20th May 2022
Interview: Amy Bell
Photography: James Woodley
Giovanni Niubo knew he would be an entertainer for as long as he could remember. Born and raised in Miami, FL, Giovanni knew he had a calling for both acting and songwriting. Humble beginnings quickly took place when he started his professional acting career on stage, appearing in the William Shakespeare play "Othello." Yet, despite his early training, most of his experience was earned through short films and web series. Giovanni is most recently recognized for his series regular role, as Tyler, on hit Facebook Watch series SKAM Austin - The acclaimed and innovative American version of Norwegian youth series followed a group of teenagers in their everyday life of school, love, and leisure time.
With the pandemic causing a halt to his acting career, there was no hesitation to transition into music. His love for music began at an extremely young age through journaling about his day-to-day experiences that eventually evolved into songwriting. At the age of seven, Giovanni stumbled into the latest craze of KPOP via YouTube, and the rest was history. He was fascinated at how the choreography was put together and flowed with the catchy lyrics…Just the inspiration he needed behind his writing. Drawing additional inspiration from big names, Giovanni looked up to incredible songwriters, such as Taylor Swift and Chester Bennington, when it came to putting pen to paper. He values writers who so willing open up in their writing + how fearless they are with their vulnerability and hopes fans can experience the same from his work.
Ready to balance both music and acting in his career, Giovanni will soon be one to watch. Coming from an immigrant family, Giovanni will stop at nothing to make his mother proud to show her that her sacrifices were worth making - Coming to Miami from Cuba at only 17 years old was not an easy feat. This caused Giovanni to be driven from early on, pinning his mother as the muse for his hard work.
During the pandemic, you transitioned from acting to the music world, what made you want to transition?
I always knew I wanted to pursue music. While filming the TV series I was a part of, I nervously asked the director if I could write music for it. Thankfully, she agreed and it was received well by the viewers. Once the pandemic hit, I saw it as an opportunity to go full force into music that was more my style and give it all my attention and care.
Has music always been around while you were growing up, who did you used to listen to?
Yes! I’ve always listened to music, so I don’t remember exactly my first time hearing it. It’s just always been there. Growing up I would listen to a lot of KPOP, which is what inspired me to make music. However, Linkin Park is who inspired me to write music, and Chester Bennington was also a huge inspiration of mine growing up.
How have you managed to bring your acting expertise into your music career?
I think my experience with the camera has helped me a lot. When I shot the music video for “Bets On U,” the team didn’t know it was my first music video and were shocked to find out it was. I’m also really excited for my next single, I’ve built a character around the song that I’m stoked to portray in the video.
Congrats on the new single and video for ‘Bets on U’, what was the inspiration behind this single and why did you decide to film a video alongside it?
Thank you! The inspiration for “Bets On U” came to me last year when I felt I had a support system. People in the industry really started to notice me and see something in me. As someone who doesn’t come from a family of Musicians or Actors, this feeling was very new to me, and I had to write about it. They were placing their bets on me, and I was grateful. I switched the point of view and that is how “Bets On U” came about. It’s essentially a thank you note from
me to my mentors, but I wanted it to be a fun upbeat song for the rest of the world. I decided to film a video for it because it’s such a fun song and I really wanted to showcase that!
What was the writing/recording and filming process like for this?
I think for me, my favorite part was definitely the writing and recording process. My producer, Emile Ghantous, sent me the beat after I sent him my ideas and I loved it immediately. Seeing your vision brought to life is such a unique feeling. Not only that, but it was so much fun! The video was filmed all in one day, from 7 AM to 8 PM! To be honest, I could’ve gone for more. I wasn’t tired at all it was like being on set all over again.
When did you decide you were ready for ‘Bets on U’, to be released?
I released “Bets On U” a few days before my birthday. The song was recorded last year, and I filmed the video in January. I thought it was the perfect Valentine’s Day song, so I really wanted to release it before February 14th. Unfortunately, things did not pan out that way.
This is a teaser for your upcoming music plans, what is next for you?
I’m super excited about my upcoming single. I remember last year when I recorded it, I said I couldn’t wait to put it out. I just felt that “Bets On U” would be a safer debut. It’s a song that started out as a joke and people loved the idea. Although it’s dark humor, I poke fun at myself on it and I think my personality and humor really show on this track.