Kevin Garrett
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Kevin Garrett

Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Brooklyn, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Alternative R&B

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Nov
21
Kevin Garrett @ Beachland Ballroom & Tavern

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Nov
20
Kevin Garrett @ The Tonic Room

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Nov
19
Kevin Garrett @ Reverb Lounge

Omaha, Nebraska, United States

Omaha, Nebraska, United States

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Music

Press


"Kevin Garrett Announces CMJ Shows + Upcoming Dates With X Ambassadors"

Following the success of his Mellow Drama EP, Kevin Garrett announces a series of CMJ shows leading into his upcoming tour with X Ambassadors and shares a teaser of his upcoming single "Refuse" out 10/23. A full list of upcoming tour dates can be found below.

Known for poignant out-of-love songs that combine a reverence for classic soul with modern electronics and traditional instrumentation, the Brooklyn-based, Pittsburgh-born singer-songwriter released his debut Mellow Drama EP earlier this year to wide praise including The Fader, which premiered the collection saying, "Spanning five tracks, it fits in somewhere between James Blake and Sam Smith and plays like the sonic equivalent of leaning into an extant bruise-but he promises it's not meant to hurt, at least not too much."

Counting heavyweights such as Sam Smith and Katy Perry among his most ardent supporters, Garrett has shared the stage with with James Vincent McMorrow, Emily King, Norah Jones, and Maps & Atlases, performed at festivals such as Bonnarro, Electric Forest, and Montreal Jazz, and charted on Spotify?s Viral 50 list. And he's only just begun...

Kevin Garrett @ CMJ

Wed 10/14
8:00pm: ASCAP Showcase @ Webster Hall Studio (NYC)
10:00pm: HillyDilly Showcase @ Good Room (Brooklyn)

TH 10/15
9:00pm: UTA Showcase @ Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2 (NYC)

Upcoming Tour Dates
*supporting X Ambassadors
** Red Bull Sound Select

10/21: Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club* - SOLD OUT
10/22: New York, NY @ The Bowery Ballroom* - SOLD OUT
10/23: Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg* - SOLD OUT
10/24: Boston, Ma @ Royale* - SOLD OUT
10/25: Philadelphia, PA @ The Electric Factory*
10/27: Richmond, VA @ The National*
10/28: Saxapahaw, NC @ Haw River Ballroom*
10/30: Birmingham, AL @Saturn Birmingham*
11/1: Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music works*
11/3: Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall* - SOLD OUT
11/4: Minneapolis, MN @ Mill City Nights* - SOLD OUT
11/6: Des Moines, IA @ Wooly's*
11/7: Kansas City, MO @ Arvest Bank Theatre*
11/9: Dallas, TX @ Cambridge Room, House of Blues* - SOLD OUT
11/10: Dallas, TX @ Cambridge Room, House of Blues* - SOLD OUT
11/11: Austin, TX @Scoot Inn* - SOLD OUT
11/13: Tucson, AZ @ The Rock*
11/14: Hollywood, CA @ Fonda Theatre* - SOLD OUT
11/15: San Diego, CA @ The North Park Theater
11/16: Hollywood, CA @ Bardot**
11/18: Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge
11/19: Omaha, NE @ Reverb Lounge
11/20: Chicago, IL @ Tonic Room
11/21: Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern - Broadway World


"It's Personal Questions With Kevin Garrett"

Kevin Garrett is a Pittsburgh-born, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter who is one of the music industry’s fastest rising stars. After lurking on the periphery for years, he’s now firmly establishing himself as a powerful voice in global, pop arena. Just this year, he signed with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation publishing label and released his first EP, Mellow Drama, to critical acclaim. We caught up with Garrett just before he performed at NeueHouse Madison Square, and instead of talking music, we decided to get personal, asking some fun questions that reveal a bit more about the man behind the mic. - Neuejournal


"17 non-headliners you have to see at Bonnaroo"

