Fresh off a national tour with “Here” songstress Alessia Cara and a stint at SXSW, singer/songwriter/producer Kevin Garrett has had a whirlwind year without even releasing a proper debut album. The Brooklyn-by-way-of-Pittsburgh rep’s initial offering, 2015’s Mellow Drama EP anchored by the singles “Coloring” and “Control,” has garnered praise from the likes of Sam Smith and Katy Perry yet his mood music is enough proof that this 25-year-old has soul. Here’s what you need to know about the Roc Nation star on the rise.
His catalog can be a tearjerker
The Brooklyn rep’s melodic gems are vulnerably raw and can probably break your heart, regardless of your relationship status. He waxes poetic on the aforementioned “Control,” which could serve as a note to a lost lover or one’s own mind depending on the POV. He croons on the hook, “As hard as you can try this heart of mine won’t break/ Go ahead and knock me down/ There’s so much I can take/ I know that you wish me well/ But darling I can never tell/ It’s tricky when your love is just some cry for help.”
He plays with live musicians but has musical chops himself
Aside from painting vocals, Garrett also plays keyboard, guitar and learned violin at 4 years old, being reared on a musical diet of classical music and classic rock at a young age. For his live shows, Garrett (who studied music technology at New York University) shares the stage with other musicians, drummer Sean Mullins and synth player Jeremy McDonald, to help distribute the vibes, as Billboard witnessed first-hand at his March 30 show at SoHo House.
His pen game is Beyonce-approved
The Sam Cooke-influenced singer can humblebrag that he’s landed producer and songwriter credits for the opener on Beyonce’s recently released visual album Lemonade titled “Pray You Catch Me.”
— Kevin Garrett (@KevinOGarrett) April 24, 2016
He can’t be filed under one genre
Garrett manufactures an eclectic sound that blends pop with R&B and soul, no matter the backdrop. Whether delivering the soul-stirring loner gem “Refuse” or teaming with London/L.A.-based electro-soul duo KINGDM for the up-tempo “Baby,” his melodies linger in the membrane long after his final note.