Gabriel Garzón-Montano is an artist that everyone should be watching because his 6 released tracks are that good.
Personally, an artist will catch my attention by either being really good musically, or being a really cool person. It’s more often than not a combination of the two and Gabriel Garzón-Montano definitely falls into that category. On the musical side there’s not much of a sample size, but what he has released has been haunting electronic-funk dynamite. He croons over beautifully layered melodies on all 6 tracks of Bishouné: Alma Del Huila, an album that came out of nowhere and has had no follow-up for the past year or so. The album displays a range of musical talents and styles from the singer-songwriter, from the funky and exciting “Everything is Everything” to the melancholy masterpiece “6 8.” This range evidently caught the eye of Drake’s producer Noah “40” Shebib as he sampled Garzón-Montano’s vocals in the song “Jungle” off of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Not everything is purely about the music – there’s not enough of it to make a totally compelling argument for or against him. Because of this, Garzón-Montano’s personality must shine through and his story must compel listeners. Garzón-Montano is a guy from Brooklyn, but not just any guy from Brooklyn. His mother was a singer in the Phillip Glass Ensemble and he has been playing music and instruments of all sorts from a very young age. Oh, and he’s really good friends with Zoe Kravitz. From that base, he built himself up to becoming an innovative songwriter and musician who is featured on a Drake song and has toured with Lenny Kravitz. He’s certainly an anomaly and also in many ways an enigma.
My personal experience with Gabriel Garzón-Montano has been incredible. At the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival this past summer, Garzón-Montano was buried deep in the lineup on a small stage at a time overlapping with more high-key headliners. Regardless, Garzón-Montano was my headliner. I sat at his stage for an hour before he began to play in order to secure standing room at the front of a concert that I was unsure about the size of. That decision paid off when, about 15 minutes before the start time, Gabriel himself stepped out from backstage to greet the 10 or so fans (me included) assembled at the stage. “I didn’t expect anyone to be here at all, so this is a great turnout!” he excitedly exclaimed as he hugged each of us and thanked us for being fans. Everyone had a collective freak-out and asked him a barrage of questions – about the Drake feature, about new music, about concerts. He calmly and humorously had answers to everything and was obviously quite happy that we knew so much about him and had even recognized him. Garzón-Montano won me over completely with that hug and genuine smile. His love for the music he was making and his love for the people that consume it shine through in what he does and how he does it.
Gabriel Garzón-Montano should be on everyone’s radar because he makes incredible music and is an incredible person. Artists like him in the grand scheme of things are rare and should be appreciated – people who care about music and what music can do for others and that make really cool, inventive, sonically pleasing songs.