21-year-old Australian musician grentperez is unapologetically a Gen-Z artist with an old soul. Having first found his audience on YouTube strumming guitar, singing covers and original songs, he is an untrained, yet intuitive musician who has figured out bossa nova rhythms, jazzy chord progressions and classic songwriting which he fuses with modern R&B and bedroom pop in his own unique style. He’s an unlikely star—unassuming and unpretentious, like someone raised on pop
karaoke, Getz / Gilberto and Mac DeMarco’s 2—but it’s all those disparate factors that make grentperez such a captivating presence. grentperez’s initiation into the world of music was the definition of informal. He soaked up sounds not in strict lessons but at family karaoke parties (“Filipino people love karaoke,” he explains with a laugh, “There are some uncles out there with hidden-ass talent”) as well as the YouTube endeavors of his older brother and sister, who he credits as his biggest musical influences and cheerleaders. It’s this unorthodox swirl of influences that makes grentperez’s breezy, lithe pop songs feel full of life—who needs to practice their scales when your parents’ records collection and an assortment of impassioned karaoke performances of Dionne Warwick, The Carpenters, and the Bee Gees have created such a rich and unpredictable universe of sounds to build upon? This laid the foundation for grentperez’s rise from viral YouTube covers performer to a budding bedroom pop star. Here’s the story: At just 12 years old he posted his first video to his YouTube channel. Like any kid, he just wanted to get a reaction—and, over time, he got that, generating
over 100 million views and 600k subscribers on his channel. He grew more confident and started writing his own music. It started slow (he self-deprecatingly describes the first song he wrote as “ass”) but he felt it start to come together when he wrote a song for a competition in a church youth group. “I’m still a little salty that it came in second in the competition,” he jokes. After some more finetuning, his eventual 2021 debut single “Cherry Wine”—an undeniably lovely bossa nova torch song—became an international sensation, hitting the #1 slot on the Spotify Viral Chart in not just his home country of Australia but also Canada and Singapore. The trickle of music became a flood: 2022 brought a pair of releases (Conversations with the Moon EP and Trail Mix), a triple j Like A Version cover session of the School Of Rock track “Teacher’s Pet,” and a sweeping, swooning Christmas single entitled “When Christmas Comes Again”—a total heat check of a track coming from a young songwriter just realizing the breadth of his
powers. It’s got strings and jingle bells and there’s even a cheesy key change. Even better: it works. The young songwriter has blossomed into an artist, and he’s got the following to prove it: With over 300 million listens on streaming platforms, a multi-continental touring resume, and notable support from tastemakers including Triple J, NPR Music, MTV, KCRW, Clash, DIY, Wonderland, and The Line of Best Fit, grentperez is on the precipice of something big. Which brings us to
When We Were Younger, released in June 2023. Conceived as a means to get out of a songwriting rut (given the hectic release schedule he’s been keeping up, that bout of writer’s block must have lasted all of two weeks), When We Were Younger
is seven song collection centered around the concept of nostalgia. grentperez also wanted When We Were Younger to fuse the signifiers of a wide variety of vintage sounds: his beloved bossa nova, yes, but also sprightly Philadelphia soul, the swelling strings of golden-era Hollywood, even the soundtracks and general vibe of 90s romcoms. The bold approach hits once you press play on the EP, as opening track “When We Were Younger (Intro)” busts in with a psychedelic spaghetti western fanfare. Throughout When We Were Younger, grentperez displays a director’s knack for world-building. While the discrete elements are as disparate as one could imagine, on When We Were Younger, it all makes sense together—different musical gestures and lyrics stimulating long-dormant memories while simultaneously providing a soundtrack for new ones. It’s a promising new step for the young musician, who looks to grow by leaps and bounds as he progresses into his 20s.
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