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Las Vegas’ Javesque feeds his music with his culture and his heritage

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Javier Esqueda, aka Javesque
Photo: Angel Mendez / Courtesy

"I want people to dance to my music.” That’s the primary goal for Javier Esqueda, who produces and performs under the name Javesque. So far, so good.

Esqueda’s latest single, March’s “Hold It Down”—a collaboration with Vegas singer Justin Ingalis—is an icy house anthem perfect for sweaty, strobing dancefloors, created with LGBT crowds in mind.

“Pop/EDM—that’s the kind of music I’m making right now,” he says. “It’s more [about] expressing yourself and just being super gay. I just wanted to be 100 percent myself.”

Also central to Esqueda’s art is his Mexican-American heritage. He hopes tapping into his own stories can give other people the confidence to explore theirs.

“It’s really important to me to bring out my culture in my music, because I want to represent who I am,” Esqueda says. “I am a Chicano. I was born in LA and raised in Las Vegas. Spanish music is a big part of my culture.”

Esqueda recalls growing up and hearing his mom blast Spanish music on Saturday mornings. “I used to hate it,” he says. “But now I love it. I want to show people [my music] in a different language and speak to them and have their voice be heard, too.”

That feeling comes across in the music video for “Hold It Down.” Esqueda handed the reins to friend and choreographer Eva Soriano, who used the University of Mexico as a stunning backdrop while various dancers vogue, pop and lock to the beat.

“I hardly come out in the music video at all, because I don’t want to be seen,” Esqueda says. “I want it to be more about the dancing.”

Esqueda began making music at age 18 but shelved his early projects until forming Stella Novae, an electronic/indie duo with Las Vegan Elliott Garfias, last year. The pair are still working on new songs, but Esqueda says he’s exploring his artistic depths most with Javesque.

For “Hold It Down,” he worked with another Las Vegas musician, the 25-year-old Ingalis. “Justin is another local LGBTQ singer, and we liked each other’s music,” Esqueda says. After connecting online, the two vocalists began to work on the track. “It just put itself together. It was really magical,” Esqueda says.

With music venues closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Esqueda has turned his attention to releasing an album this summer, working out plans for an exclusive CD and T-shirt bundle.

“CDs are so vintage and old-school,” he says. “It gives people a first look into what’s going to be coming out [online]. It’s not just about music. It’s the visuals and the presentation and what you stand for.”

JAVESQUE twitter.com/javesquee, youtu.be/N-b73feJLOk, spoti.fi/2ZeYFM7

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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