As you may well know now, I have a soft spot for a man in heels. The higher, the fiercer, the better. So Jose Luis Navarro, a virtuoso electronic violinist with a penchant for performing Lady Gaga tunes, is right up my alley. The first OXHEART event Jose performed at was our "Louda Collection" event at the Trump World Tower's World Bar, though previously he's appeared at MAC AIDS Fundraisers and Orlando's famed Headdress Ball. His look and sound are sleek, the Siamese cat of violinists, simultaneously elegant and sly. Please check out my interview with him below!
OXHEART and Bodega de la Haba, our collaborator this time, are so excited to welcome Jose to our upcoming show, "The Wrong of Spring," an avant-garde rock show at the Bowery Hotel on May 1 (tickets can be purchased here, $15 in advance, or $20 at the door--10% of all proceeds go to GLAAD). At the show, there will be even more fantastic musicians and performance artists--some with fire, some with albino pythons--and free cotton candy and popcorn. I hope you'll join us there! Stay tuned for more updates in the next few weeks.*
Interview with Jose Luis Navarro, of OXHEART's "The Wrong of Spring"
Photograph by Athena Lindsey
What I love the most about playing the violin is the amount of emotion I am able to express through the instrument.
When and why did you decide to transition from classical music to more modern music?
I decided to transition when I was 19 years old. I love classical music, but as got older I recognized that I had a much more artistic side of me which was not fully expressed through classical music.
How did you learn to walk and perform in heels?
It was definitely a challenge at first. When I bought my first pair of heels I would walk around the entire house, and do everyday things like clean, and cook with them on. Once I got used to them, then I would start practicing with them on. After a while, it became natural.
What do you love most about performing?
Besides playing the instrument, I would have to say the exchange of emotion and energy between the audience and myself. No matter if I play for a couple of people or a couple thousand individuals, there is always something magical about that experience. That is what I live for.
What makes you decide to perform a song? Do you ever compose your own music to play?
Picking songs is always the most difficult part because it all depends on who will be attending. If I am going to a more conservative venue I typically play something from the classical era. If I am performing at a nightclub, I would typically play top 40 such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, etc. I do compose my own music. I am currently working on my first album, which should debut sometime this winter. I am very excited for that!
Who or what inspires each performance?
Surprisingly it is the venue that inspires each performance. If it's a small stage with dim lighting, I want to play something more poetic versus something more lively, but if it's a huge stage with all the fixings I want to do an all out performance with high energy playing, and choreography.
Who are some of your favorite artists, musical, or visual?
Bjork is one of my absolute favorites for her pure musical talent. I really enjoy Lady Gaga as an artist. She is very bold, and not afraid to be herself. Beyonce is by far my absolute favorite performer. Her drive, and passion for technical perfection on stage inspires me to work harder, and harder each time. Last but not least Above & Beyond. There house music is all about getting everyone together regardless of age/gender/culture/etc. and enjoy music for what it is. Those are just to name a few.
What makes a good performance, in your eyes?
To try and keep this as short as possible, I would have to say energy, tonality, and passion. Without energy the audience will be bored. Without tonality, your music will not sound pleasing to anyone, and without passion, you are dead on stage.