AJ Davila was born and raised in Puerto Rico, like me, so our interview was conducted completely in Spanish and in a very Puerto Rican way. You see, people who come from the island get very excited when they speak about subjects they are passionate about.
We might have started the interview talking about music, but Davila and I shared too many things in common — including friends — and we might have veered off the subject a few times.
Davila asks as he lets out a huge laugh, “What is a girl from the island doing in Savannah, Ga.?”
Then he explains his move. “I left Puerto Rico in 2007 to work on my music career, since my sound is very different to what is produced there. Ended up in Chicago, later Mexico City, and here we are.”
If I have to put a label on his music, it has an indie pop sound that’s universal, but Davila calls it “dirty pop with a garage sensibility.” His new album features the single “Beautiful,” a catchy pop punk anthem that will make the Stopover audience dance.
“I am so excited to tour Savannah with my new single and album. Music is universal and when people come to our shows, they do really have a good time. You can’t help it, it’s contagious,” Davila says.
His great ability is an understanding of the structure of pop music. Davila composes songs reminiscent of the soundtrack to classic ’80s movies like “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty In Pink.”
“While writing and working on the new album, I collaborated with many talented musicians; I think audiences will be happy with the new material,” he says.
Despite the sometimes lighthearted music he creates, Davila says he has felt the effects of the new political climate. All his musicians hail from different parts of Latin America and as he was getting ready to tour the country, his band took a step back.
Davila says, “Although I am a Puerto Rican American, four of my musicians were from Mexico and one from Venezuela, all with their visas. But in some cities, paperwork didn’t come through on time. So I had to rehire a new band because some of my guys were nervous about encountering issues while traveling and the possibility of being deported. It is crazy what we are going through and the fear, regardless if your papers are in order.
“Which reminds me, any Puerto Rican food in Savannah?!” asks Davila.
So, I have promised AJ some Puerto Rican food in the Hostess City — now promise me you will check him out when he plays The Jinx during Stopover.
11 p.m. March 11
The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.