Gallant to grace Gardner

Halley Freger

fregerha17@grinnell.edu

Photo by Matt Kartanata

Photo by Matt Kartanata

There is an air of mystery surrounding Los Angeles-based R&B artist Gallant, who will perform in Gardner Lounge tonight, Sept. 18 at 9 p.m. Opening for Gallant will be another R&B artist, Sunni Colón. Despite a minimal and carefully curated media presence, Gallant’s notoriety is swiftly increasing and this soulful R&B artist who appeared, seemingly out of the blue, isn’t going to be a mystery for much longer.

Over the summer, Gallant released three evocative singles. The haunting “Talking in Your Sleep” is equal parts hard-hitting beat, ambient moans and ridiculously catchy chorus. The heartbreaking “Open Up” includes a solid 30-seconds of full-on Mariah Carey-style vocal trills that go up and down Gallant’s impressive falsetto range, ultimately building to a powerful belt.

Gallant’s mesmerizing falsetto rings over twinkling synths on his most recent single “Weight in Gold.” The track increased Gallants visibility when it premiered this summer on the first day of Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio show, hosted by radio DJ extraordinaire Zane Lowe. Now his SoundCloud boasts a massive 32,000 followers, and that number rises daily.

Gallant seamlessly blends his brand of contemporary R&B with the catchiness of pop and the sounds of classic soul. I wouldn’t dare label his music “alt-R&B,” a pigeon hole that has grown popular within the 2010s and disregards R&B as being a diverse, innovative genre. The history of R&B has been anything but static – it’s a genre full of experimental and hard-to-classify artists. Gallant is one of those artists whose soulful voice and lyrics juxtapose against experimental beats that ultimately swell into choruses you want to scream along to.

Gallant has diverse tastes and influences ranging from 90s R&B to alt-rock. His cover of the alt-rock jam “Learn to Fly” by the Foo Fighters choruses the song as a dreamy ballad set to the sounds of birds chirping—it’s pure genius. His lengthy Spotify playlist, “Every Song I’ve Ever Liked Ever,” includes artists like Weezer, Reba McEntire, Prince, Nick Lowe and Ciara. Although seemingly unrelated, all of these artists have created inarguably captivating hits.

Gallant is currently working on producing more work that better captures his emotional and high-energy live sound. Luckily, we get to experience this live sound for ourselves this Friday in Gardner.

Opening for Gallant is Los Angeles and Tokyo-based singer, producer and rapper Sunni Colón, who was recently signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation and featured on the soundtrack for the film “Dear White People.” He will begin the night with what is sure to be an intimate set of his signature R&B. If you’re a fan of Frank Ocean, you’ll love Sunni Colón’s smooth voice and minimalist production.