Travis Garland: YouTube to center stage

Brett Kaselouskas

It’s only hours before Travis Garland takes the stage at New York City nightlife hotspot, SOBS for his live showcase. Wearing a black beanie, t-shirt, and a plaid flannel tied around faded jeans, he’s calm as he sound checks “Homewrecker” from his latest EP, “Fashionably Late Vol. II.” Even the bar staff cannot help being distracted from their work as Garland effortlessly makes every person listening wish he were singing only to them.

“What’s up for the evening, I’m dying to know, I picture you and me in a room all alone,” Garland sings.

Shortly after the mics are checked and guitars are tuned, Garland heads backstage.

[media-credit name=”Photo Courtesy of Travis Garland” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]
Travis Garland, 23, is an up and coming artist whose rise to fame began on YouTube.

At just 23 years old, Garland has already experienced success that most musicians only dream of. He was the lead singer of the boy band NLT, has toured with The Pussycat Dolls, released a solo single on a major record label, performed on “American Idol” and demoed a song for Justin Bieber.

Garland is currently known for adding his own twist to covers of today’s popular songs, the list includes Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven,” and Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together.” Each has more than one million views on YouTube.

Inspired by Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and Justin Timberlake, Garland creates a sound that he describes as “gumbo.”

“It’s a lot of different things,” he said. “It’s [an] R&B, pop, soul, sex, art, vibe.”

The singer/songwriter describes his music-making process as a collaboration between him and his production team, Stereotypes.

“We’ll collaborate on the track and I’ll take over melodies and lyrics,” he said.

As showtime approaches, Garland makes his way through the flashing cameras of the audience on his way to the stage. His five-song set list begins with his latest single, “Where to Land,” and ends with the soulful, bring-you-to-church type song, “Abby Lee” off his first EP, “Fashionably Late,” released late last year. Not to disappoint fans of his cover songs, he also sings “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” originally by R&B/Soul singer D’Angelo.

Fans crowd the stage as Garland performs, hoping to catch a moment of his attention. After the show, the crowd mobs the club’s exit door as he leaves hoping for a photo or autograph from the singer. Despite all the attention, Garland does not let it go to his head.

“Man, I see it as I have a lot left to accomplish. Don’t forget who you are, [and] where you came from. That’s really important to me,” he says.

Garland has his own advice for anyone pursuing a career in music.

“Don’t let anyone tell you no, because everyone will. Everyone told me no, I still get no’s all the time. I just finally decided that wasn’t gonna stop me,” said Garland.

“I don’t give a shit what anyone else has to say except me. No ‘no’ is bigger than my ‘yes.’”

Click here to visit Garland’s site and download his EPs, “Fashionably Late” and “Fashionably Late Vol. II.”