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Indie Mixtape 20: Dana Gavanski Is Inspired By Her Compassionate And Incisive Grandmother

Canadian-Serbian artist Dana Gavanski is focusing on her voice in her sophomore album When It Comes. In the two years since her debut effort Yesterday Is Gone, the musician spent her time not only rediscovering what first made her fall in love with making music, but also learning how to use her voice as an instrument.

As a result, Gavanski’s voice delicately floats above enticing synths and languid piano keys on When It Comes. Her airy vocals shift between evoking a sense of power and vulnerability, examining how mood is captured through melody. Much of the album explores how context, like melody, can alter meaning. As Gavanski noted, even her album’s title, When It Comes, “has a heaviness to it but also a lightness, depending on your frame of mind.”

Ahead of the release of her upcoming album, which is out this Friday, Gavanski sits down with Uproxx to talk about following your instinct, her inspiring grandmother, and her hidden burping talent in the latest Indie Mixtape Q&A.

What are four words you would use to describe your music?

All that you want.

It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.

What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?

As I have mostly just performed in the UK, it’s quite not a fair assessment. Bristol is up there.

Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?

My Baka because she’s unwavering, compassionate, and incisive.

Where did you eat the best meal of your life?

In Nijmegen with my beau at a fish restaurant during a day off on tour.

What album do you know every word to?

Brandy’s Never Say Never.

What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?

Julia Holter at The Great Hall, Toronto in 2019.

What is the best outfit for performing and why?

Snapped Ankles’ tree costumes. Though not sure I’d survive a whole gig in one of them, let alone a song!

Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?

Foxes and other animal rescue.

What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?

We try not to listen to a song more than once.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

Pedro Pascal

What album makes for the perfect gift?

Keyboard Fantasies by Beverly Glenn-Copeland.

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?

A haunted, old, likely never renovated hotel in the lake district.

What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?

It’s not my favorite tattoo but it’s my first and the story is kinda funny. I was 19 and taking my 9 year old sister to ballet. I had passed by a tattoo parlor in Montreal and thought maybe I had enough time between her lesson and when I had to pick her up to get a tattoo. It was a super hot humid summer day and I fainted from pain and heat, but quickly came to and then it didn’t hurt anymore. When I picked up my sister from ballet I was a little late and told her what I’d done and she said, “Cool!”

What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?

I rarely listen to the radio.

What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

My baka would give me a foot massage to get me out of bed to go to school when I was a kid.

What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?

Learn to depend less on other people’s opinions to do things, and follow your instinct, unclouded by anxiety.

What’s the last show you went to?

Bas Jan and Yama Warashi at Cafe Oto.

What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?

Godfather I or Godfather II.

What’s one of your hidden talents?

Burping consecutively.

When It Comes is out 4/29 via Flemish Eye. Pre-order it here.