Garrett Kato is known for his distinctive singer-songwriter vocals and his soothing melodies, so it comes as no surprise to listeners that is latest project fully embodies the indie-folk style. Nighthawks is a six-track EP containing deep, meaningful tracks about love and loss. Kato not only sings on this project, but he also wrote and produce each track, showcasing his multi-level talent. The EP plays like a musical diary, sharing his personal experiences with the listener and giving them something to cling to when they are experiencing similar moments in their own lives, whether it be love, heartache, anxiety, or depression. With each individual track, he has created a timeless record that fans will be listening to for years.
Never Alone feat. Elina
Garrett Kato is a Canadian-Born, Australia-based singer, songwriter, and platinum award winning producer. Since his 2018 debut, he has built an impressive discography, including three LP albums and several standalone singles. During this time, he has garnered a significant fanbase with nearly 2 million monthly listeners on Spotify and over 106 million streams across all platforms worldwide. The singer has performed at sold-out shows with Damien Rice and Ziggy Alberts. He has also worked with several iconic Australian artists including Tones and I, Julia Stone, Riley Pearce, and more. His individual sound is a mix of indie, folk, soft-rock, and alternative, utilizing meaningful moments in his life to craft relatable lyrics.
Kato kicks off the project with the melancholic track, “Slow Motion.” A soft, acoustic guitar riff introduces the song before the singer’s compelling vocals pick up, signifying the first verse. The lyrics illustrate the inevitable end of a relationship while reminiscing on the good times. Kato confesses that while he knows they are drifting apart and this will only end in a break-up, he wants to hold on as long as he can. There is no bitterness behind his voice or within the words he sings. Nevertheless, this heartache is even more painful because he sees it unfolding in real-time. In the chorus, he sings the poetic hook: “Slow motion heartache// Hate to feel like this// When it feels like this, darling.” With these lines, he reveals the unrelenting sorrow he is experiencing as he watches their love slowly slip away. “Slow Motion” is the perfect track to start the EP with, as it sets the tone for the entire project.
Continuing with the somber atmosphere of the EP, “Losing Touch” explores the reality of growing up and struggling with mental health. The song instantly kicks off with a delicate piano and Kato’s soothing vocals singing the opening line: “Is it just me or am I losing it.” With this simple statement, the audience is introduced to the gloomy tone of the track. As the song progresses, the production introduces additional instruments and becomes more synth-infused, tying together his iconic folk-pop sound. Throughout the track, Kato reminisces on when he was younger and life was simpler, and compares it to the hardships he faces now. The singer confesses that he is not sure who he is supposed to be and he no longer feels like himself. He is experiencing an identity crisis that is making him ponder his life decisions and everything that has brought him to this moment. In the chorus, he sings: “We were just kids out having fun// Cause it’s a lot// Ready or not// Why do we keep losing touch.” These lyrics convey a crucial message through brilliant word play. He utilizes the phrase, “ready or not,” which is commonly used by kids while playing hide-n-seek. Now as an adult, despite feeling like he has lost himself, he needs to make these important decisions—whether he is ready or not. “Losing Touch” is an ingeniously written track that showcases Kato’s infectious vocals and clever songwriting.
With “Changing,” Kato continues with the narrative about life and his purpose. However, this track has a more positive outlook on the subject. Even the production contains a more lively, optimistic energy while maintaining a classic indie-folk sound. Throughout the song, Kato explores the idea that people are not made to remain stagnant. Instead, regardless of age, people are meant to grow and learn. He accepts the fact that nobody knows exactly what they are supposed to be doing, and most people are just winging it. But that is what makes life so exciting. Change is inevitable. Change is good. With lyrics such as, “Not looking for forgiveness// But I know one day I’ll find my own” and “Feel like there’s something that’s changing in me// Don’t know exactly who I’m supposed to be,” Kato acknowledges that, while he is not perfect and he may never truly find his purpose, this is only a natural part of life. In the end, everything will work out in the way that it is supposed to and he will embrace the changes. With a beautifully composed production, “Changing” is an outstanding track that epitomizes the complexity of humanity—from the good, the bad, and the ugly.
