Like his name suggests, chart-topping singer Giveon is all about the giving season. The “Heartbreak Anniversary” singer donated a state-of-the-art recording studio to his hometown of Long Beach, Calif., with a little help from Tres Generaciones Tequila.
“As far as recording or instrumentation, I really had no resources [growing up]. That’s why this studio is so important to me,” Giveon tells Billboard. “Now, the next batch of artists from Long Beach have a direct resource.”
The studio comes in partnership with local musical pillar World Famous VIP Records, a space that played a crucial role in the trajectory of hip-hop icons including Snoop Dogg, Warren G and Nate Dogg. The recording studio was unveiled earlier in November alongside community officials including Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia, who presented Giveon with a proclamation for his contributions to the community.
During its heyday, VIP Records owned 12 record stores in Southern California. The business is also one of two Black-owned establishments to be landmarked in the city’s history.
“I grew up in the east side of Long Beach and [VIP Records] goes all the way back to the ’90s, it became a landmark,” Giveon says. “I always wanted to give back in some way. Personally, I’m a product of the world of giving to inner city kids, and that was the first thing I wanted to do when I got the chance. I finally get to do that with VIP Records and Tres Generaciones. We opened a studio where local artists and kids could hone their craft.”
Giveon says he played a role in designing the studio itself, and made a list alongside his engineering team picking out what gear and programs would be available to the musicians who will record there.
When it comes to the importance of artists giving back to their communities, Giveon adds, “It’s just a rite of passage. If you have any sort of success in your field, you go back to help people who grew up the same way as you because there [are] so many disadvantages that they already have. You can’t just achieve success and and leave them behind.”
Along with the studio itself, 100 hours of studio time will be gifted to local artists, marking the first time in decades that musicians will create music in a recording studio at VIP Records.
Giveon himself is freshly off tour after selling out venues in minutes. The singer is now focused on relaxing and making music. “I don’t really have an offseason,” he says. “Whenever inspiration strikes, I’m in a studio.”