Young Villanova singer to perform at World Cafe Live
Gavin Becker, 14, a singer-songwriter will perform Dec. 17 at World Café Live.
“I started performing when I was really young,” said Gavin Becker, 14, a singer-songwriter with an upcoming concert at the World Café Live. “I did a lot of theater and a lot of musical theater.”
Despite his youth, Becker has a lot of experience on stage. He began performing in theater productions when he was 3 and pestered his parents for piano lessons after sitting down and playing his aunt’s piano. He started piano lessons at 5 and now takes voice lessons. He’s also been teaching himself to play the guitar.
“I started writing my own music when I was 6,” he said. “That really ignited my passion for music,” said the Villanova native who is in ninth grade at The Shipley School. His younger sister, Lilia, 12, is also at Shipley. Becker has been in about 30 musical theater performances in the area including “Oliver” at the Walnut Street Theater. The family, including dad, Jeffrey Becker, an entrepreneur, attends many more live theater shows rather than movies, said his mom Kari Souders, an artist.
But Becker is now concentrating on his singing his own songs.
“Music is my main focus,” said Becker.
“I did a lot of open mic [performances] at the MilkBoy in Ardmore,” he said. “But the World Café Concert is my first big solo concert. The World Café Live is a place where a lot of other singers from around the country and globally go to [perform].”
Becker doesn’t yet have an agent. His mother secured auditions for her son for theater parts when he was younger, but he obtained the World Cafe booking on his own, she said proudly.
“I do my own marketing,” he said. “With Twitter [he has about 50,000 followers for @gavinbecker3] and I try to get my name on blogs.” He’s also made videos of himself playing the piano and singing two original songs that are available on YouTube and iTunes. His tunes are reminescent of a young Billy Joel. Becker’s Twitter followers, meanwhile, are mostly young girls, some from as far away as the Philippines and South America.
“They’ll write his name on their arm or they’ll make posters of his name,” said Souders. “They’ll make posters of him. Or they’ll find pictures of him on the internet and create works of art. It’s a whole new world out there.”
Although he studied classical music, Becker gravitated toward pop.
He admires Adam Levine and Maroon 5, he said, but also doesn’t want to copy anyone else.
During the summer, Becker goes to the same performing arts summer camp that Levine attended, French Woods in upstate New York. That camp allows him to be around other kids who share his interests, Souders said.
“I learned a lot there from the instructors and from being friends with [the kids],” said Becker. He also likes TV shows “The Voice,” “X Factor 2,” and “America’s Got Talent” and can see himself as a contestant one day.
“I didn’t go to a professional recording studio,” said Becker, about the songs that he’s released. “Even the ones on iTunes, I recorded them in my room,” using the program GarageBand.
“He works very hard at it,” said Souders. “The brilliance of it is, now kids can market themselves.”
Becker said that he’s a perfectionist about his music, practicing and recording over and over again.
“I try to record two or three songs a week,” said Becker. He’ll sing covers of popular songs and put them online as requested through Twitter by his fans, he said.
“My fans are always asking for specific covers,” said Becker.
When he’s not involved in musical activities, Becker likes to run and is on his school’s cross country team and also the debate team. And, he plays tennis.
A good student, Becker’s favorite subject is history. And he hasn’t let his obvious talent go to his head.
“I’d love to make [music] my career goal,” said Becker. “But there’s a lot of competition. There are very few spots. There’s a lot of jobs open for an accountant. There’s a lot of jobs open for lawyers. There are very few successful singers in the world.”
“He’s going to try [music] but school’s first,” said Souders. “School comes first.”
Meanwhile, Becker is practicing to prepare for his upcoming solo debut.
“I’m really excited for the concert,” said Becker. “I’m going to do my original music plus some covers. I’ve written almost a whole entire album. I’ll be releasing it eventually. I just have to record it all.”
Asked how he thinks of ideas for songs, he said, “I just come up with them.” The two songs he’s posted mine the ever popular topic of young love.
Becker’s World Café Live concert is set for Dec. 17. Proceeds from the concert will benefit Kids Helping Schools, a charity that provides school supplies and other resources to schools in needy communities. It was founded by Kate Aschkenasy when she was in fifth grade in 2009 and has raised nearly $50,000 since it began.