Singer-songwriter Kevin Garrett first gained notice last spring with his tear-stained single “Coloring.” It was followed by the equally excellent, hazy “Control,” and an EP soaked in love lost. But this year he scored his most high-profile writing credit on “Pray You Catch Me,” the opening song on Beyoncé’s internet-breaking, genre-defying sixth studio album, Lemonade.
Now, as he preps the release of his second EP and works on his debut full length the 25-year-old tells EW about shifting his focus away from heartache, touring with Oh Wonder and James Bay—and what it’s like to have Queen B as a fan.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Your new single, “Precious” just dropped. What inspired the song?
KEVIN GARRETT: I wrote it one night in December, actually. It’s [about] the general concept of not looking in the rearview mirror at something for too long. That’s the main vibe.
Last spring’s EP, Mellow Drama, was definitely a heartbreak collection. It seems like your focus has shifted a little bit now.
It’s been a year and a half since I started putting music out. When Mellow Drama came out it was like, “Oh, he’s sad and lonely.” But there are reason that I’m alone and I’ve been evaluating that — and that is what has dictated the concept of the new stuff. So it’s a more self-reflective point of view.
You’ve got upcoming tour dates with Oh Wonder, James Bay, and James Vincent McMorrow. What are you most looking forward to?
Oh Wonder is going to be awesome because I think their fanbase is in line with the sonic style that I’m in. I’ve recently connected with James Bay and he’s been a big source of support for me. And with Vincent McMorrow, he put me on the road first so I’m excited to come back to him and do some solo shows. Hopefully we’ll make a bunch of people cry. [Laughs]
You co-wrote “Pray You Catch Me,” the opening track to Lemonade, with Beyoncé. How did you two link up?
There was a moment around when I started partnering with Roc Nation that I heard she was a fan of some of my stuff. We were both tapping into a similar creative space, so it was really good timing.
What was it like to hear that Beyoncé is a fan of your music?
[Laughs] I’ve gotten really lucky with some stratospheric artists like that that have shown me some support over the past couple of years and I’ll tell you, it never gets old. But someone like her, who is literally at the peak of this industry, to take the time to even, like, breathe in my presence is an honor.
Where did the idea for the track come from?
Our inspiration was coming from very personal places. That inevitably finds its way.
What was it like watching the Lemonade premiere?
I was in Pittsburgh. I didn’t have HBO, so I called my friend and I was like, “I have to come over, I think something’s happening tonight.” We watched it at his apartment and when I first saw it, I didn’t freak out. I got really quiet and paid attention to every detail and it was, I mean, it was amazing. To see the film open with that song and to hear her sing that song—I didn’t even realize that my friend was still in the room watching. Nothing else existed for those couple of minutes.