MPA camper releases debut album, plays Lollapalooza

Alumni of the 2008 Interlochen Arts Camp might not recognize Garrett Borns if they saw him today.

For one thing, Borns has traded his powder-blue polos for psychedelic jackets. For another, he’s no longer a film student, but rather an up-and-coming recording artist—known to his fans as BØRNS—whose debut album is scheduled for release this fall.

Borns’ cabin mates might not be surprised, though: The Grand Haven native, then 15, frequently discussed, played and wrote music alongside his music-major cabin mates. “I was around a lot of music that summer, even within my own major,” said Borns. “I focused a lot on post-production work, including scoring songs for film.”

Ultimately, the influence of other young artists is what Borns took away from the Interlochen experience. “Being introduced to talented young artists from around the world in Michigan—my own backyard—was what meant most to me,” he said.

After high school, Borns moved to New York City hoping to continue his local-level successes on New York’s larger stages. A few years later, Borns vacationed in California and never looked back. Shortly after arriving in California, Borns composed “10,000 Emerald Pools,” his first major single, which was released in October 2014. A four-song EP, Candy, followed in November.

Borns has spent much of 2015 touring and preparing for the release of his first full-length album with Interscope Records this fall; his tour destinations included Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival and Los Angeles’ American Express UNSTAGED: Artists in Residence, which kicked off Aug. 20.

Borns’ advice to young artists is simple: Work hard. “Focus on the art,” he said. “It’s easy to get caught up in the social media game—which is also important—but what you need to focus on is getting your best work out there and sharing it with the world. The cream will always rise to the top.”

Borns also offered a word of advice for artists interested in several art forms. “Try to combine your interests, if you can,” he said. “When I’m doing music in California, I’m involved in making films to go with the songs and designing my album art. I’m passionate about many arts, and I like to see how they combine.”

—Melissa Luby