Givēon has a distinction to make: he writes stories, not songs. “Stories are timeless,” the 26-year-old rocketing R&B hitmaker says from New York City—two days before accepting ‘Best Pop’ alongside Justin Bieber at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards for their Hot 100 No. 1 pop/R&B smash ‘Peaches’, also featuring Daniel Caesar, three days before rocking Valentino at the 2021 Met Gala, and four days before announcing his first-ever headline tour. Uncoincidentally, it is called the Timeless Tour.
Givēon (born Givēon Dezmann Evans) channels the intimate details of his life’s story into music because music is his conduit to vulnerability. He sings what he can’t say. Take Time, his debut EP via Epic Records, and its four-track offshoot When It’s All Said and Done, unravels the emotional nuances of a soured love and the painful aftermath. But nestled within the heart-wrenching verses and evocative R&B soundscapes, Giveon is revealing something else: he wants to tell the truth, but he is cautious of the cost.
In the chorus of ‘Stuck On You,’ Givēon worries in his signature baritone croon, “I can’t say ‘I love you’ no more/ ‘Cause my friends gon’ judge me for sure.” The opening line of “Like I Want You” is just as guarded: “Sometimes I wish you knew/ But I disguise the truth.” The third verse on Drake’s Certified Lover Boy banger ‘In The Bible’ finds Givēon wondering, “When you see the real me, will you still want me?”
“Now that I’m thinking about it, that is a recurring theme,” Givēon realises, laughing. “Like, I need to go confess somewhere.”
“When I was writing songs, I could get away with more because I knew that there were certain things people weren't saying that they wanted to say...If it could come out of someone else’s mouth, they’d be like, ‘That’s exactly how I was feeling. I just didn’t want to say the words.’”
“When I hear the word ‘truth,’ I hear a question. Like, ‘Are you sure?’” he adds. “A lot of times, ignorance is bliss. There’s been a lot of times when I got the truth where I was like, ‘I was actually better off not knowing.’ [Judgment] led to me not telling anyone about anything for a while. Not just in the sense of romance. I didn’t tell too many people I was making music because I didn’t want to hear the truth of the odds. What are the chances that a random kid from Long Beach, California, could be this thing?”
To read the rest of Givēon’s 22-page cover story interview, get a copy of tmrw #42: The TRUTH issue here now.