It’s not every day Katy Perry and Sam Smith tout an upcoming musician—unless, of course, your name is Kevin Garrett. The Brooklyn-based (by way of Pittsburgh) singer-songwriter sings fresh air, sultry nights, and moves between love songs and out-of-love songs so smoothly your only surprise at the end of his set will be that more people aren’t stumping for him. - Entertainment Weekly


"Kevin Garrett Has Us Mesmerized with His Soul Stirring Sound"

NAME: Kevin Garrett

AGE: 24

BORN: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

BEFORE THE PHOTO: Growing up with parents who both played instruments, Kevin Garrett was surrounded by music from day one. He began playing the violin at age four, later teaching himself to play guitar and beginning to write his own songs. After high school, he left Pittsburgh to study music technology at NYU, opening up a world of music and creativity. He started the folk-leaning band Noble Hunter with friends from school, but continued to write songs on his own, that eventually led to his solo project. After signing with Roc Nation, he released his first single, "Control," last November—a hauntingly beautiful, stripped down track that showcases his emotive voice and soul stirring lyrical capabilities. He’s since toured with fellow crooner James Vincent McMorrow, made fans out of pop sensations Katy Perry and Sam Smith, and just released his debut EP, Mellow Drama to widespread acclaim.

"I didn’t have a title for the EP until just a few weeks before it came out," he tells me over the phone from Los Angeles. "We were driving to SXSW and I was in the backseat, someone else was taking the driving shift, and we were listening to something in the car and I just thought of ’Mellow Drama’ I liked that it was a word split, two conflicting ideas." It’s a fitting description for the five-track offering, a collection of honest, introspective songs exploring the intricacies of love and relationships, backed by subtle, moving melodies. Every note on the album makes you feel, and for Kevin, that’s what it’s all about. "I was playing Cards Against Humanity the other night, and I pulled the card that says, ’Genuine human connection,’" he says. "I ended up using it for something completely unrelated and funny, but it just made me think: That is the goal of music, it’s just to connect with people on some level."

It’s that openness and honesty—not to mention his sultry, gauzy, piano-driven sound—that has resonated with listeners. Just a week ago at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall, there was a line around the block of Kevin Garrett devotees clamoring to see him live, a special moment for the artist. "Rockwood was the first place outside of Pittsburgh that I ever played at, back in 2009" he remembers. "It was at 3 PM on a Sunday, and there were three people there: my RA from college, and two police officers who’d been parked outside and happened to stop in. It was really cool to see that come full circle." We have a feeling that is just one of many major milestones to come.

ON THE HORIZON: "I just released the EP a month ago, so April was a really fun, really exciting month. I’d been working on those songs for the past few years off and on, with the exception of ’Control’, which I wrote when, I was 17. So I was really excited to get it out there and have people hear it. For me, the biggest thing with my songwriting and performance is that once I release a song, it’s not for me anymore. I want people to take from it whatever it means to them. That’s why I just really want to keep playing and performing. And I’m always writing, the album is pretty much written, but I just need some time to reflect on everything and just evaluate. It’ll just be a matter of me kind of locking myself in my room to work on it and really get it all down. But right now I just want to keep playing."

WHO IS KEVIN GARRETT: "I started playing music when I was really young, on the violin. I had actually taken piano lessons before that and hated it, which is funny ’cause that’s my main gig right now. Whenever my dad would drive me to violin lessons we’d listen to either classic musical or classic rock. It was a lot of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Stones—all of my dad’s favorite bands—or like Tchaikovsky. And when I started listening to music on my own, I got really into what I call, ’The Golden Age of Country,’ really anything before 1970. I’m also really big jazz fan. But my all-time favorite singer, definitely the biggest influence on me, is Sam Cooke. He has such an effortless vocal ability, it’s like he could sing while he was sleeping. The way he sang, that always stuck with me. When I got into school it let me explore different instruments and got me back into keys because we had to take classes in it. Really whatever I could get my hands on, I just like creating. I was in a band with friends from school, we were called Noble Hunter, and I was writing some songs for myself, and it was evident that they just wasn’t right for the band. It just happened pretty organically."

