“If I wait for love am I waiting for Godot?”
In her first release, aptly titled “Waiting for Godot,” from her upcoming debut EP, Janina Gavankar ponders
a topic we can all relate to. Lyrically, Gavankar references the famous play, of the same title, by Samuel
Beckett, questioning if ‘love’ is something she has ever known, and if so, will she be able to recognize it? Or,
is she waiting for something that simply doesn’t exist? Musically, the ambient core sets a haunting, emotional,
tone to the song, combined with a choir of vocals over a consistent melodic foundation. Without going too
far left of center, Gavankar shows she can create a balance—something stylistically unconventional, with
main-stream appeal. The New York Post might have put it best, describing her as an “Audio Schizo.” This
proves true on “Waiting for Godot,” which musically crosses from a dub drop to an A Capella choir. The mix
of experimental, quirky, electro-pop, on her debut single, is the perfect representation of the gifted musician
Gavankar has always been, and introduction to the music she plans to make.
“Sometimes the starting point is a question, sometimes it's an instrument, sometimes it's a person I've been
dying to collaborate with,” Gavankar says about her writing process. “I've never had one way of approaching
things. But the process is always experimental.”
Given Gavankar’s acting credits, (HBO’s True Blood, The L Word, The Gates, etc), her sound and approach
to music are quite unassuming. She tapped two music tastemakers— German-born, electronic musician,
Apparat and producer Cory Enemy (Peaches, Ellie Goulding) to help create “Waiting for Godot.”
“I heard about Cory when I started listening to dub-step in 2008,” recalls Gavankar. “When he played me his
lesser known material, I fell in love with his other side. People have no idea what he's capable of, and I'm
proud to herald.”
Born and raised in Joliet, IL, Gavankar began her training, studying classical piano, percussion and voice as a
child. As she grew, it was this love affair with the arts that also found her torn between acting and music. In the
end music seemed to prevail, when she landed a record deal with Cash Money Records as a member of girl
group EnDera during her college years at Yale and the University of Illinois at Chicago. After a few, frustrating,
false starts, and a need for more, Gavankar seemed to tap into her self-proclaimed “inner-geek.”
“I got bored waiting to make music, so I taught myself ProTools.” says Gavankar.
This fascination with technology would stick with Gavankar until present day. Always ahead of tech trends,
she is regularly selected for panels at conferences educating the entertainment industry on the practical
application of multiple, new, digital platforms—she was the first celebrity to sign up to Twitter. “People are
weirdly impressed by that,” says Gavankar. “The truth is, I use social media because I like it, not because I'm
supposed to.” She recently discussed her expertise of social media with Forbes Magazine, offering insight on
how entertainers can augment their careers with it and her selection of efficient digital platforms you probably
haven’t even heard of yet. Gavankar’s tech savvy pursuits were
recently recognized as she was presented with the Gravity Summit’s Excellence in Social Media/Entertainment
Award on February 22, 2012.
After months of postponing the album, EnDera disbanded. Emotionally drained and disappointed, Gavankar
decided to put her musical aspirations on the back-burner and her creative energy towards her other love—
acting. She headed to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, transforming from one character to the next.
Her name can be linked to such characters as “Papi” from The L Word, “Leigh” from ABC’s The Gates, “Shiva”
on The League, and most recently as shape-shifter, “Luna Garza,” on HBO’s True Blood. Acting may have
taken precedent in Gavankar’s recent years, but she quietly continued to experiment with music on her own
In 2010, she reworked Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” to much acclaim from fans and fellow artists alike. “I
played this 100 times the first time I heard it,” ?uest Love of The Roots stated. No ID, Kanye West's mentor,
said, "Janina is a star. Period.” Gavankar then released the dub-step banger “Kali Ma” the same year.
"I'm a musician, so the beauty is I can do whatever the f*** I want. If I want to go make waltzes tomorrow, I
will," she declared in recent interview with the New York Post.
“This isn't a ‘go work with this person because they're hot right now’ kind of project,” continues Gavankar. “I
don't give a shit about who's 'cool.’ I'm only interested in working with people I already know and love, or
people I've been salivating over for years.”
On her upcoming debut EP, Gavankar is NOT musically monogamous by any means. Expect highly-
collaborative, experimental pieces that fuse IDM (intelligent dance music) and classical music elements
together. She is set to release her debut EP later this year on Randy Jackson's label, Dream Merchant 21.
“One day Randy Jackson called,” Gavankar explains. “He said ‘You're weird! I like it! Go make weird stuff and
come back to me.’ Now I'm releasing those works on his label.”
True to her current True Blood character, Gavankar is ironically a shape-shifter of sorts in real life—a musician,
an actor and a technology maven.