“Just bear with me while I just enjoy this and soak in it,” GIVĒON admits with a laugh. Switching between the demeanors of a seasoned, nonchalant crooner and a giddy-grinned newbie, the fast-rising R&B star makes a point to show his humility during his long-awaited debut at Tiny Desk.
Accompanied by a minimal, masked-up band and only one background vocalist (a fellow Pisces at that), the baby-face baritone fills the set with resonance and light. He radiates gratitude with every note. Against a blue, moody backsplash of projected music video stills, GIVĒON notes the divine timing of this performance. “Any moment to do this would be special,” he says between songs, “but I think Black History Month … just celebrating Black culture for this month, I’m really excited to get to do this on this platform.”
Through the throes of the pandemic, GIVĒON has remained remarkably busy. In a span of eight months, the Long Beach, Calif. newcomer has released two solid EPs, the Grammy-nominated Take Time and When It’s All Said And Done. (The latter included one of our favorite songs of 2020, “Still Your Best.”) For his Tiny Desk (home) concert, he borrows from each project to arrange a tantalizing 14-minute sampler — showing off just enough to get you to do your Googles and discover more.
Much like the moment he’s trying to savor, GIVĒON’s strength as a singer-songwriter is his ability to make his listener feel suspended in time. As fans quickly discovered on his breakthrough “Chicago Freestyle” feature last year, the peaks and valleys of GIVĒON’s tone and the satisfying patterns of his runs don’t just serenade; They immerse, they engulf. GIVĒON’s star rising during a time of such sustained uncertainty is no accident, either. Between vulnerable storytelling and clear vocals, GIVĒON’s work provides so many with what they’re craving right now: intimacy and consistency.
“LIKE I WANT YOU”
“Stuck On You”
Deondre Ellis: keys
Ivan Chatman: bass
Andre Montgomery: drums
James Murray: guitar
RaVaughn Brown: vocals
CREDITS Video: Jan Lim, Mitchell Schultz, Will Houlihan
Producer: Zack Warren
Director: Eric Longden
Audio: Jeremy Gray, Reggie Jones, Al Richardson
TINY DESK TEAM
Producer: Bobby Carter
Video Producer: Maia Stern
Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
Art Director: CJ Riculan
Tiny Production Team: Bob Boilen, Kara Frame, Morgan Noelle Smith
Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey
Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann