Gabriel Garzón-Montano is a US R&B singer and songwriter, born to French and Columbian parents whose broad base of musical influences have diversified his soulful style. He’s currently making big waves in the music industry, in December he recorded his first Gilles Peterson session on BBC6 Music, spent early 2015 touring stadiums with Lenny Kravitz after a personal invitation from Kravitz himself, opened for Meshell Ndegecello at the Blue Note Jazz Festival in Central Park, and the track “6 8” was sampled by hip-hop star Drake on his 2015 mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.” A saying which perfectly sums up Garzón-Montano’s rise. We spoke to Gabriel about sampling in popular music, the construction of his songs and his plans for 2015.
‘6 8’ from you EP ‘Bishouné: Alma del Huila’ was sampled by Drake on his last album; what is your opinion on sampling in hip hop and popular music, are you generally for or against the creative use of material?
I’m all for it as long as people get the credit they deserve.
Your stripped back performances on the Brownswood Basement videos really shows the details of those tracks and your nuanced keys playing, are they a pretty accurate depiction of how your first wrote and began recording those tracks, or did they come about in different ways?
The 707 is just for live stuff and sometimes I use it as a click in the studio. ‘Everything Is Everything’ was written on that keyboard using the same patch in typical singer songwriter fashion. ‘Me Alone’ started as a voice note of me singing a version of the groove. Then I programmed drums into Garageband and sung the Ooo’s in, looped it and started coming up with the vocal. When I went into the studio I replayed everything.
In your SPIN magazine interview, you discuss the very different musics your parents turned you onto, with your father introducing you to salsa and cumbia and your mother introducing you to classical and avant garde. Are there any particular pieces or albums that are crucial to you from those your parents introduced to you?
Fania All Stars Live at the Cheetah and Erik Satie’s Gymnopédie No. 1.
Is collaboration important for you as a musician? When it comes to your solo material do you seek guidance or consult your peers, or is it a more solitary endeavour?
I play the music for a handful of close people. Mostly a solitary endeavour. Henry Hirsch is my main collaborator as he makes the songs sound the way they do.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2015 aside from the live dates in the UK?
Finishing my record, Doing US tour in July, and a European tour in September. Also gonna do a song in Spanish when I get back from all this.