(BlogMensGo 07th July 2011) What a refreshing surprise to interview this gentleman. This being my first interview for BlogMensGo, I was not really sure what to expect. It was mentioned to me a few weeks prior that I should interview Steven due to his unique style. With an open mind I sat and listened to his album...and really enjoyed what I heard.
First of all, I recommend that you open this link here and while reading this article have a listen. At the end of the article there is a music video which I am sure you will also enjoy!
Now you are listening, let me start by telling you a bit of this artist. Gallavin was born on the 27th September 1975 as Steven William Derendinger but chose the stage name ‘Gallavin‘ from his mother’s maiden name of Irish descent.
Steven of British and Swiss descent grew up in Lausanne, studied and graduated with a (MA) Master of Arts from the University of Lausanne.
He loved music from a very young age, fascinated by the pop world he applied to the ‘Village Players’ in Lausanne, an amateur theatrical group, and was on the stage singing by the age of 16. In 1996 Steven formed the band ‘Mind the sun’ and recorded a demo album but this also coincided with the time that they were finishing studies and wanted to go on and start their careers. In 1999 Steven formed another band ‘Late Nights’ where they successfully played at venues such as the Cully Jazz Festival.
Steven also does a lot of work within gay rights, stemming from his studies at university where in 2003 he worked on ‘The linguistic insecurity of gay men in western Switzerland’ for his academic paper which was published twice (Michael Groneberg: L’homme - Creature Sexuelle and Christophe Bareille - Homesexualité: Révélateur social?) and whilst he was interviewing gay men for his paper he was approached to write a few lines on the story of his coming out for a book by Stéphane Riethauser, "A visage découvert".
Further from this, Steven worked on the promotion of gay men’s health. In April of 2005, he began his career as a scientist collaborator in the AIDS unit of the Federal Office of Public Health in Bern, where he became a project manager in HIV prevention amongst gay men and male prostitution for Switzerland. Steven never left his musical talents and in 2008 he embarked on the project for ‘Mad about the Boy’ which he produced independently in 2009 and released in 2010.
The song is best known being performed with the female voice of Dinah Washington. The song was originally written by Noël Coward in honor of his boyfriend, the South African actor Graham Payn. Gallavin has tried to return to the original meaning in the song, and what better than to have a male voice sing to bring back it’s true meaning? The video goes even further, bringing it another step further, set in Chez Maman in Brussels on a cabaret stage with transvestite performers. Gallavin had met these performers in the south of France whilst on holiday there and decided they would fit in with his George Michael - Freedom inspired music video. Gallavin did not want to make the song ‘too gay’ by setting it with a group of men, instead he has left the viewer wondering ‘Who is the boy?’
Gallavin is one of the very few male Jazz singers, the style and lyrics limit the music to being only sung by women and for this he has been turned down by labels, jazz clubs and hotels, etc. for performance. Which is a shame as this he gives a uniquely inspiring performance.
La Télé and MTV3, based in Lausanne are currently broadcasting his music video after the water shed and he has now found interest in the States with Texas ‘OutRadio’ www.outradio.com and San Francisco’s ‘Bay Radio’ www.outinthebay.com who are playing his music. As he is becoming more known, he is starting to look now for an agency to take him further.
Within western Switzerland, there are currently two concerts booked in Prilly, VD on the 9th and 10th of September 2011 where he is offering ‘a journey through the most sensual songs of vocal jazz’. These concerts are being performed at the ‘Théåtre de la Voirie’, Rue Centrale 10, 1009 Pully with Guy-François Leuenberger at the piano. You can book your seats now by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think it is well worth following this up-and-coming gay star and I hope to see more of his music in the future.
Matt / MensGo