WHAT MAKES YOU WORTH LISTENING TO: "For me, songwriting and playing—and this project in particular—it’s as much of me as I can give, and nobody else can do that. Especially lyrically, that’s what I feel like is different about my music in it’s own right. There is all of me going into this project. When I was first putting this music out I had a phrase, I think I wrote on my Facebook page where they ask you your genre, and I put ’Odd Soul.’ It was sort of as a reference to one of my favorite songs but also just summing up all of the different musical influences, my own personal experiences, and just who I am. That’s what makes everybody different from everyone else. It’s just me talking to you, and me singing to you."

SCENE AND HEARD: "This is from when I got to the top of the Hollywood Sign Mountain and immediately realized I still had to get back down to the bottom of the Hollywood Sign mountain."

Fall in love with Kevin’s soulful sound on "Coloring" and see him perform tonight at Soho House in Los Angeles. - Teen Vogue


"Album Review: "Mellow Drama" by Kevin Garrett"

Kevin Garrett’s Mellow Drama is an artfully crafted anthology on loneliness and withering love. The Pittsburgh-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter serves up doleful vocals and lovelorn lyrics à la Sam Smith in this five-song debut EP.

Steeped in anguish and regret, Garrett’s vocals stand out against the simple and sparse keyboard accompaniment on “Coloring.” His angelic voice flies through the track, as vulnerable as delicate as glass, seemingly to mirror his own sense of fragility as he tries to mend a threadbare romance. “Stay for the night,” he pleads over and over. “Tell you why nothing’s right if you’re gone.” Neither the words nor the sentiment are very original, but Garrett’s complete self-exposure and aching vocals in this highly emotional outcry adds something new to the mix.

Another standout piece on the EP is “Control.” Kevin Garrett plays up the symbolism as the song opens with distorted vocals, as if caught in that hazy confusion. A clear voice manages to break through the chaos after the first few verses, but still he lingers and tortures himself by staying. “Say you don’t believe in me,” he pleads. “Just so I can finally leave. Cause you’re the only thing that’s keeping me around.”

Garrett’s words are strong although somewhat scattered. He experiments with word choice and tries to add new perspective to tired expressions: “My hands are tied around you each night,” he sings on “Never Knock.” Still young in his career and love life, Garrett’s lyrics betray the innocence and overwhelming uncertainty of youth and young love: “If you’d take the time to let me stumble through how I feel about you,” he sings on “Never Knock.”

Adding a fresh voice and new perspective to the well-worn heartbreak genre, Garrett is a poignant poet and a superb vocalist. Check him out when he comes to New York in October for two shows with X Ambassadors: October 22nd at the Bowery Ballroom and October 23 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. - Pancakes & Whiskey


"Listen To Kevin Garrett's Mellow Drama EP"

Pittsburgh-born, Brooklyn-based, and Roc Nation-signed singer/songwriter Kevin Garrett has delivered an aching new EP called Mellow Drama. Spanning five tracks, it fits in somewhere between James Blake and Sam Smith and plays like the sonic equivalent of leaning into an extant bruise—but he promises it's not meant to hurt, at least not too much. "Mellow Drama was inspired by a whole set of experiences—it touches on moments of vulnerability and self reflection. This EP is my attempt at letting you in for a second. I'm not trying to break your heart yet, but I want you to know that I can." Listen below, and if you like what you hear head to iTunes to buy it. - The Fader


"Musician Kevin Garrett's Debut EP Released Today, Get to Know the Singer!"

Musician Kevin Garrett‘s debut EP is being released today – and this guy is someone who should definitely be on your radar!

The 23-year-old Pittsburgh born musician who now lives in Brooklyn, New York is managed and published by Jay Z’s Roc Nation label. His fan base includes Katy Perry, who recently tweeted out a link to his Soundcloud!

Be sure to follow Kevin on all of his social media including Twitter and Instagram. Kevin also has tons of tour dates coming up, which you can check out on his website.

Listen to Kevin‘s debut EP below, from The Fader! - Just Jared


"Kevin Garrett Brings The Feels In His ‘Mellow Drama’ EP"

Roc Nation singer/songwriter, Kevin Garrett, is a problem… in the best way possible. The 23-year-old Pittsburgh native bares his soul on his latest EP Mellow Drama, a five-track offering sure to have you in your feelings by first note.

The EP begins with his debut single “Coloring,” which paints a sad portrait of a relationship at its demise. It sets the overall mood of the project as he tries to make sense of his emotions in love and love lost on wax. With feather-light vocals (reminiscent of Sam Smith) and a pensive pen game, Garrett assures all is not as sad as it seems.

“Mellow Drama was inspired by a whole set of experiences—it touches on moments of vulnerability and self reflection,” he told Fader. “This EP is my attempt at letting you in for a second. I’m not trying to break your heart yet, but I want you to know that I can.”

Unbreak your heart to the sounds of Kevin Garrett below. - VIBE


"Kevin Garrett is an emerging artist that you need to hear"

Upon initially hearing Kevin Garrett’s first single “Coloring,” which debuted on Pigeons and Planes late last year, one might experience his lyrics as familiar and distant all at the same time - his words hinting at a story without fully divulging the details. Songs as striking as “Coloring” come from somewhere; a place that is intimate and real. Using your imagination as you listen, it is easy to generate a visual interpretation of the song that follows a story line of love lost. AXS had the opportunity to learn a bit more about this story's protagonist in an email interview earlier this month.

Despite being in the midst of a North American tour with James Vincent McMarrow, Garrett took the time to talk to us in a series of email communications where he was humble, genuine, and effortlessly polite. He graciously indulged AXS' questions about his musical background and tastes, and his charming natural colloquialisms were preserved to show the genuineness of his responses.

Knowing that his personality is just as delightful as his music makes it even more of a treat to see him getting the recognition he has so duly earned. Billboard premiered his second single "Control" last week, and Pigeons and Planes again took note of “Coloring” when it premiered the official music video earlier this week. Again out on tour, which includes a showcase at SXSW, Garrett is thriving – and there is no other artist out there right now who deserves it more.

AXS: Who are some of your musical influences?

Garrett: I'm kind of all over the place. I've been a Sam Cooke fan for as long as I can remember. All of that old school soul and folk music has been in my ears for a while. Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson (old Willie Nelson is so money). I really like Oscar Peterson. But I also grew up in the 90's and early 2000's so I'll listen to the hits any day of the week. I think there are some other contemporary influences people will pick out, which is cool.

AXS: Do you have a formal music education? What is your musical background?

Garrett: Ya, I actually started on the violin and was raised on Classical music and Classic Rock. Eventually I moved over to guitar and keys as more of a hobby. It was easier to write on those instruments for me.

AXS: What does your song writing process entail? Could you walk me through writing a song?

Garrett: I like to write alone. Other than that, there's not much of a process. Usually I write the music first, with melodies and whatnot sort of floating around. Then I hit lyrics. But sometimes it happens in reverse or all at once. I don't even know.

AXS: You’ve worked with some incredible artists – how did these opportunities come about for you?

Garrett: Kind of a right place right time sort of thing. Emily King is one of my most favorite artists in the whole world and we sort of just happened upon each other at a show in the LES. I've known JVM [James Vincent McMarrow] for a couple of years, he's one of the bros .. an amazing guy. We're doing some more dates later this month in Canada and one in San Francisco.

AXS: "Coloring" is almost haunting, and extremely beautiful in a vulnerable, yet minimal way. It also highlights your vocals wonderfully. What was your inspiration for the song and what did you want people to feel when they listen to it?

