Escaping Inertia: The Soulful Visions Of Giveón
Giveón’s rich baritone voice builds and layers a new narrative of the modalities of love, pain, strength and loss in his debut EP ‘Take Time’. He gives us more than enough to hold onto as he whisks us through the torments of love and the pivotal part of taking time to be with oneself. Coming from touring with Snoh Aalegra to his feature on Drake’s ‘Chicago Freestyle’, Giveón brings a sophisticated grace in the way he approaches and emotively sings through this impactful project.
Born and raised in Long Beach, California Giveón began writing music from his mother’s encouragement. She played music around the house during his childhood and noticed his natural tone. He fell in love with music and began writing songs in high school. Inspired by a lineage of sound that touches upon Frank Ocean and Frank Sinatra, his unique voice and style and process is rooted in the authentic. His songs and stories all are a testament to his experiences or those of people closest to him. This framework presents the songs from an earnest place that steadily show truth as power and beauty. As he puts it: “My main thing is I want the songs to be relatable and believable.”
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On the cover, he sits recluse clad in a white tank, black leather pants and boots with a single necklace. A stylized simplicity that commands back to the bones of his EP, he curates his wardrobe in a parallel vein to the authenticity felt in his music.
Before we listen, graced with his music, there is an approachable and genuine aura exuded that allows the lyricism to land in a different formation. One that isn’t ostracised in rudimentary lies or facades, but rather the lending presence and words, like that of an old friend. The listener empathises, adorned with the humanity of Giveoón’s lyrics. The true gift of this body of work lies in the space he has created that allows the listener to feel visible in the mirrored truth his lyrics provide.
“I was recently in a really long relationship and a lot of the songs are inspired by this previous relationship. So at the moment I just want to take a break from all of it, I compare it to having a really big meal and if someone brings food to you right after that, the thought of eating is just disgusting...but eventually I’m gonna have the appetite for it, but right now I am full. I just need to digest.”
In ‘Take Time’, we are presented with a thoughtful presentation that not only reaches the vulnerable and tender in us all, but defines himself as a musician with a tonality and voice unique unto him. His passion and influences come from the personal and the pedestrian moments of life with friends and lovers alike. He talks about his music in a frame of reference to being able to share these feelings and cultivate a lens that can resonate with his listeners in a collective healing and reflection. “I feel strongest after something doesn’t work out. I find strength in being self-aware,” he reflects. “When things go wrong, I learn a lot about myself and I grow from that.”
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In ‘Like I Want You’, his profound range carries the interludes of love as he sings: “Sometimes I wish you knew, but I disguise the truth.” Although it is the most listened to and acclaimed track of the EP so far, ‘This Ain’t Love’ is a strong ensemble that really evokes the emotional capability of his vocal range. ‘Heartbreak Anniversary’ stands alone as a track that lays the foundation of the project for an emotionally expansive portrait of the painful parts of love.
He had been saving the last track, ‘Vanish’ since 2017, whereas the track ‘Favorite Mistakes’ was made three weeks prior to the release. This rapport with time and heart is a testament to literally following suit and taking time in his process. It is exuded forthright in the way the lyrics build and traverse the scope of not one space or one feeling.
He reminds us of the delicate nature of feeling and the residual tide of standing in truth, commenting: “When we’re ready to put out a body of work we listen through everything and see what else is cohesive. I don't even know if I could put a time-frame on my process, I think it is always happening.”
It is refreshing to witness not only such a captivating voice, but also a magnetic authenticity that inspires us to ruminate more in the process of things. True to form, his dedicated approach and patience to creating this project is paralleled in his message. “We called it ‘Take Time,’ because there’s no other thing that can mend a broken heart or a bad relationship except to take time, to just let it heal.”
When so much of our days and modern times are in full flux of movement, change, deadlines and a saturation of information, it is insightful to see an artist that is underlying the grace in slowing down. What can be found in that space of observation, taking out the momentum and breathing into perhaps a new found inertia? ‘Take Time’ is of course a collection of songs about love and heartbreak, but also a testament to a different way of moving and being.
In an era of accessibility, love is capitalised in ways of convenience with apps like Bumble, Hinger, and Tinder. We swipe and blindly search apps with empty eyes for something that requires an inward gaze. Giveón’s message and lyrical vulnerability mark a new tide of how we connect, how we love, how we are with ourselves, which is ultimately the most important relationship.
Take time to listen to Giveón's truth and fall into the magnetic truth between the lyrics, where there is space to rest in honesty.
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'Take Time' EP is out now.
Words: Rae Niwa
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