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Combining a strong visual component with dreamily produced songs, sophisticated indie songwriter Gus Dapperton became known for colorful narrative videos and lovestruck songs that channeled ’90s influences. Working with mostly analog instruments and playing, arranging, and recording everything himself, the artist released songs online when he was still in his teens but began to break through with the 2017 single “I’m Just Snacking.” The song and its viral video caught on, and before long Dapperton was touring and being asked to create a song for the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why. This exposed him to even more legions of fans, and he quickly followed his 2019 full-length debut, Where Polly People Go to Read, with 2020’s Orca.
Gus Dapperton was born Brendan Rice in Warwick, New York in 1997. After finishing high school he attended Drexel University in Philadelphia, studying music technology and working on his own songs. He soon left school and returned to New York, where he began developing the Gus Dapperton persona. Using analog synths, reverb-heavy vocal crooning, and an overall smoothly produced take on bedroom indie, he began releasing songs online in 2016, gaining some traction with compositions like “Moodna, Once with Grace” and “Ditch.” Early reviews of his sound drew comparisons to Mac DeMarco and King Kruel’s hazy melodicism.
His 2017 single “I’m Just Snacking” and its conceptual and stylized accompanying video brought Dapperton even more attention, eventually leading to coverage in Vogue magazine. That year he and a full band did extensive touring of the U.S. and Europe, and also released the four-song Yellow & Such EP. Another viral video arrived late that year for “Prune, You Talk Funny,” eventually racking up millions of views. He created the song “Of Lacking Spectacle” for the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, building the song from a quickly captured voice memo and recording the final version of the tune in a hotel room while on tour. Second EP You Think You’re a Comic and new single/video “World Class Cinema” were released in 2018.
Following two additional singles in early 2019, Dapperton issued his full-length debut, Where Polly People Go to Read, that April, which included the hit single “World Class Cinema.” In December, Dapperton was featured as a guest artist on New Zealand artist Benee’s single “Supalonely.” The song’s themes of isolation and disconnection coincided with global lockdowns that started early the next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it quickly became a worldwide hit. He then began sharing new songs in advance of his second album, Orca. Lighter on dreamy synths and bedroom pop production, the rougher-edged Orca was released in September of 2020. ~ Fred Thomas, Rovi
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