Though Gallant was only seven when Brandy’s acclaimed R&B album Never Say Never came out, when it eventually caught up to it later on, Brandy’s sound gave him a push to pursue his own music, he said on the latest episode of Spotify’s Under Cover podcast. “If Brandy ever hears this, I hope she knows I tried my best.”
Gallant, a rising R&B singer originally from Maryland, covered “Put That On Everything,” a deep cut from the Brandy album, in honor of its 20th anniversary this year. The song was on Gallant’s heavy rotation in middle school. It hit him during a self-conscious period of time, and listening to it on long walks through suburbia, gave him hope. “I would get discouraged because of the uniqueness of how I sounded and what I wanted to say … and listening to Brandy … you can’t not be inspired,” he said. “It feels like a blanket – like warm bass and smoke.”
Today, Gallant returns to this song when he needs grounding and sustenance. “The consistency of what that song means to me is what I draw power from,” he says. And, put a little more artfully, “It’s like your bouncing down the street in this giant hamster wheel of sonic pleasure [laughs]. That just how it makes me feel.”
Recorded at Spotify Studios in New York City, Gallant went into the session intending to change as little as possible. Some of that, he knew, was going to change regardless (“I can’t do runs like she does”). And other aspects of the song, like the Nineties-style multi-syllabic flow (“She used to do this Babyface thing”) was fun to do for the first time in a professional setting. Because from the sound of it, this is a song Gallant’s bathroom mirror knows very well.