He already has the backing of artists like Sam Smith and Katy Perry, so it’s no surprise Kevin Garrett signed his first publishing deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation at the ripe age of 23.
Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the young singer-songwriter found himself listening to artists like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Sam Cooke.
Flash forward a few years later, after relocating to New York City, signing a publishing deal, he has now successfully completed tours with X Ambassadors, Alessia Cara, and Skylar Grey.
Additionally, Garrett has played festivals like Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Montreal Jazz Festival and the Calvin Klein Desert House weekend at Coachella in 2016.
Songs like “Coloring” and “Control” (lead singles on Garrett’s debut EP Mellow Drama) brought Garrett on Spotify’s listener radar almost immediately, as many of his songs began to chart repeatedly on Spotify’s Viral 50 list.
With the recent release of his new EP False Hope (give it a listen below!), Garrett is currently touring across the U.S. hitting major cities and will be on the road until early March.
In an exclusive with Four Over Four, Kevin Garrett talks about his early years, what it was like working with Beyoncé, his trip to Europe, and more.
Word has it that you started playing the violin at the age of 4 and that you taught yourself how to play the guitar as well as write your own songs. At what point did this become a career path for you?
When I moved to New York and played my first couple shows, I saw that I could sort of hang with the regular singers in those circles, so I just kept playing and never really thought of anything career related too much. It was always about playing and writing and being happy about what I was doing.
Your emotion pours through your music, when you write a song, do you feel emotionally exhausted? How do you compartmentalize your feelings when you’re on stage and performing?
I sometimes have to set aside some sort of reserve to tap into when I need to channel the right emotion and that goes for performing and writing. I try to make every experience unique even if I’m writing about similar subject matter. So I like looking at everything from every angle to generate different stories and perspectives.
What was your favorite part of writing and producing Beyoncé’s “Pray You Catch Me”?
I wrote the song in my bedroom on a guitar and the lyrics came first in a more poetic sort of way. My favorite part was piecing together the words into the music once I had the song structured.
Going off of that, what was it like collaborating with KINGDM on “Baby”? It’s a very different style from what your songs typically sound like, but it’s definitely a good different! What is it like to switch genres like that, and will we see more upbeat, electronic sounds from you?
I’m open to collaborating across the board for the most part. KINGDM is a friend of mine and it was cool to work with him in any capacity. I hope I can put out some more rhythmic and high tempo music sooner than later.
This past year you went on tour in Europe, what was your favorite city?
I liked Madrid, one of the better crowds on the tour. Every concert was special though.
Lastly, what can we expect from you in 2017?
I’m trying to change things up and get some more new music out this year too.
Who is someone you think we should all be listening to right now?
I think Nick Hakim is a genius and has new stuff coming soon so brush up on the deep cuts.
If you could pick any song to cover, what would it be?
“Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” by Bob Dylan or “What Would I Do Without You” by Ray Charles.