He feels what he plays and he plays what he feels. Jack Garratt’s method for expressing himself is unusual. He sings and plays the keyboard, but has a guitar hanging from his shoulder as he does so and, when he’s not playing it, he takes a drumstick in his right hand and triggers a pad, which introduces percussion into his songs. For him, this is how you shape the future of audio.
Garratt stands amid his instruments as though he’s never done anything else. The beat of his music is in tune with the rhythm of our times and shifts between pop, soul, R&B and electro. It is notable for its congenial modesty, but at the same time it is too raw to play over and over on the radio.
And exactly that is what makes it attractive. The British media is celebrating Garratt as the next Ed Sheeran and the 24-year-old landed in first place on the BBC’s Sound of 2016 poll. In the past, the annual list has featured the likes of Adele, Lady Gaga and 50 Cent before they became household names. For Garratt, the year 2016 could hardly have had a more promising beginning. But in order for Garratt to get to this point, where he would seem to have found himself and his voice, he had to start all over again from the beginning.
Garratt: A little bit hipster, a little bit farm boy
Today, when Garratt steps behind his instruments, you see a young man who is a little bit hipster and a little bit farm boy. In a live video for the song “Worry,” he is wearing a white T-shirt, with the sleeves rolled up, of course, and his curls are hidden beneath a colorful baseball cap. With his full, red beard, he would almost certainly have a successful career as a model for hip, big-city boutiques. Yet his appearance does not at all seem forced. It’s as though he feels more at home in the countryside than in the pulsating capital of London.