Gnash Gets Crowds Happy, Sad + ‘Superlit’ at Billboard Hot 100 Festival (PHOTOS)
If achievement of a happy/sad sound is, indeed, pop's most valuable currency in 2018, Gnash — real name Garrett Charles Nash — will have his pockets full for the foreseeable future. He proved with a fan-pleasing set at the Billboard Hot 100 Festival Saturday (August 18) that he's got the market cornered on fueling radio hits with harrow and hurt.
Since the release of his 2015 EP U and thanks to tracks like "Feelings Fade" and "ILUSM," the singer, rapper and producer has adapted the sound of melancholy and mental health trials to hits that have peaked inside the Billboard Hot 100's Top 10. If you've heard "I Hate U, I Love U" featuring Olivia O'Brien or Gnash's feature on MAX's "Lights Down Low," you've borne witness to an artist that's got his finger planted squarely on the pop-pulse.
Still, he's enjoying a bit of anonymity while he can.
"It's funny — when I walk over to the stage, people know my music but not always what I look like," he told PopCrush. "It's definitely a different story on the walk back, though."
Sporting a Pink Floyd T-shirt, calf-halving rainbow crew socks and with lengthy locks securely tucked beneath a black baseball cap (it was trimmed with a purple broken heart patch for good measure), Gnash weaved between interviews and photo shoots while dispensing grins like business cards and complimenting passersby on their high-tops or T-shirts.
It was when he got on stage, though, that his connection to his fans was clearest.
"I just want to empower people and make them feel good," Gnash, who cites Dashboard Confessional and All Time Low as some of his favorite acts. "If we feel together then we'll feel better."
And solidarity was an earmark of his set. Sandwiched between performances by Halsey, Kim Petras, Rae Sremmurd and more of pop's biggest acts, Gnash's set list registered like a series of early-morning affirmations. Whether he was carrying an acoustic guitar or bounding up and down the stage in the heat of a raging hook, his disciples seemed — at once — at peace and ready to rage.
So what's next from the artist who's sampled the tick of flickering stoves for songs (he's also got big plans to feature his cat on forthcoming work)? It's hard to say for sure, but a perennial spot on the charts seems like his for the taking. Check out Gnash taking Jones Beach by storm at the 2018 Billboard Hot 100 Festival below.