Brooklyn based singer/songwriter, Kevin Garrett, has released his new, eagerly anticipated single, “Refuse”, available now. Garrett graciously took time to answer questions about “Refuse,” his breakout ‘Mellow Drama’ EP, and the excitement surrounding this new release.
Garrett’s musical roots are on full display with his new single, which demonstrates a willingness to take chances and explore various musical landscapes. Garrett weaves together a myriad of sounds both soulful and haunting to create something new and exciting. The vocals are achingly thoughtful and include musings from his everyday life experiences. The new single, “Refuse,” details the experience of being defined before one is ready and the importance of true to yourself, which Nylon describes as “a soulful, piano-driven ballad that slowly unravels, like the layers around your heart.”
In this interview Garrett discusses his unique sound, the importance of staying unique, and the challenges that go along with the recording process. Other songs from the Mellow Drama EP include: “Coloring,” “Control,” “Never Knock,” and more.
Garrett is on tour and will be performing in Los Angeles on Nov. 14 at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, CA and Nov. 16 at Bardot also in Hollywood. Check out Kevin Garrett’s Soundcloud and Website for news, music, video, tour info/tickets, and to buy/download “Refuse,” and the Mellow Drama EP.
Francis Xavier: When and how did your particular sound develop?
Kevin Garrett: I’m not too sure. I think it’s constantly developing. I’m influenced by different things all of the time. I guess when I started to really write primarily on piano my vibe started to turn in a different direction.
FX: If you could go back to the early stages of recording Mello Drama and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
KG: I would tell myself to not be afraid to tell everybody involved what I want to get done at any given moment in the studio. I’m great on my own when I’m working but when others are involved it’s a different energy and I get distracted wondering how everybody is feeling.
FX: What inspired your new single “Refuse”?
KG: Refuse was kind of inspired by moments like that, having people trying to define me before I was even ready to define me. The song is about being yourself and not worrying about anybody’s opinion, staying unique.
FX: Do you think of yourself as a confessional artist? If so, do you feel that in being confessional you have to explain the process behind your work more?
KG: I think I’m a fan of being as honest as I can, and that usually means a whole lot of me is in every song. So I suppose I’m pretty confessional in my writing, but I love a good story too. I don’t like to explain what each song is about to too many people, I like to have people connect their own dots through the music. That’s my goal with every song as they come out, to have people relate in their own ways.
FX: How has your sound evolved since the recording of Mellow Drama?
KG: I’m constantly writing. I think sonically I’m starting to refine what I would call my “sound” all the while incorporating new influences. Whatever I put out is going to come out because I’m proud of it, so whichever direction I go I’m aiming to feel really good about it.
FX: Your music combines many different sounds and layers; does the initial thread of a song ever get lost or become something you didn’t expect at the beginning?
KG: I always write with just a piano or a guitar. In any situation I am by myself when I write, then I’ll start to build stuff out with other players. So with that in mind, I think there’s always room to explore that I never had in my head previously. That’s what makes production so exciting. Although I tend to have a pretty articulated idea for a song by the time I take it to the studio.
FX: What is the most challenging part of the recording process?
KG: So far I’ve tracked songs in a very short period of time. So doing everything I want in the studio before I have to leave is a challenge. The other part that’s the most challenging is trusting people to make musical decisions. That’s more of an ego thing. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the most musical thing or your favorite part in a song to make the song better. Not everybody gets that.
FX: Who are some bands/musicians/writers that have inspired/influenced your sound?
KG: I’m across the board on influences, but I’m usually always on some Sam Cooke, old gospel vibes. I like a whole bunch of new artists too. Bob Dylan has had a big lyrical influence on me, and some poets I’m very fond of as well. Joni Mitchell. I think James Fauntleroy is a wizard.
FX: Where can we find you online?
KG: Check out my music on Spotify and Apple and whatnot. My website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram