Londonl-based singer-songwriter and producer Gareth Donkin has released his new single “Tell Me Something,” an ethereal and timeless R&B-inspired number. “Tell Me Something” is the next musical chapter from his forthcoming debut album Welcome Home, out August 25 via drink sum wtr, a new label formed by A&R Nigil Mack in partnership with Secretly Group, as a part of the newly minted All Flowers Group. Fans can pre-order Welcome Home digitally and on vinyl via Bandcamp.
“I started making ‘Tell Me Something’ in mid-August 2020 off the back of one of my worst creative ruts to date,” reveals Donkin. “For the first time in what felt like ages, I had this chord progression going around in my head. So I quickly drew the chords out in MIDI form on my laptop, recorded a bass line and programmed some simple hip-hop drums behind the progression, bounced the demo and then sat on it for a little while. A month or so later, I sent that demo to my friend and collaborator Dilip, who was inspired by the idea and wanted to work on it with me. After a short while, he came back to me with a new version of the track, having completely reworked the drums and added various other musical ideas that were simply mind-blowing. It gave the song new life. Later down the line, I fleshed out the vocal ideas/melody, and then asked my friend Daniel Dessoy to record some acoustic guitar; the cherry on the top. This song is very special to me, and it feels surreal to be sharing it for the first time.”
Born with perfect pitch, Gareth Donkin was already fanatically obsessed with both jazz piano and drums before he turned 12. By the time he headed to the Leeds Conservatoire to pursue a degree in production, he was already writing and recording his own material at home. Donkin’s first single, “Catharsis,” has racked up more than 1,000,000 streams to date on Spotify, and a series of subsequent releases found similarly organic success.
Written and recorded in a series of bedroom studios in England and France, Donkin’s self-produced debut album Welcome Home showcases the 23-year-old’s stunning mix of instrumental virtuosity and emotional intuition, blending highly sophisticated melodic and harmonic craftsmanship with deeply moving lyrical explorations of longing, desire, and determination. The songs here draw on soul, funk, pop, yacht rock, hip-hop, jazz, and even bossa nova, hinting at times to everything from Michael Jackson and Bill Evans to George Benson and Jamiroquai. For more insight into Donkin’s inspirational palette, fans can check out his hand-curated “lifted” Spotify playlist, which features eclectic musical references such as The Isley Brothers, Bill Withers, Genesis, Erykah Badu, Pharoah Sanders, TOTO, and more.
Donkin’s performances on Welcome Home find him layering up instrument after instrument in the best one-man-band tradition of Prince or Stevie Wonder. The end result is a moving work that’s equal parts brain and brawn, a masterful coming-of-age self-portrait from a young artist discovering himself — and his sound — one song at a time.
Photo Courtesy: Guy Gooch