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Davina Sowers channels breakup, gigs into jazz career
Soulful singer to perform April 8 at The Arts Council in Gainesville
GO-DAVINAandVEGABOND
Davina and the Vagabonds will perform at 8 p.m. April 8 at The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center in Gainesville. The show is part of the Evenings of Intimate Jazz series. Tickets are sold out, but seats may be available in the atrium.

Davina and the Vagabonds
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 8
Where: The Arts Council Smithgall Center, 331 Spring St. SW, Gainesville
Cost: $30 for individuals and $125 for table of 6, but all are sold out; additional seats available in atrium; waiting list started
More info: 770-534-2787 or www.theartscouncil.net

Davina Sowers moved from a hidden town in Pennsylvania to sunny Florida, only to end up making another move across the country.

After falling in love, Sowers packed her bags and headed north to Minnesota to start a band with her former partner.

“We played house and started this band and then we split up, and I kept the band going,” she said.

Since their humble beginning, Davina and the Vagabonds have hit No. 13 in the Billboard Blues Chart with their album “Sunshine,” landing them a performance on the hit BBC2 show, “Later … with Jools Holland.”

Now, the band will bring its edgy, reminiscent sound with a fresh twist to Gainesville. Davina and the Vagabonds will perform their unique blend of the blues and jazz during the Evenings of Intimate Jazz concert series. The show will be at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at 331 Spring St. SW in Gainesville.

Tickets are $30 for individuals, but are sold out, according to The Arts Council website at www.theartscouncil.net. Additional seats are typically available in the atrium the night of the concert and a waiting list has been started. Interested parties must call 770-534-2787 to be added.

Sowers spoke to The Times before the concert.

Question: How old were you when you started singing? Who inspired you to start?

Answer: I don’t really know the specific age. It was just pretty young probably 6, when I really started putting songs together to perform for my mom and my dad. The love of music itself inspired me. I just loved it and did it. And people were probably annoyed that I did it all the time.

Q: When did you decide that music is what you wanted to pursue as a career?

A: I started doing gigs and I just said, “Yes” to doing weekly shows during one of those horrible nights that nobody goes out to. And it what it is now. I got the gig and I’ve just been working my (butt) off for the past 12 years.

Q: What kind of music did you listen to growing up?

A: A whole bunch of my mom’s vinyls. I listened to those all the time. I started really getting into Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, (and) gothic music is pretty interesting.

Q: I know you play the piano, but do you have other talents? Have you learned to play any of the horns?

A: No, not a horn player! I fiddle here and there in the guitar and ukulele, but I’m working all the time and that keeps me occupied. And trying to write songs. I try to stick with what I do and do it the best I can.

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: I love decorating and I love to be home and nest. That’s important to me. And I like to move stuff around and change my sheets and do laundry and antiquing and interior designing.

I do graphic for the band, but I mean that’s technically for my job.

I love really love watching horrible TV and I love my cats. I love them so much. A crazy amount. And I miss them so much when I’m on the road. Their names are Sophie and Linguini.

Q: What are your least and most favorite parts of being on tour?

A: The peach and the pit, that’s what I call it. The peach is being able to hang out with my band members and having a good time and seeing different places and definitely eating different foods. The challenges can be enjoyable. Laundry is a big hoo ha. The pit is being tired. The pit is going into a room where people don’t appreciate us. I think when people have no idea what they’re missing and you’re there to spread love but you’re singing to chairs. But it happens less now! Another pit: late night joints not being opened for us to shove enchiladas into our mouths.

Q: What has been your favorite place to perform?

A: I just love every place … and for many different reasons, each place is special. I can’t say one place I feel is better than another. They all treat you different, and it’s all shaped different, the energy and community is different. There’s always something that sticks out that makes it special … except the nights that suck. We won’t talk about them.

Q: What’s one memory from being in the band you won’t ever forget?

A: There was one festival where it was really a turning point for the band and I. We just killed it and we did so well and all of us got teary eyed, because we were so proud that we could connect on a level that it was magical.

Q: What do you hope listeners take out of your music?

A: Happiness. Passion. We want to make them happy. I want them to connect with me and talk to me and the band. I will talk to them through our music, and I want to connect with them and make them feel good and not worry about taxes. And like, who cares if you got a ticket? We want their faces to hurt from smiling.

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