Gabriel Garzón-Montano sat on his first solo recordings, deeply dissatisfied, for months. A whirlwind phase followed his reluctant SoundCloud upload of those tracks. The material, titled Bishouné, was released as an EP by the Styles Upon Styles label. Lenny Kravitz and Mayer Hawthorne subsequently called upon Garzón-Montano to open for them on separate tours.
Odds are good that you’ve heard Gabriel Garzón-Montano before, whether or not you realize it: it’s a tantalizing, slow-drip sample of his vocals underpinning Drake’s “Jungle,” which appeared on the superstar’s 2015 mixtape If You're Reading This It's Too Late. Faced with a wave of interrogation after being pressed into Drake’s service, Montano has zigzagged between gratitude—“I think it’s remarkable that the guy who’s been singing everyone’s hooks for the last five years chose me to sing a hook for him”—and an approximation of “enough already:” “I don’t want to be the guy that got sampled on ‘Jungle. ’ I don’t want that to give me my value.
This debut by NYC-based Gabriel Garzón-Montano was a long time coming. By his own admission, the classically trained artist's sound is a product of his environment and French-Colombian background: Bach meets cumbia meets '70s soul/funk. And yes, his voice is the one sampled on Drake's "Jungle" track — his 2014 single "6 8" is the one chopped on 2015 album/mixtape If You're Reading This It's Too Late — but while he's recognized the opportunity and visibility he's been presented with, he's been mindful of not letting it define him.Jardín hits the ground running.