Sifting through countless beats, Sevn landed on a loop from co-producer Maneesh. “As soon as I ran my mouse over it, it was like, boom, this is exactly what we're looking for,” Thomas says. Laden with lyrical vulnerability and minimal, melancholy production — from the gentle vinyl quietly crackling in the background to the vivid imagery of deflated balloons and items left behind — both Giveon and Thomas knew the track was special from the moment the singer laid down his first vocal take.
“I wanted Giveon’s voice to be the main instrument,” adds Thomas. “That was such a powerful, compelling, captivating vocal performance, and it sounds vintage, like it came from a time before us.”
Thomas first discovered Giveon’s music in early 2019, six months prior to working on Take Time. The all-star producer — who has worked with Rihanna, Drake and Travis Scott, among others — was browsing through SoundCloud when he fell across Giveon on a random playlist.
“His voice stood out to me, so I had to find some way to get in contact,” Thomas recalls. Quickly, he welcomed the artist into his inner circle. “I was pretty much the first person who walked him into the door and introduced him to my entire network,” he says. “I wanted them to care about him in the same way [they care about me].”
Giveon’s fanbase has expanded, too. After “Heartbreak Anniversary” initially broke out in Asia, the song gained traction on TikTok, where it has since been used with a set of choreography in over 2 million videos. Now, thanks in part to a March deluxe edition, When It’s All Said and Done... Take Time, the track has reached No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot R&B Songs chart, No. 10 on Streaming Songs (and has drawn 172.2 million on-demand U.S. streams through April 15, according to MRC Data) and No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“I love that people caught on late, because it just goes to show the staying power of the record,” says Thomas. “Maybe 10 years from now, we’re going to look back and refer to this song as a classic.”
A version of this story originally appeared in the April 24, 2021, issue of Billboard.