Gabriella Quevedo has one of those rare talents that makes her extreme skill look so effortless, you almost don’t realize how extraordinarily hard the task at hand really is. In the video below she takes on The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” which, I’m sure goes without saying, is no easy feat. It’s always a huge task to do justice to a widely-loved and recognized piece of music, and “Hotel California” is certainly one of those songs, but Gabriella’s got more than enough technical skill and natural rhythm to give this classic an impressive new spin.
What is so spectacular about Gabriella’s performance is that she manages to play all the different parts of the song on her one guitar. As her fingers delicately flit across the guitar strings, you’ll notice that she’s not just playing the vocal melody and guitar lines, but she’s touching upon the bass line, the percussive rhythms, and the backup melodies as well. Gabriella is effectively meshing together an entire band’s worth of parts and playing them herself, and you won’t find many guitar players who can do it as well as she can.
Gabriella got her love of guitar from her father, who she says plays guitar all day long. In the bio on her website, she explains that she didn’t first pick up her father’s guitar until she was 12 years old, and upon discovering that she liked playing even more than she liked watching, she decided to continue to teach herself. Later that year (2009), she found a video of Sungha Jung, a young South Korean guitar player specializing in acoustic fingerstyle guitar, and Gabriella knew she had to learn this unique style. Fingerstyle guitar is a technique that involves plucking the guitar string directly with your fingertips, fingernails, or picks attached to your fingers as opposed using the traditional flatpick. If you look closely in the video below, you can see how Gabriella plucks with just her fingertips and fingernails.
Noticing Gabriella’s intense devotion to learning, her parents decided to buy her her very own guitar – a shiny black Yamaha – and Gabriella began practicing for hours every day. She would watch videos on Youtube of Sungha and other ‘Youtube heroes,’ as she refers to them, to learn from their performances. After a year of practicing, Gabriella was certain she wanted to be a professional fingerstyle guitarist and started uploading her own performances to Youtube.
In early 2011, Gabriella received some invaluable advice from a Youtube friend in Germany, who suggested that Gabriella get in touch with Sungha’s PR manager regarding a show Sungha was playing in Sweden. Just days before the show, Gabriella reached out and asked if she could perform with Sungha on stage. Just like her friend has said, Sungha and his PR manager received the request warmly and invited Gabriella to play on stage at the show in Växjö, Sweden. A dream come true for her, Gabriella happily accepted and played alongside her hero, who would later invite her to play several more shows with him. This performance snowballed Gabriella into success in booking live shows, and all the while her Youtube fame was increasing as well. She currently has almost 172,000 followers on her Youtube channel, where she regularly posts her breathtaking acoustic performances.
What do you think of Gabriella’s performance? Have you ever heard this arrangement of “Hotel California” before? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!