By Bella Savignano | July 22, 2022
Watching Garth. on stage, you might assume he’s a born performer, flocking to the limelight like a moth to a flame. It’s a natural assumption–his performance is theatrical, unrestrained, and bubbling over with passion, and he sings with the polished finesse of someone who has been training their vocal prowess for a lifetime.
“I always loved to sing, but I was too shy to do it in public growing up,” Garth. shared with us. Wait, what? So you haven’t been prancing around the stage, belting vocal runs like it’s the most natural thing in the entire world for your entire life? (This was our internal monologue while he was talking to us).
“It just took me some time to feel confident and be in the right space. I was in college, and so often in college, you’re reinventing yourself. I was like, well, nobody knows whether I sing or not, so I should just sing. But my God, it was so stressful,” he elaborated. Though it took him 18 years to realize his vocal talent out loud and in public, he’s been playing instruments his whole life. A self-proclaimed band and orchestra nerd, Garth. played the French horn and flute growing up. Between that and the impassioned musicality of his church’s choir, he had an incredibly rich frame of reference for his own musical endeavors. Even after a childhood surrounded by music, Garth. didn’t ever envision it as a career option for himself.
“It was never my ambition to pursue music as a profession. I just didn’t even think that was realistic. When I grew up, I did a lot of video projects. I did a web series in high school and in college, and I was kind of behind the scenes, writing and editing. It was very hard for me to center myself and be ‘the thing,’ “ he shared. But if there’s anything that Garth. has become, it’s the thing.
His most recent album, Our Father, is a dazzling eight-track musical odyssey, combining pop, electronic, soul, and funk influences into a vivid album of front-to-back bangers. Garth. approached this album from a different point of view than his 2018 debut, Human Nature, writing and cutting it in collaboration with his live band from the jump rather than viewing it as a solo project that a live band would inevitably play on. The majority of the album was written over Zoom in the early months of the pandemic in what Garth. referred to as a “virtual writing camp,” a think tank where he and his band could cultivate ideas into full-fledged songs. In addition to a studio-recorded album, Garth. and his band released Our Father as both visual and live albums. Live, in Color was recorded at The Sultan Room in January 2022. It’s an ethereal technicolor dream, Garth.’s commanding vocals only heightened by the kaleidoscopic lights that illuminate him and his band.
“I love the stuff we do in the studio, but people need to know what this looks and sounds like when you’re there,” said Garth. of the performance.
We caught him at Rockwood Music Hall, where he was belting out melodic wizardry alongside his crew of phenomenally talented musicians. His band wearing all white, Garth. swaggered on stage in a slouchy striped suit, immediately commanding attention. There was no warm up, no crescendo– the set was electric from the start and stayed that way. Garth. and his band’s musical stamina is astounding, and they were clearly having the time of their lives on stage–and we had the time of our lives watching them!
We caught up with Garth. before the show where he answered a few questions for the groovement:
How did you first get started?
In college at Wesleyan. Started in other bands first and then in 2017 with people in other bands I’d met in NYC.
How would you describe your music – either by genre or general vibe
R&B adjacent, electric
Who/what do you draw inspiration from?
Prince (even though I did not grow up listening to him), Beyoncé, church, Jasmine Anderson (?), Solange, Gasper Sullivan (?)
What’s your dream venue to perform at?
The Garden, Barclays
What does the period stand for?
My legal name is Garth, named after my father. Growing up when I told people I met my name, they would often mention Garth Brooks. But I’m just Garth (period) Garth.
📸: shot by Gaby Garcia