Photo Credit: Sasha Samsonova
Gallant has spent years of his career signed to a label, now he’s on his own and is still creating refreshing music. The indie singer opens up about the inspirations behind his newest EP Neptune.
Gallant has been focusing on rebuilding his artistry over the past few years. Now, on his own outside of the major-label system, he finally has the time and space to focus on creating music that he truly resonates with. Initially dubbed an alt-R&B standout following the release of “Weight In Gold” in 2015, and his debut album Ology a year later, he’s now older and wiser.
Neptune, his follow-up to Sweet Insomnia, his 2019 release is out today. The new EP has hints of his brand of hazy R&B but it also is marked by strong tracks like “Comeback,” “Scars,” and “Relapse.” Not to be lost here is Gallant’s soulful voice that garnered traction back during the exploratory SoundCloud era he was a part of.
When asked to describe his sound, the singer/songwriter notes it always comes back to evoking ambient feel. That intimacy isn’t just unique to Gallant, it also is heard in music created by acts he’s inspired by: Brandy and Babyface, two R&B legends. “[Brandy’s] done that over decades in a style that’s uniquely her own,” he shared. “Always been and always will be a big fan of everything Brandy’s created.”
As for what led to the creation of Neptune, Gallant shared that when he initially sat down to write the project he was aiming to lift the weight of any expectation or competition. He added, “I wanted to free myself from all of that and try to get back into the headspace I was in when I uploaded my first EP to Soundcloud.”
“Relapse” was the first song he created for the EP, it was released back in 2019. This was directly after his second major-label album was unveiled. It’s a captivating and emotional listen. The rest of the project came together before the pandemic hit and during quarantine.
“No More Tries” featuring the talented duo VanJess was the last song that he worked on back in October. “Dynamite,” the stunning duet between Gallant and Brandy was a dream come true for the singer. In a recent interview he expressed her manager got his hands on the demo, played it for her and that she apparently loved it. After this, her vocals were sent over to him. He also admitted she’s one of the industry’s “greatest vocalists of all time” and that it’s “crazy to have her” on his project.
“Lyrically I wanted to dive into that mood of aimlessness and trying to return to form,” he explains. “[There’s] no real sense of stability in the stories of any of the songs on the project either, everything is in flux, I either messed up and I’m trying to get back on my feet or I’m stuck in the past wondering what I did to make everything break down.”
Gallant’s latest project transcends genres, it doesn’t rest comfortably in R&B. Alt, pop and soul also flesh out the sound that the Los Angeles-based singer has perfected. The release is a thought-provoking, intentional project that comes across as a preliminary listen for a full-length album. That is exactly what he intended for the release to sound like, in his own words he shared, “I hope people take in the project as an EP, not as an album. I made everything flow and I feel like it’s a great step up from my first EP Zebra.”
Neptune is a return to form, it’s reflective of where Gallant is as an artist. He mentioned after Ology, he was experimenting and stretching himself sonically, but he’s doing the opposite of that now with each new release.
“It’s a short, solid EP. [I really] want to make sure my next album is the big one. I’m in album mode [now],” he adds.
Stream Neptune below.