How Alt-R&B Singer Gallant Is Capturing the Attention of Dance Music's A-List

Hayden Belluomini
Gallant photographed in 2015.

Rising alt-R&B star Gallant talks to Billboard about why he wants his live show to feel like an "emotional apex" and his recording plans. 

Name: Gallant

From: Columbia, Md.

Age: 23

Gallant, 'Zebra': Exclusive EP Premiere

Backstory: The rising alt-R&B singer-songwriter (full name: Christopher Gallant) began recording songs in middle school to parse his teen emotions. "It started to be a cathartic thing," he says, "the same way that you would write something in your diary."

Big Break: After graduating from New York University, he moved to Los Angeles and was discovered by manager Jake Udell, the man behind EDM breakouts Krewella and Zhu. Udell says he was driven to tears by Gallant's soaring falsetto, sleek hooks and deep songwriting, which draw upon diverse influences from Babyface to Incubus.

Live Wire: "My live show is almost like a meditation," says Gallant, whose high-energy, sold-out showcase at Los Angeles' Bardot on June 1 drew big names like Skrillex and producer Emile Haynie. "An emotional apex -- that's what I want it to feel like."

Up Next: After releasing dreamy singles such as "Open Up" and a fluttering cover of Foo Fighters' "Learn to Fly" through tastemaking indie label Mind of a Genius, Gallant is busy creating a longer body of work that can better capture his onstage ferocity. "I want to get as close to that as possible," he says. "I'll be recording in a box, screaming at the top of my lungs."

This story originally appeared in the July 4 issue of Billboard.