It's safe to say that Hadji Gaviota has found success through doing everything his own way. Ironically, he often discovered his uniqueness while attempting to follow the traditional paths laid out for him. The Penn University alum grew up with a passion for music, but he was secretive about his craft up until the end of his college career. A year after releasing his first single, he caught major momentum with his 2018 hit "Harajuku." Not too long after, he heard one of his songs while in a restaurant in France with his family, which effectively gained even more of their loving support in Hadji's journey.
The Queens native manages to embrace his individuality while also hungrily collaborating with talented, like-minded creatives across the country. Hadji is continually fine-tuning his niche sound, looking to strategically release EPs until he secures his well-deserved stardom. With a massive 2021 planned, Hadji is primed to reach new heights this year. Today, Hadji Gaviota takes on another path of art with his first NFT release alongside profound artist Squibs. The NFT release sold out in under 30 minutes, which is unbelievable in this new lane of monetization. The future is bright for not only Hadji Gaviota, but also for the people that are lucky enough to be around such a person.
We sat down via Zoom to discuss his career milestones, his time at Penn, his family's support, his NFT project with Squibs, and more:
Nick: So, usually how I start my interviews off, I ask the artists where they're from or what they're about. But, I'm gonna put a little spin on this one. I want to ask how you're doing. How are you doing physically, mentally? How is everything going on in your life? Where are you at in your career? I genuinely want to hear about it.
Hadji: I'm so exhausted right now, to be honest. This is a crazy month for me. I'm going to LA next month. I've been jumping around, just trying to get everything ready that I can. So, I've just been tutoring a lot of kids just to make a little bread on the side—all that stuff, and also babysitting. So, today, I have a full day of babysitting, and I just tutor on Zoom. In the meantime, I'm also shooting visuals for my whole next project. It's a four-song project, and we've done one video, so I have three videos left to shoot this month before April 1. And before that, I'm also doing two features and collab songs; both of the songs and videos, we're also shooting this month. So, I have five video shoots coming up before the end of the month. I'm running around like a madman, so I'm pretty exhausted. It is also kind of exhilarating. I'm just trying to get into that sleep schedule, rhythm kind of stuff.
Nick: Where are you from? Also, what is it like being a Penn grad in the music industry?
Hadji: I'm from Queens, New York. Born and raised; I'm here right now. It's chill. It definitely surprised me how many more musicians I know; more than I expected. There's a lot of artists—even big artists—that I don't personally know, but I've learned that they went to Penn—like Alexander 23—but I had no idea that they went through Penn while I was there. I'm finding out more and more people. You know, it's such a big school with a powerful network, so it surprises me a little less every time. When I was there, I went in there as an overachiever. Like, straight-A kind of high school student; I didn't really think a lot about what I actually wanted to do. My only focus was like, "I'm going to get into the best school that I can." I got there, and I was like, "Man, I don't really want to do any of these traditional career paths." A lot of my friends were into the business program at Wharton or were doing consulting, all that kind of stuff. And, none of that really grabbed me. I realized that I'd been spending a lot of time doing all this box-checking kind of stuff, and I hadn't really gotten into my creative side as much. Being in that environment where everything around me was very professional, it pushed me towards more of a creative outlet. I had been making music in high school, too, though; I wasn't taking it particularly seriously. So, I started taking it a little more seriously in college, and it was maybe around my senior year that I finally started to make stuff that I was liking being out. But, it definitely took me coming back from New York before I really found myself and all that.
Nick: What was it like being in France and hearing your song playing in the restaurant while you're eating?
Hadji: I've been really lucky to have parents who were super supportive of what I do; they encouraged me, they come to my shows, they listen to my music and all that stuff. It's pretty cool. But, that was definitely a moment where I was like, "Yo, I'm gonna try this musician thing."
Having that happen to me with my mom was definitely a good thing for me, dude; it was interesting. But, it was bizarre. It was really bizarre. It was also kind of a deep cut. It was a song "Hemlock" that I had with this guy, TheSecondSex, who was another super dope Queens artist. It might have been in my top 10 on Spotify, but it wasn't in my top five. And actually, I went out to dinner with my mom and my cousins who were in France, which is why we went to visit. We were at dinner, and this is the night before that happened. They were playing my friend in the restaurant, and I sent him a video of his music playing in France like, "This is crazy. Like, check this out." And he was like, "Oh, that's sick." So that night, we went and it was all normal. The next night, me and my mom went out to dinner at this other restaurant. We were standing in line and it was crowded, so we were like, "Fuck this, we're gonna go to this other place across the street." So, we walk into this restaurant across the street, and for some reason, they have the same ownership as the restaurant that we went to the night before. So, they were playing a similar playlist. I walk in, and I hear my friend again. And I'm like, "Yo, they're playing the song at a different restaurant in Paris." At that point, I was like, "Yo, they love TheSecondSex so much that there's a chance that our collab is gonna be on this playlist." I'm just sitting there eating my dinner, and before you know it, there it is; my shit just comes on. I'm like, "Yo, Mom, check this out! This is me!" Like, it was early for me to have that kind of experience.
Nick: I got three fun questions for you. Right off the top, what is your favorite cheesesteak place?