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Student Gavin Hudner finds creative freedom, fulfillment through music production

Standing in front of clouds and blue sky, Gavin Hudner looks forward. The third-year ethnomusicology student said he has found creative fulfillment through producing and songwriting. (Grace Wilson/Daily Bruin)

By Natalie Glawe

Jan. 30, 2023 6:05 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 7 at 7:52 p.m.

Gavin Hudner is tuning up to become a musical jack-of-all-trades.

The singer, songwriter and producer is pursuing his passion for music as a third-year ethnomusicology student. Given that his parents met in a band and were quick to enroll him and his brothers in music lessons, he said his inclination toward making music felt like a natural product of his upbringing. Upon entering his teenage years, he said he wanted to start crafting his own music, so he taught himself how to do so.

“In high school, I just decided I wanted to start writing songs, and I didn’t have anybody to help me with it,” Hudner said. “So, I just had to teach myself production.”

As for the sequential order of Hudner’s music-making process, he said after writing and recording the song section by section, he begins work on the track’s sound backing. He said he first goes for guitar or piano, then a percussive element or bass. Then, he said, he will experiment with automating and layering reverbs, stacks and samples.

While Hudner said he loves what he does, he acknowledges that achieving success in such a competitive industry is no simple feat. A successful producer, he said, is someone who is able to attentively listen to the artist’s every need and simultaneously have the creative vision and tenacity to push them slightly beyond their comfort zone.

Lit by a green neon light, Hudner works editing and creating music at a desk using a computer. Hudner said he fostered his collaborative spirit upon moving to Los Angeles and feels grateful for the personal and professional connections he has made with other artists. (Grace Wilson/Daily Bruin)

[Related: Flamango Bay explores youthful, personal themes in debut EP ‘The Fool’]

Nonetheless, Hudner has accumulated more than 28 million streams across all the platforms the tracks he has written and produced are on. Oftentimes, he said he will help an artist in the writing process while also undertaking the production of the song. Despite working solo from his bedroom for two years, Hudner said he quickly jumped into these collaborative sessions with fellow artists upon moving to Los Angeles. He added that this cooperative aspect of his craft opened him up to a new creative mosh pit of ideas.

“(The collaborative process) is like, ‘How are we going to make a three-minute song off of an idea that somebody has?‘” Hudner said. “It’s just so open. You can do whatever you want, which is why I think it’s fun.”

Hudner’s friend and colleague, indie-pop artist Lorelei Marcell, said she found a rare writing chemistry with Hudner. Just as he is logical and well-versed in the industry, she said he takes pride in fostering emotional authenticity regarding his collaborative trade. Despite Hudner working with Marcell as a producer, Marcell said she will not hesitate to also bring Hudner into her sessions for some additional inspiration while writing in the studio. She said her collaborations with Hudner have a natural flow, as they sit in front of a piano, play around with dulcet chords, and hum inspired tunes together.

“I’m honestly so impressed with how many demos he makes and people he works with,” Marcell said. “He’s so good at building connections and keeping them. He’s introduced me to almost everybody I know out here and is just very driven. And (he) knows what he’s doing with industry and production.”

Another friend and colleague, pop artist Alexa Cappelli, said Hudner played a critical role in crafting two of her most streamed songs to date. One of Cappelli’s most popular releases, “SAY SOMETHING,” was written by Hudner. It sparked Cappelli’s realization of the fruitful dynamic between the two, she said. Following the traction the pop anthem generated, she said the two decided to attend a writers’ weekend retreat together. Aside from the fond memories and friendship they found, Cappelli said the prolific, intimate experience resulted in her most recognized song, “Could’ve Just Left Me Alone.”

“The biggest thing for me that I’ve noticed from Gavin is just his love for people,” Cappelli said. “That makes a writer so good, their ability to tell a story and really step into that person’s shoes.”

[Related: Robby Good considers his journey as musical composer at UCLA]

Hudner said he is grateful to work alongside an extensive network of artists who are accessible in the LA area that he can call friends. He values the endless nature of artistry, he said, and hopes to let his creative intuition achieve lasting success and impact.

“I feel like (making music) is unlimited,” Hudner said. “It’s like painting something – it’s just empty, and you can put whatever you want in there.”

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Natalie Glawe
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