“I’ve been trying to remind myself recently that today can be a good day,” gnash tells Apple Music. “It’s up to me to say, ‘Okay, I feel weird and I’m going to change that.’” That message of self-acceptance goes to the heart of what the Los Angeles singer/songwriter/producer is all about: vulnerability, resilience, and a happy-sad clash of emotions represented in the crying smiley face on his merch. Born Garrett Charles Nash in 1993, the L.A. native grew up on a diet of Fall Out Boy, Kanye West, and Jack Johnson. He started DJing at 13, playing hip-hop at high-school dances, then began producing cover versions of songs like O.T. Genasis’ “CoCo,” flipping boisterous rap choruses into a wistful emo croon. Out of that mix of influences—topped by Ben Gibbard’s Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service, his chief inspirations—came gnash’s unmistakable style. Fusing skeletal hip-hop beats with pensive piano melodies and a guileless tenor, his sound arrived fully formed on his 2015 debut EP, U, which he recorded in his parents’ garage in the aftermath of a painful breakup. Later that year, he turned his attention to finding himself on the Me EP, and in 2016 broke through in a major way with the Olivia O’Brien collaboration “i hate u, i love u,” a characteristically ambivalent ballad that anchored his us EP. Since then, across unplugged pop, minimalist R&B, and clean-lined pop-punk, his voice has kept getting smoother and his melodies sharper. But the sparkle in his eye hasn’t faded.
HOMETOWNLos Angeles, CA
BORNJune 16, 1993