excited to visit?
Gavin: I’m super excited for the East Coast shows! Especially New York and Philly, as I’ve never played there before. Canada will be dope, too. To be honest, I’m ready for all of them.
Izzy: Are you excited to get to see Ashe every night? I’m also a really big fan of hers.
Gavin: It’s about to be wild! So excited and blessed to support Ashe. She’s an incredible artist and human. By the end of tour I’m going to be singing every song with the crowd.
Izzy: What can be expected of your live show when you’re here at World Café Live?
Gavin: It’ll be a stripped back, intimate show. I love connecting with the audience and I’m just excited to jam out with everyone. I’ll have essential oils with me, lol, so come talk after the show!
Izzy: In addition to working on your first EP, what else are you especially excited for in the last part of 2019… or is it all about the EP?
Gavin: The EP is going to be special. It’s the first project I’ve ever released, so I’m really looking forward to it. The rest of the year is going to be amazing. I might have something cool dropping in December.