Bursting onto the scene in 2016, Gallant has been pushing the limits in R&B. His debut album, Ology, not only received a nod from the Grammys but would be a huge start in a relentless industry. Finally finding his bearings after a rocky year with his label, Gallant is set to release his forthcoming EP Neptune later this year. Preparing for his transformative release, he chatted with EARMILK about his life as an independent artist, the creative journey, and intrinsic reflection.
Gallant has been fairly quiet since his sophomore 2019 album, Sweet Insomnia, but with new singles "Relapse" and "Come Back", he's ready to get back in the game. A reflective release, he explained how the creative process for Neptune has differed from Sweet Insomnia. "My last album played like the third version of something I had been trying to put out for a long time. I wrote a lot from a place of old feelings but now I want to write with something fresh and from an immediate place", he shares. From canceled tours due to the pandemic to breaking from his label, he's ready to bring a new sense of creativity into fruition. Finding peace in the storm, Neptune signifies a new start for the singer.
Becoming an independent artist can bring its own setback and frustrations, but Gallant is finding the silver lining. "It feels great, like graduating or going to prom. A label isn't always the right fit", he admits. "I never considered the entire artist's direction like touring. I only ever focused on the music. But now I feel free and without worry. Now I'm ready to focus on the art and the people who love my music."
The artistic journey is truly what defines the artist and now that his new EP is coming to a head, Gallant took a moment to reflect. "I put out my EP Zebra back in 2014 and I felt really naive about the whole thing. I really felt like the industry was in control and I'd have to conform. I heard a lot of negative things but I said 'fuck that' and focused on the people who liked my music. I feel this is like a rollercoaster, you take a couple of detours and come back to it. But your approach it differently than when you started".
"If people are a fan of my early work, they'll connect with this [EP] too." - Gallant
We all know that the title of the project holds just as much meaning as the music and for Neptune, it's all about heavy reflecting. "Looking back over things I had jotted down, I really focused on what was sticking out. It gave me the feeling of something distant and isolated, something somber and reflective." Going through a list of album titles he had written down back in 2013, Neptune would truly capture his new journey. "While the EP has some growth, this is really about reflection and accountability." Now moving into a new space, he seems to be moving through the pressure to recreate his critically-acclaimed debut Ology. Releasing a lot of the fear to top his debut on his second album, now Gallant just wants to enjoy the artistry of making good music. His new EP is set to feature some noteworthy artists, including VanJess and Brandy. Considering Brandy to be a true R&B gem, the singer couldn't contain his excitement. "To work with Brandy is crazy to me. I didn't want to work with anyone I couldn't connect with. I tried to focus on artists I knew could seamlessly be a part of my music. It made sense to have VanJess on there as well", he explains while also hinting at a feature from R&B crooner, Arin Ray.
While Gallant is evolving, he also hopes that his listeners can recognize and appreciate his evolution. "If people are a fan of my early work, they'll connect with this too. It's not watered down, nor did I compromise on this project. This EP is going to give all the energy of an album without actually being an album so I hope that they really get their money's worth," he gives a nod to his anticipated release. The crooner didn't dish the release date of Neptune but listeners can enjoy his latest singles in the meantime.