Get to Know Giveon, a Haunting and Angelic Voice in R&B


Photo: Breyona Holt

A fear of the familiar. A penchant for the novel. A burning desire to transform the flashes of inspiration running through his mind into concrete, artistic expression. These cornerstones build the crux of Giveon's narrative, a narrative that is scored by emotionally-charged, idiosyncratic soul.

The Long Beach-born R&B singer and songwriter has only released four tracks to date, but the worlds found within them paint a portrait of an artist with limitless potential. There is a noticeable weight to his 2018 debut single "Garden Kisses," as a sauntering bassline and a flock of birds against the horizon steadily come into focus. The same can be said of his latest track, "HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY," a hypnotic and heartbreaking ballad. And while the production and world-building are certainly arresting, it is Giveon's rich timbre that will stop you dead in your tracks.

Giveon's baritone voice is mesmerizing. It imbues a supernatural quality to his already powerful songwriting, elevating the entire affair to the realm of timeless R&B and soul. More than just the vehicle for his sonic poetry, each inflection and held note rings out to the heavens and smoky jazz clubs of decades past.

However, what appears to be an innate gift was once thought of as ugly and awkward by a young Giveon. After all, no one sounds quite like he does, at least not anymore. There is a centuries-old vocal tradition present, one of lingering sentiment and lulling serenades. Giveon's voice is the sort they write love songs around.

So, perhaps it comes as no surprise that Giveon came to mind when Drake had the difficult decision of choosing who would open his latest surprise drop, the aptly-titled "Chicago Freestyle." Although, many did first mistake the angelic vocals that open the track for Sampha, who Drake previously featured on "The Motion."  

With a Drake co-sign and feature under his belt, chances are the tides are turning for this rising R&B artist. Giveon is no longer set to be a critical darling whose impressive knack for songwriting and haunting vocals earn murmurs of praise and adoration. He is poised to become an overnight sensation, one whose talent is wholly undeniable.