“Never Alone feat. Elina”
Swedish singer-songwriter, Elina, joins Kato for the touching love song, “Never Alone.” The tender track shares the narrative of a wonderous romance filled with love, comfort, and warmth. Through sweet lyrics, the narrator reassures their partner that through the good times and the bad ones, they will always be there for them. The last line of the chorus reveals the hook: “Know that you will never be alone in the dark.” This wholesome sentiment illustrates the feeling of falling in love with someone who effortlessly makes you feel safe and loved, making “Never Alone” a flawless love song. Furthermore, the soft fingerstyle of the guitar provides an airy, romantic element that fits perfectly on any wedding playlist. Throughout the track, the artists harmonize with one another in a manner that proves their voices were made to collaborate. From the beginning of the first verse, Kato’s vocals lead the song until the end of the chorus, where Elina’s angelic vocals pick up in the background. This introduces her solo in the second verse, before the two artists are heard singing together through the remainder of the song. “Never Alone” is a beautiful track that accentuates the two artists’ individual talents and brings them together for one incredible collaboration.
The production throughout “Dumb” has an upbeat, lively energy that fully encapsulates the feeling of summer and sunshine. With the very first note, the listener feels transported to a sunny beach with the warm breeze in their hair. The bouncy energy of the guitar is an instant mood changer, differing from the poignant lyrics from the first three tracks or the delicate production in the previous one. However, the lyrics still convey a more serious message. While keeping it lighthearted, Kato paints the picture of a sincere apology. In the first verse, he alludes to an argument with the one he loves from the night before. One where he said some things he regrets and wishes he could take back. The sentiment of the track is sweet as he continues to put in the effort to make things right by his partner. Additionally, Kato does not take himself too seriously with the cheeky music video. The video contains an amusing plotline and stars fellow artist, Kyle Lionhart. Check out the video below!
Kato ends the EP on a thought-provoking note with the final song, “Nowhere.” The track was written with three brothers, Joseph, Nicholas, and Timothy de la Hoyde, after they had a conversation about the effects of overconsumption of the media. The lyrics are the result of taking a step back from the complex, ever-changing world and being grateful for what you have. “Nowhere” is the perfect reminder for listeners that it is healthy to turn your phone off and be in the present. In the bridge, Kato sings, “Everything all the time// It doesn’t have to be like this// Everyone all the time// Is that why you feel like this?” These lyrics hold a vital message. With the internet always being at our fingertips, something still new to society, it makes it harder for us to disconnect. We constantly feel like we have to be online, staying up to date with the current news and trends. We constantly feel like we have to be available to everyone via text, email, or phone call. Day or night, we feel this constant tug to be on our devices, or else we will be perceived as ignorant and rude. However, Kato tells his listeners that just because this is “the norm” does not make it normal. He urges the audience to purge this need for constant consumption and to take a break from the media. With a production that teeters more on the side of soft rock than folk, “Nowhere” closes out the EP on a unique note, making the track my personal favorite from the project.
Through poetic lyricism and indie-folk rock productions, Kato shares his personal experiences with immense candor. From the deep heartache in “Slow Motions” to the self-acceptance in “Changing,” Nighthawks details a vast range of different emotions and thoughts. Furthermore, his duet with Elina highlights the versatility of his vocals and ability to share the spotlight as if they were made for each other. Every track on the project was brilliantly crafted to showcase Kato’s ingenious songwriting and accentuate his outstanding vocals. Within each song, he conveys a level of truth and authenticity that audiences crave, while soothing listeners with his heavenly vocals. Overall, Nighthawks is not only a cathartic release for the artist, but also a platform in which listeners can resonate with each candid lyric, making it a flawless addition to Kato’s remarkable discography.
Written By Karlee Skipper
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