2022 Forecast: Los Angeles Music Artists To Watch featuring Gabriels

2022 Forecast: Los Angeles Artists To Watch featuring Gabriels
Photo by Julian Broad

Gabriels might only have two EPs under their belt but they are without a doubt one of the most stunning acts to release music in 2021. Sporting the talents of rapturous gospel singer and choir director Jacob Lusk and his two co-producers — the classically trained musician/soundtrack artist Ari Balouzia and director Ryan Hope — Gabriels’ craft sublimely vintage soul and R&B informed by eclectic modern experimentalism. Meeting by both chance and perhaps a bit of providence, Gabriels was formed when Hope and Balouzian met with Lusk at a casting session, hoping to enlist his help finding a choir for their film. Lusk got the part but the two producers reached out to him afterward to discuss working on a new experimental project — eventually relocating to Palm Desert to begin working on songs.

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Their recent release in Bloodlines accentuates their burgeoning sound, which the group spent five years honing in on after they met in 2016. The four-song tracklist is a flooring lesson on the Gabriels’ spaciously sonorous ballads, punctuated as they are by Lusk’s Herculean and momentous vocal hefts. But it was their debut EP Love and Hate In A Different Time that first ignited the group’s breakout success. And we’d expect nothing less from an EP whose title-track Elton John called “one of the most seminal records” of the last 10 years.

On every song, the trio behind Gabriels finds themselves the holders of a lightning-rod of emotion, channeling it all through the inseparable harmony of Lusk’s compelling wails and their swooning melodies. But the album and title-track also importantly intersects Lusk’s own upbringing — specifically his grandmother, who appears on the EP cover, and highlights for the singer the generational struggle against racism by the Black community. She’s also why in 2020 at a Black Lives Matter demonstration Lusk gave a spontaneous rendition of Billie Holiday’s anti-lynching song “Strange Fruit.”

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So far the dynamic trio has only performed once which took place at the Los Angeles venue A Club Called Rhoda, giving a raw performance that has since left a void that can only be filled by their enraptured music. That’s all about to change in 2022 with the group promising a slew of tour dates as they embark on the road for the first time. If you’re looking to catch some seriously ecstatic soul and R&B look no further than the closest stops Gabriels will be making near you this year!

Gabriels will be on tour this spring with a date at the Troubadour in Los Angeles on March 16. Visit Gabriels’ website, Twitter, and Instagram to stay updated on new releases and tour announcements. Follow the band on Spotify.

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