A new artist to many, desert locals know Q.Varo as a dear and familiar friend and eagerly anticipate her performance for the first time under her new banner at the Joshua Tree Music Festival. With her EP debut released on all streaming formats September 20th, this new artist has been years in the making. One of the last of her clan to join the calling as a performing musician, Q.Varo (known to desert locals as Gabriella Evaro) comes from a family with unfathomable music DNA, the kind that has resulted in a deep well of remarkable music, and a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Fame. For an Evaro to hesitate in following in the family’s musical footsteps is unusual, especially with the gifts this one kept tucked in her back pocket. While she would eventually perform with the family she loved, this Evaro’s other passions ultimately called her back.
Evaro delighted in painting large format art, creating pieces enjoyed by many attending the Joshua Tree Music Festival. She also thrived in expressive dance and theater. In 2014, she attended LIB (Lighting in a Bottle Music and Arts Festival) and was inspired by the art installations. “They had a cool massive room with sexy game toys and girls walking around all done up,” shared the obviously inspired Evaro. “Then there was another section of the installation with cool western themed art. I’ve always loved Wild West themes. That was my, ‘Ah ha,’ moment! I told myself, ‘I can do this! I can still have my brother and everyone I love be part of this show, and create this western burlesque experience with blues music, dance, visual art and theater all in one setting.’ All these ideas come together in ten minutes, and I knew right then, this is what I was going to do!” The Cactus Wine Experience became a fan favorite with standing room only shows at the world renown Pappy & Harriet’s and drew equally large crowds at the Joshua Tree Music Festivals that would follow.
Calls still came in for her to sing and perform. In answering them, she began experimenting with loop systems. Suddenly, unsuspecting audiences found themselves rivetted to the ground while the music carried them elsewhere. In this format, Evaro had all the sounds within reach that would express her inner voice and unleash her dove-like external voice. Momentum began to grow with an exciting run of big shows as a solo artist, and then…pandemic.
Knowing her gentle yet fearless nature, I asked Evaro how she preserved her heart and soul during the live music prohibition. “The pandemic, for me, was a journey inward. I did so many beautiful house projects, rested, played outside in my yard, tattooed myself, cooked amazing foods and more. It was like for the first time for all of us, time just stopped. I wasn’t hustling so hard and working myself to complete burn out. I truly enjoyed the break from performing where I always felt like I was running behind and could never ‘keep up.’ It was a self-imposed kind of ‘behind, the false Americanized idea of who and how we should be. So, the space and time is something I will cherish always. It showed me a new way of doing everything in my life. I love being home so for me I was in my element. It was also a scary time; all we could do is keep our home a sacred place to breathe and be.”
September 20, 2021, marked the first ever EP release for Evaro under her own banner, Q.Varo, and it will be celebrated live at the Joshua Tree Music Festival in October. The EP has five tracks, all recorded with her brother, Gene Evaro Jr. “I had the pleasure of having Christopher Unck and Gene Evaro Jr both play on my EP. There is also a track that ‘Geno’ (Gene Evaro Jr.) and I both wrote together – an interlude called, ‘Don’t You.’”
When asked about the transition to life as a solo artist, Q.Varo shared, “Creating music as a solo performer happened so naturally. I have learned so much performing with so many incredible musicians. I never thought about doing my own solo thing until I started to really loop. Looping has been such a humbling, growing experience. Performing as a solo artist pushes me and keeps me accountable. I still love collaborating and creating with other artists; that is something I will always do. But I am excited to continue to grow and develop my next body of work.”
When she’s not performing, Q.Varo is providing hand poke tattooing at a beautiful studio called Love Always Tattoo in Yucca Valley. “I am so grateful for the work I do,” says Q.Varo. “I get to create art almost every day. I’m constantly drawing, and that is something I have been wanting back into my life for a very long time. I’m not painting like I used to, but that will be changing. Still, nothing makes me happier than dancing. My goal before the pandemic was to incorporate more dance back into my life of music and performing more with Cactus Wine Experience. That is still my goal, and I just might be adding dance into my set for the Joshua Tree Music Festival.”