From touring with Snoh Aalegra to his feature on Drake’s “Chicago Freestyle,” Long Beach California artist Giveon shares the journey to his release of his latest EP for Epic Records, “Take Time.”
His biggest song to date “ Like I Want You” has been streamed 2.3 million times on Spotify since the end of 2019. He collaborated with Sevn Thomas (who’s worked with Rihanna, Beyonce, Travis Scott, Jay-Z, and Lil Wayne), this track propelled Giveon’s career, even garnering praise from SZA. The video surpassed 1.7 million views and a #6 on the Top 20 New Artist Videos list in the US from VEVO. His next hit “Heartbreak Anniversary” garnered him praise of having a voice like Frank Sinatra with R&B flavour and a young fresh take on the Rat Pack style. DJ Booth described Giveon’s voice as “uniquely emotive” and compared him to Sampha, a frequent collaborator of Drake’s who some fans thought was the voice on”Chicago Freestyle” till Champagne Papi himself set the record straight.
Please share with us about your latest EP and the process of bringing it to life? What do you want people listening to it to know?
Creating “Take Time” was an emotional process for me. It’s a story being told. It’s a tale of a love story that went from sweet to sour and you can feel the love withering away lyrically and sonically as the project progresses. The main thing I want people to take away from it is relatability. I want people to feel what I went through.
Not too long ago you went on tour with the soulful Snoh Aalegra, tell us how that opportunity came to you?
Opening for Snoh was life changing for me. It was my very first tour. Snoh personally invited me to support for her. She believed in me from the beginning.
You’ve said Frank Ocean and Miguel are inspiring for you; Share with us how they have shaped your art?
Frank Ocean and Miguel are the main contributors to my art. I’ve learned so much growing up listening to them. What I take from Frank Ocean is how he approaches music from a film perspective. Every song connects and tell an overall story almost as if it’s a film score. What I take from Miguel is trying my best to be extremely talented. Raw vocals with no gimmicks – just singing.
Many first heard you when you were featured on Drake’s song “When to Say When” & “Chicago Freestyle” What would you say the biggest take away was from that?
The Drake feature was amazing for me. I don’t think it will ever sink in to me. Drake doesn’t get enough credit for his ear and ability spot out talent. Even though he’s the biggest artist in the world he’s still a music connoisseur.
What kind of dreams do you have for your art, for the world? Which artist or people would be your dream to collaborate with and why?
I’m a big fan of Art and Design. Virgil Abloh is my Idol in that regard. The way he transitions from fashion, jewellery, and interior design. That’s what I aspire to be. So as far as art Collaboration I would chose Virgil. My love for design comes after music however so on me free time I’m just just music.
You shared your mom pushed you to share our singing with others, how has she influenced your taste in music growing up?
My mom’s music taste was amazing. She loved black women in R&B. All of the greats, but on the other hand we’re from East side Long Beach so her playlist￼ consisted of Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, e40, etc.. The main thing I got from her was duality.
How do you define your singing style vs your songwriting style? What is your process like?
I’ve never personally defined my singing style but I see a lot of references to 60’s swing jazz singers due to my baritone voice. As far as my song writing style I would define it as introspective and clever. I love writing from perspectives I haven’t heard and I’m a big fan of word play. My process is pretty simple. Music, melodies, then lyrics. The most import part is the conversation before I start working. The convo before is where I decide what it is that I want to talk about.