In an exclusive interview, Garren shares the inspiration behind his forthcoming album The New (Normal), his journey in the industry and what 2020 will look like for him.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, singer-songwriter Garren is most known for his singles exploring the effects of love and relationships. Hailing from a large musical family, his professional career began when he was just five years old. Years later at 11 he would become a part of another group that would prove to assist him becoming comfortable with being an artist.
As the years went on, Garren would at times fall to the societal pressures surrounding him in South Central L.A. and Compton. Music would always prove to be an escape for him. In a press release he shared, “I did have situations where I gave in to temptation, but I realized I would end up in the same situations that my friends, father, uncles and cousins were in.”
His first EP, a R&B heavy compilation titled Normal was rolled out back in 2018, prior to this release he dropped a few singles. Normal is marked by Garren’s memorable vocals masterfully mixed with catchy beats. 2018 would prove to be fruitful for the emerging singer as he would go on to earn his first Grammy nomination for his vocal contribution for Nipsey Hussle’s “Dedication” off of Victory Lap. He also contributed background vocals to Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers III album which was nominated for a Grammy Award this year.
At the moment, he’s gearing up to unveil The New (Normal), an 11-track album which will be a continuation of the storytelling from his last EP. His first single for the album out on February 21, “It’s Complicated” showcases his growth as an artist. It also channels the bedroom bangers that were popular in the ‘90s. When speaking on the song, he shared, “That moment when you have no idea which way the relationship is going to turn. ‘It’s Complicated’ is the emotional journey of an indecisive thought process about your significant other.”
Ahead of the release of his debut album The New (Normal), we caught up with blossoming talent. In our interview he divulged details on the importance of being real in his music, why he focuses on love in his artistry and more. We’re also premiering his new single “It’s Complicated,” you can listen to it below.
Can you break down what your journey as a singer-songwriter has been like?
It’s an up and down road. There is no guarantee in anything, so it was vital that I build solid relationships. It’s definitely similar to all the stories you hear from movies or other artists. You know, nobody listening, you going to a bunch of meetings, and hearing plenty [of] promises, but it never really adds up. You have to have courage and dedication to your craft and focus on getting better every day. Brick by brick, that’s how I’m here.
Love and relationships are common themes in your previously released music, why is that?
I like to speak to the rawest and most genuine emotion in my opinion… love. I’ve had many experiences with understanding a lot about women and myself. Knowing the roles that are played, and just reflecting on those times, whether they were recent or something I was able to process four years later. I speak on real things that matter.
Can you expand on the concept and sound behind your album, The New (Normal)?
The New (Normal) focuses more on the women and giving them value. Normal is the ability to be aware enough to love yourself. Me loving myself is knowing that women need more value, love, and care, so I’m speaking on it. A lot of people mask feelings but I just want to open and honest about how I think women should be treated.
What have been your favorite parts about working on The New (Normal)?
I think my favorite part has to be how long it took. I wasn’t really working on it since 2016, but I recorded more than half of those in 2016 and I feel the same way about them in 2020. My tone and delivery still feels new. It doesn’t sound like 2016. When I decided to release this body of work, that’s when the new knowledge was applied to mix and master [the] overall sound.
What can fans expect from you in 2020?
Greatness, more music, and consistency. Regardless, I’m going to do my part and deliver the great product. It’s going to be a good feeling when the world can experience it.
Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind @robyn_mowatt.