Spotlight Series: Gaby Moreno

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Guatemala-born indie songstress Gaby Moreno will be bringing her warm, award-winning “Spanglish” vocals and guitar licks to Levitt Pavilion Denver this Thursday night. Her fusion of jazz, pop, R&B, Latin folk (and a whole lot of heart!) has delighted audiences across the globe, including those who attended her 2011 Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles performance. Her work has earned the respect of her peers, as well as a range of accolades—including a Latin GRAMMY Award, Emmy Award nomination and GRAMMY Award nomination. 

By the time this rising star was honored as “Best New Artist” at the 14th annual Latin GRAMMY Awards (2013), she had already dedicated years to her craft. Seven years prior, she was awarded the top prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest—which she now judges alongside singer/songwriter giants like George Clinton, Natasha Bedingfield, Jon Weir, Sheila E. and Fergie—for her song, “Escondidos” (2006). Audiences might recognize her songwriting talents from the theme song of NBC’s television show Parks and RecreationLearning of the opportunity only a month before Parks and Recreation was set to premiere, and without any previous experience writing music for television, Moreno embraced the challenge and brought her friend Vincent Jones on board to complete a submission. In addition to being selected for the show, their piece went on to receive a 2010 Emmy nomination.

Her talents as a songwriter are amplified by her natural abilities as a performer. Moreno has had a lifelong love for the stage, and it’s evident in her dynamic and sincere live performances. At the age of ten, Moreno opened for Ricky Martin in Guatemala. After performing three well-received songs, she left the stage, went up to Martin and said, “Hey, Ricky. Don’t worry. The crowd is awesome. You’re going to have a good time.” She has since toured the United States with Ani DiFranco, Punch Brothers and Tracy Chapman, and has shared the international stage with Calexico, Hugh Laurie, Bono, Andrea Boccelli and Van Dyke Parks.

Get ready for tomorrow’s free show by checking out Moreno’s NPR “Tiny Desk” concert below.