“The millennial Maxwell.” That’s how one fan described alt-R&B newcomer Gallant while waiting for the singer-songwriter’s poolside performance at the W Los Angeles – West Beverly Hills last evening (May 25). The occasion: the launch of the emerging artist series Next Up: New Artists New Music, a partnership between Billboard and the W Hotels.
With an arresting debut performance at Coachella to his credit, co-signs from Elton John and Seal as well as a standing ovation for his recent late-night bow on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Gallant further underscored what all the buzz is about. Alternating between his soaring falsetto and soothing tenor, the artist danced exuberantly back and forth across the stage as he treated the intimate gathering of 250 guests to an exhilarating 45-minute performance.
Drawing primarily from his Mind of a Genius/ Warner Bros. debut album Ology, Gallant opened the nine-song set with “Talking to Myself.” Four songs in, the audience was singing along to such tracks as “Bourbon,” “Talking in Your Sleep” and the project’s popular lead single “Weight in Gold.” Rounding out the set: “Jupiter,” “Bone + Tissue,” “Open Up,” “Episode” and “Percogesic.” Released April 6, Ology landed Gallant at No. 5 on Billboard’s Real-Time Emerging Artist chart with the aforementioned “Weight in Gold” and “Bourbon” plus another track from the album, “Skipping Stones” featuring Jhené Aiko.
Next Up: New Artists New Music will showcase a total of four artists that have reached the top 10 of the Emerging Artist chart (which monitors the most shared songs on Twitter in the U.S. by up-and-coming artists). Aside from Gallant, the three remaining artists — to be announced in the coming weeks — will perform at W Hotel locations in Seattle (June), Minneapolis (September) and South Beach, Miami (October).
The showcases will be open to W Hotel guests, members of the Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) rewards program and select fans chosen through a sweepstakes. Following each event, Billboard will present video of the live performance, artist interviews and other behind-the-scenes content that will live on Billboard.com and across W’s portfolio.