Earlier this week I met up with Jo Gore and Azul Zapata at one of my pseudo-office spaces, Sam’s Quik Shop. Sipping on water after expending a little bit too much energy hosting two events on behalf of the Beat over the weekend, I summoned myself into presence of mind to talk to these two lovely locals about their upcoming show at Motorco. Over the course of an hour and a half we shared an intimate conversation complete with giggles and tears, while touching upon topics like artistic inspirations, personal traumas, and the struggles of female artists in male-dominated industries.
On Saturday night (November 10th), these two proud women will share the stage for an all-female, all-local show at one of Durham’s biggest venues, the much-loved Motorco Music Hall. A night that promises to be every bit as girl power-inspired as it will be emotional, intimate, sexy, and fun, this night marks a big moment in the lives of these young artists. Tell me, dearest readers, how often have you seen an all-female, all-local lineup at a major venue on a weekend night? Yeah, me neither. “This moment for me is something I’m going to be bragging about when I’m 85,” Jo Gore said to me when I asked her about her hopes for the night. Meanwhile, Azul Zapata “had some pants tailor-made for this event,” which alone should indicate to you how important this night is to these two.
Support of local artists is something local artists often give to each other. As many a-local artist will say, sometimes community support can be a bit elusive, especially in a place like Durham where local arts are abound and conflicting events can often be an issue for turnout. This show on Saturday is not only a chance to see some celestial live local music, but an opportunity to support the performers, particularly Jo Gore, in a very tangible way. Jo recently launched a Kickstarter campaign that will continue only for the next few days to raise money to fund the making of her new album, a 20-track sensation called, “i am worthy” from which she will be performing at her headlining show on Saturday night. “I believe in my work,” she said. This Kickstarter campaign is meant to fund the professional treatment her work deserves. Due to be released on April 1, 2019, “i am worthy” promises to be a work of exceptional craft.
Born from an extreme human experience, the album is a vocally-driven and emotionally delivered triumph of female certitude, her power and pain and joy. “We women folk go through a lot of stuff and so often we stay silent. I’m not going to be silent anymore,” said Jo when talking about the spirit of this album. Many women, myself included, have experienced all different kinds of abusive behavior, from emotional and physical violence, to gaslighting, and sexual harassment. Jo’s album, “i am worthy” tells her story. “It’s a full picture,” she says, complete with the high moments of joy to the ultra low moments of extraordinary pain and suffering and doubt. Jo’s album is very much a deep personal expression which she delivers by way of a 3-piece band and her exceptionally well-trained voice. Raised by a deacon and pianist father, Jo has been singing quite literally for her entire life.
When she and Azul Zapata met for the first time at 2nd Wind in Carrboro two years ago, they instantly connected over their mutual love for singing and obvious talent for vocal artistry. Azul, who is a big hit here at Durham Beat, has been mesmerizing all of us here on staff with her elegant voice for months now, ever since the always-groovy music writer Zoe covered her show at The Station earlier this year. Having recently performed at our Monthly Market series at the Quik Shop, Azul is someone we’ve been happy to spend time with lately, and one whom we all here on staff are eager to continue supporting. When she wrote to me about to talk about this upcoming show, I jumped on the opportunity to do this preview spread.
As I am also a female artist (writer/journalist/editor) working in an industry (journalism) long dominated by men, and especially in a genre (Gonzo) that has been governed almost exclusively by men (great men tho!), I understand very deeply the struggle for validation that so many female artists go through. I have reached a point in my own life though, where the only validation I seek is my own. Am I living up to my standard? Am I being my best self? Jo and Azul exhibit this same level of personal confidence. Our meeting earlier this week served not only as a means to gather the necessary information for this piece, but as a coming together of like-minded women, all of whom are ready and eager to share our art with the world. Thus, I extend an invitation to you, readers of this article and humans across the triangle, to join us on Saturday night at Motorco for what promises to be a most delightful show.
Featured image provided by Jo Gore.