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Giveon shares the stories behind 'When It's All Said And Done'

ELISSA NADWORNY, HOST:

The R&B singer Giveon has had quite a year. He released an album, began a nationwide tour and was just nominated for a Grammy. So we thought it'd be a good time to catch up with him, to hear about his album "When It's All Said And Done... Take Time." He began by telling us about the opening track, "The Beach."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE BEACH")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Giveon - I don't know if it was fireworks or gunshots, but the birds is in the air.

GIVEON: I grew up in, like, a kind of rougher, more impoverished area, the east side of Long Beach. And at the time, I was with someone who came from a more affluent area. So the song was about me bringing her into my side and kind of my insecurities of that and her just sticking along the way.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE BEACH")

GIVEON: (Singing) I'm just a boy from the east side. Do you love me? Your mom told you about this side. It could get ugly. I'm just a boy from the east side, oh, no. Oh.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: I don't know if it was fireworks or gunshots, but the birds is in the air.

GIVEON: (Singing) Won't let you go...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: So don't come over here.

GIVEON: (Singing) Won't let you.

The voicemail of my mom, I wanted to make sure I add that to just keep the authenticity of what I feel when I even think of home in Long Beach. And it's always my mom because she's still on that side now.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE BEACH")

GIVEON: (Singing) Live your life. Live your life.

(SOUNDBITE OF GIVEON SONG, "HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY")

GIVEON: The story for "Heartbreak Anniversary" is pretty much when you've got your heart broke, the anniversary of that day, every time it comes back around, you kind of get your heart broken a little bit again every time.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY")

GIVEON: (Singing) Balloons are deflated. Guess they look lifeless like me. We miss you on your side of the bed.

The idea is that it's going to take time to get over something and heal. And I - that's all you really can do. You could try to, like, speed up the process with certain vices like alcohol or other people and all these things. But when it's all - literally, when it's all said and done, all you could really do is just take the time to heal, and just let it fix itself.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY")

GIVEON: (Singing) I get like this every time on these days that feel like you and me, heartbreak anniversary. 'Cause...

Just seeing "Heartbreak Anniversary" go viral on TikTok, it was such a fascinating thing. I was kind of surprised that a song about a reoccurring heartbreak was the one that the kids decided to dance to. But I loved it. They would dance to it, and then they'll sit down and cry to it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY")

GIVEON: (Singing) 'Cause I think of you, think of you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LAST TIME")

SNOH AALEGRA: (Vocalizing).

GIVEON: "Last Time" was really talking about a toxic situation that should have been over with a long time ago. And within those situations, there's a back and forth, a push and pull. And "Last Time" was just a song about denial, saying that you guys are going to have this one last connection, one last time.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LAST TIME")

GIVEON AND SNOH AALEGRA: (Singing) Mmm hmm, it's like that. I swear, I come right back. I want you just like that.

SNOH AALEGRA: (Singing) Yeah.

GIVEON: (Singing) Don't fight back.

For me, songwriting - it's really just a diary with music and melodies behind it. I get to express myself. And it's just a form of therapy for me.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LAST TIME")

GIVEON: (Singing) Just this last time.

NADWORNY: That's Grammy-nominated singer Giveon talking about his album "When It's All Said And Done... Take Time."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LAST TIME")

GIVEON: (Singing) Just this...

GIVEON AND SNOH AALEGRA: (Singing) Last time.

GIVEON: (Singing) Don't make me regret it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.