This is two Hadji albums for the price of one—2023's frenetic yet personal "wallflower" and 2022's sweet, guitar-filled "PASTIMES+". Ranging from punk to hip-hop to R&B to drum & bass, the glue that holds Hadji's music altogether is the New Yorker's unique ability to tell stories that are personal, yet relatable to today's human experience.
Hadji Gaviota pictures his music like an old school Nike SB. It looks cool just off a glance, but if you investigate deeper, there are worlds of stories buried within. The 27-year-old artist from Queens, NY first broke out on the indie-pop scene in 2018 with his hit “Harajuku,” a silky daydream through re-discovered feelings with a fling in Japan, which has racked up over 2 million streams on Spotify. Since his breakout, Hadji has been balancing a full-time career as a substitute high school teacher in the Bronx with releasing three full-length projects and performing sold out shows across NYC.
His music is tough to pin down to just indie or alt pop - it has traces of dreamy R&B, the types of rhythmic tics and potent lyrics that could make for a great rap song, and takes marching orders from late 90’s style punk rock. Having grown up in a musical household listening to all of the above, his influences span the gamut - as does his aesthetic style.
His songs seemingly glide forward with his ear for melody and rhythm and the ways they intertwine, but his bread and butter is in the song-writing. Touching on everything from his insecurities as a “shy homie,” to the sort of feeling-like-the-man energy you might get from a star athlete in his prime, Hadji interweaves the narratives of his life and upbringing with the weird thoughts that permeate the deepest crevices of his mind.
You can feel the peaks and valleys of his personal and existential journey across every individual project, and the sound crescendos in tune with those emotions. Like that Nike SB, his music can be as heady or as unobtrusive as you want it to be - smooth if you hear it playing in the background, but also enthralling if you choose to dive in.