The Grammy-nominated newcomer is reinvigorating R&B, referencing Frank Sinatra as an inspiration and collaborating with superstars like Justin Bieber and Drake—though he’s “still waiting on that call from Adele.” This year, his debut album arrives.
GROWING UP, the Long Beach native was the middle child of seven. His mother ruled the roost. “She wanted me to be a giving person”—which is why he’s named Giveon, pronounced give-ee-on.
SHE ALSO RECOGNIZED his gifts early and encouraged him to sing at birthday parties. “All the other kids are jumping in the bounce house, eating candy; I’m in the bathroom doing vocal exercises.”
BEFORE BREAKING BIG, “I was a server at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. On slow days, I would have to put on the shrimp suit, stand in front of the restaurant…kids pulling my tail.” He also walked dogs—“My favorite was a husky named Snoop”—before a producer found him on SoundCloud.
HE RECORDED HIS first professional single on the eve of a big moment: The producer asked how old he was, “and I was like, ‘I’m 23,’ and then I looked at the clock and it was 12:01 a.m. I was like, ‘I’m actually 24.’ ” Having never drunk before, he took a celebratory shot of water and soon signed a record deal.
ONE YEAR LATER, he released his first EP (and had his first sip of rosé), was nominated for a Grammy, and collaborated with Bieber on “Peaches,” 2021’s song of the summer.