10 things you need to know about gallant

Alt-R&B artisan makes us swoon with his super sweet sounds.

by Hattie Collins
|
07 April 2016, 11:34pm

We love Christopher Gallant. The fast-rising R&B performer boasts an utterly exquisite vocal, which he laces over seriously sensual soul and sharply observed lyricisms. The LA-based singer and songwriter has already clocked up millions of hits online, building an army of fans that include Seal and Sufjan Stevens. Today, Gallant releases his debut album, Ology, a stunning collection of tracks that roam from heart-wrenching plaintive paeans to genre-bending introspection. Featuring fellow R&B alternatives Jhené Aiko and Adrian Younge, as well as ZHU, Ology is an album you absolutely need in your life, now and forever.

We asked Gallant to tell us 10 things about himself - here they are…

1. Gallant might be amazing now, but he hasn't always been brilliant...
"I started writing and recording music when I was like 13 and my voice was pretty terrible, and the stuff I was making was objectively unlistenable. Really. I used to be so bad and make such horrible music in middle school. I would ask people what they thought and they would just be silent (laughs). I don't know if I ever consciously made a decision to 'keep doing it'-- writing songs was just the way that I was able to get everything out of my brain and let go of some of the weight that was holding me down."

2. He's worked with Adrian Younge and Jhene Aiko on his debut album, Ology...
"I was working with Stint and Adrian Younge - who's renowned for his incredible taste and culturally defining resume - and we were just messing around with ideas until we had something we thought was special. I was also doing a lot of work with Red Bull and they suggested Jhene come and vibe and of course I was like, 'Yeah that would be amazing' since I had been a fan of her work for some time. We met and vibed and it was all very organic and effortless."

3. He describes Ology as a curious album...
"While I was writing the album I realised my process was kind of similar to, like - putting a diagram of myself up on the wall and dissecting every emotion - almost in a textbook type of way. I was just mindlessly digging deeper and deeper and not really coming to any solid conclusions, but slowly learning more about myself as I kept rambling and rambling. Ology represents that constant pursuit of knowledge but without a focus, a lead, or a solution. A couple of years ago I released this EP called Zebra, which was basically just this huge journal about loneliness and regret - messing up good situations - it was very self-loathing in general. Ology I think is a lot less brooding and a lot more curious; I'm asking a lot of questions about myself and the world, pulling a lot more from a much broader range of influences, overall seeing a lot more optimism in what could seem like a hopeless situation."

4. Young Gallant wanted to be a voice actor...
"I love Bugs Bunny. To me, he's the most "alive" cartoon character. Alvin, from Alvin & The Chipmunks, might be a close second. Stupidly, as a kid, I used to want to be a voice actor because I couldn't believe that a voice was all it took to give that much soul to a pencil sketch. I thought going into a recording studio to give cartoons a voice was the coolest thing in the world. I'm still jealous every time I meet someone in that industry."

5. The NYU graduate who now lives in LA is originally from Maryland...
"It was great growing up in Maryland. All my friends would ride bikes to each other's houses, we'd go on nature hikes and stuff, play N64 - when it snowed we'd have this giant hill that we'd snow tube down into a frozen lake. Honestly, everything about Columbia was the best for me. I have no complaints."

6. Gallant's biggest influence is New Jack Swing and R&B master Babyface...
"I'm learning from everyone - and I feel lucky to be a part of a generation that has unlimited access to the greatest creators of all time. I think Babyface had the biggest influence on how I approach melody and my vocal delivery in general, I think Seal had a huge influence on lyrical quality and helped diversify my idea of what it means to be a black man writing poems and being honest."

7. Gallant admits that he can be petty. But can't we all tbh and tbf...
"Me and a friend didn't speak for weeks because I didn't want to go to some party or something. Me and my friends will argue over just stupid shit."

8. He's a news addict...
"I get way too into politics, I have CNN on pretty much 24/7 in an election year. I also have an obsession with Japanese language and culture - that's been going on for almost 15 years now."

9. He got Sufjan Stevens and Seal to record with him for his In The Room series...
"I was nervous as shit doing [the Seal video, premiered on i-D] because one of the last living legends was standing next to me singing my song, the whole thing was surreal. I really just wanted to find a way to say thank you and pay tribute to all the artists that helped shape me as a human being - and I'm extremely grateful that these icons agreed to help me honour them."

10. He makes music in order to…
"Get whatever I'm holding in out of my brain. To slowly learn more about myself and become a better human being."

@Gallant

Ology is out today. Stream here and buy here

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