Garrett: Thank you, first of all. My inspiration is always going to be different than what any given person is going to feel after listening to my songs. I was going through some stuff when I wrote "Coloring" and was at the point where it was time to offer an ultimatum sort of conversation. Either way, I'm a big fan of keeping things open to the listener because I'm more interested in what they get out of it then whatever I got out of it. Once I put music out, the songs aren't for me anymore, so I like to know how others react.

AXS: "Coloring" is a lot different than the folk-rock music you were making with Noble Hunter (Garrett's former band). What inspired this new direction?

Garrett: I think I was just listening to different music and writing much more personal stuff, and I've played in Noble Hunter long enough to know when a song is meant for the band or something else. There's another Noble Hunter record in the works that's all mostly storytelling and such. With my solo music I'm only trying to break your heart. Or break mine all over again who knows.

AXS: What comes next? What are you working on?

Garrett: "Control" came out today (February 10, 2015). That's the next single, and I have an EP coming out in March (hopefully). There may be a few other things coming out along the way..

AXS: What was the best experience you had while on tour last fall?

Garrett: I think reconnecting with James and Emma [Emma J. Doyle, artist and photographer touring with McMarrow] that week was the best experience, along with meeting all of the fans who (fingers crossed) will be my fans now too. It was amazing how quiet everybody was during my set, being the opener and all. Just a ton of people every night paying super close attention to you. I put so much energy into my music, so I love when people want to listen, but I'm used to playing the clubs where people walk in to drink and meet the one for the weekend and to not listen to music. I had a really nice time playing those rooms to those wonderful fans.

AXS: What was the best thing that you learned while on tour?

Garrett: You can never have too many socks.

AXS: If you weren’t making music, what do you think you would be doing?

Garrett: I'm not sure. I wanted to be a doctor for a week in high school, but then I went home and picked up my guitar again and said to myself "nah let's do music." I went to school for music technology, so I think I'd be involved in sound or audio engineering in some capacity regardless of whether or not I was playing and making music.

AXS: Lastly, what music are you listening to and enjoying the most right now?

Garrett: This question is equal parts fun and impossible to answer. Blake Mills is one of the most impressive writers and musicians .. ever I suppose. Emily King is unreal (don't get me started). Nick Hakim is a wizard. Someone showed me Jack Garratt because of the name similarity and that dude is wild. I want to go on some kind of long lost sibling tour with him. And James is the man. "When I Leave" is so good. His next project is going to be amazing.

Listen to Garrett on Spotify and Soundcloud and go to one of his upcoming shows this February through April. - AXS


"Who The Hell Is… Kevin Garrett?"

Kevin Garrett has remained on music’s periphery over the past several years, but that’s about to change with the upcoming release of his debut EP. Find out more about the singer-songwriter, signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation publishing label, and why Katy Perry is a fan of his music.

WHO is Kevin Garrett?
Singer-songwriter Kevin Garrett hails from Pittsburgh, but he’s Brooklyn-based. At just 23 years old, Garrett is on the publishing roster of Jay Z’s Roc Nation label. He’s already been tied to such acts as James Vincent McMorrow, Emily King, Norah Jones, and Maps & Atlases. Katy Perry, who recently tweeted out a link to his SoundCloud, is among his fandom.

Hear love-song-made-new “Control,” which exclusively premiered on Billboard in February, as well as Garrett’s cover of Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me.”

WHAT is his album?
Garrett doesn’t have an album out yet, but he’ll be dropping his EP called Mellow Drama tomorrow, April 7. His track “Control” will also be the featured iTunes Single of the Week later this month. For now, check out Garrett’s SoundCloud links.

WHERE have you seen him before?
You may have seen him on tour in February or March, or perhaps you’re going to see him later this month in one of his upcoming shows in Montana or Illinois. Garrett also played SXSW this year.

WHEN can you see him live?
Garrett is wrapping up a 2015 tour that spanned the months of February, March, and April. Catch him in one of his final shows at the end of the month, and stay tuned for more announcements via his website.

WHY should you care?
Kevin Garrett’s music is the cure for what ails you. He has an innate ability to breathe fresh air into the kind of music you love, be it through his original songs or song covers. Tune in to Garrett’s emotive lyrics and let his atmospheric sound wash over you. The music speaks for itself. - VH1


"Kevin Garrett, 'Control': Exclusive Song Premiere"

Love songs -- and their partner-in-crime, out-of-love songs -- are an imposing pillar of popular music. It's natural for a young artist to write tracks in this tradition, but how do you put a fresh spin on a historical practice that reaches back centuries? Kevin Garrett's trick is to play with perspective.

"I wanted to blur the lines of singing to someone or singing to yourself," he tells Billboard. This adds a pleasing layer of ambiguity to "Control." "Control" follows his raw first single, "Coloring."

Garrett works with throbs and clicks: hollow-toned bass, a beat programmed with a light crackle, a flicker of guitar. Piano and voice do the heavy lifting. His keyboard playing is natural and spare -- it doesn't stick out until the first chorus, but then it's economical and poignant, leaving plenty of empty space, never crowding the beat, chiming in at key moments. Garret co-produced the track with Jeremy McDonald.

The singing expertly plays both sides of Garrett's relationship: the lead vocal lays out one side of the story, while the pleading, mostly-wordless backup swirls gently in opposition. "Our pieces lingering in my head," he sings, "Like rotten leaves you're choking me with the stench." Later, he begs his lover (or his own brain) to let him go: "Say you don't believe in me/ Just so I can finally leave."

You can buy "Control" here, and catch Garrett on tour in support of James Vincent McMorrow later this month. Check out the tour dates below:

Feb 23, Knox United Church - Calgary, AB
Feb 24, Winspear Centre - Edmonton, AB
Feb 26, Vogue Theatre - Vancouver, BC
Feb 27, Alix Goolden Hall - Victoria, BC
Mar 1, Noise Pop Festival, Swedish American Hall - San Francisco - Billboard


"PREMIERE: KEVIN GARRETT – “COLORING”"

Sometimes, it’s best to walk into a musical experience blind, contextless and able to experience the sounds and lyrics without the fat of expectation.

23-year-old Pittsburgh-born singer/songwriter Kevin Garrett wants you to feel his music and find your own meaning in it.

“I don’t like articulating what the song means to me because I’d rather learn what others get from it.”

If you don’t like spoilers, scroll down and listen now. As much as Kevin might protest about his ability to express the meaning behind his songs, his elucidation of gorgeous, pained debut single “Coloring” gives the song a certain weight that makes its exploration of a slowly disintegrating relationship all the more poignant.

“When I wrote [‘Coloring’] I was in the middle of something (duh) and it was good, but I could see it all about to fall apart (cool). So I wanted to touch on how it’s difficult to let your guard down (don’t want the world to know blah blah blah).”

“But then my attitude shifted and I let my dumb heart grow up for once, and the writing took on this sort of sarcastic desperation…The line that gave the track its title is ‘there’s no coloring around us anymore, you either know or you don’t.'”

The result of Garrett’s reflection is an impressive, beautiful first step from an already mature voice—one able to access and translate the pain of romantic transitions to a succinct, poignant essence.

“It all generally refers to that point in a relationship when you have to make a decision and you need to sack up and do it even though you know it’s over. Also, now that I think about it, my willingness to infuse some jokes into this description is a microcosm of most of what I’ve been working on. It’s probably just me being scared of getting too real with people, because at the end of the day this song is still kind of sad and I still don’t like giving in.” - Pigeons & Planes


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Kevin Garrett is a singer and songwriter from Pittsburgh, PA who currently spends a lot of time in Brooklyn, NY. His debut EP Mellow Drama was released to critical acclaim in 2015. He's toured with James Vincent McMorrow, X Ambassadors, and Hey Rosetta!, and he's earned quite the following around the world with his music and his live show. 

Band Members