Photo Credit: Obidi Nzeribe
Giveon, born Giveon Dezmann Evans, started his career as an R&B cover artist in Long Beach, California. The mellow young man with his velvet deep voice uses his real name on stage, it was chosen by his mother with the hope and intention that he’ll be the kind of person that always gives and is kind (hence, “give on”). Giveon’s mother also played a big role in his love for music. When she cleaned the house, for instance, she would always listen to music – and her sons were able to learn different tunes every day. She pushed Giveon to explore his interest from a young age. Now, she listens to his music when she does her housework.
To pursue his interest in music and learn about the industry, Giveon got into a studying program at the Grammy Museum in Downtown LA. This is where he first heard about one of his biggest inspirations, Frank Sinatra. He was recommended to listen to “Fly Me To The Moon”, and once he heard it, it was then where he fully understood his own voice. This was Giveon’s first time hearing baritone singing, and he learned he could now embrace and love the way he sings. Up until that point he was not aware and educated about baritone vocals, and always thought he sounded weird and just not good.
Giveon’s first big break was featuring on Drake’s 2020 track “Chicago Freestyle” from Dark Lane Demo Tapes. During the same year, Giveon put out his debut EP Take Time, which got nominated for Best R&B Album at the 2021 Grammy Awards. This of course created anticipation for Giveon’s next release, When It’s All Said And Done. Two keywords that breakdown this second EP would definitely be mellow and musical. Simple, gentle piano and guitar with flying vocals – Giveon really gets to show off his range here, while speaking on a topic relatable for most.
The EP opens with the namesake track “When It’s All Said And Done.” Giveon said in an Apple Music interview about the track, “I kind of wanted it to start off a little less healthy. It’s short, but it doesn’t sound very healthy.” It’s unhealthy because Giveon is speaking about the emotions that follow when you break up with someone, but taking the toxic and self-destructive approach instead of truly dealing with your feelings. This breakup begins with denial, saying things like “I’ll be the best she’ll ever have anyway” even though that’s a lie. Those words are just meant to feed the ego, and he uses them as a defense mechanism to protect his heart from hurting. Continuing with that theme is “Still Your Best”, but because of the notes and intonations we hear more clearly how much pain he is feeling, even though his phrases seem confident: “This the one you talking ’bout that’s supposed to take my place down, is this for real? (Hmm) // It’s almost disrespectful // That’s a downgrade and you know it // Still your best, me, still your best, me.”
Giveon is the type of artist and music lover that always searches for and notices unique tones in other singers’ voices. One time he was serving a table and Sno Alegra’s song “Fool For You” played on the speakers. He instantly wanted to know what this song was – the voice was so unique to him and stood out. For When It’s All Said And Done, the two ended up recording a song together titled “Last Time.” We are taken through the next step of an unhealthy process – getting back together with the ex, and trying to hide it from your friends, knowing it’s wrong and plain bad for you. Phone calls of this nature where Giveon is trying to convince his friends he’s not back with her are featured throughout the EP, really helping us paint that picture of limbo and his inability to leave while knowing he shouldn’t stay. The final track, “Stuck on you”, came out as a single in 2020. Simple chords and drums let us focus on Giveon’s wide vocal range. He also finally admits this breakup isn’t healthy and might not even be right. He loves the person he was with, no matter how they treat him, and we’re back to square one.
When It’s All Said And Done is a refreshing EP in the sense of musicality. While it touches on a very human and relatable topic, we are left with a relaxed mind. Giveon’s tone is simply pleasant to listen to and is a breath of fresh air in the modern music spectrum. His work can be described as “not oversaturated” because all of the sounds are in their right places, and the listener isn’t distracted and has no need to mentally separate all the different sounds they hear. With all of Giveon’s talent, he is bound to continue to reach new heights within his music and the world should be paying close attention.