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Raised in his birthplace of Brooklyn and his mother's native Guyana, SAINt JHN started self-releasing material (under the name Carlos St. John) and co-writing for other artists (sometimes credited as Carlos Phillips) in the early 2010s. He established himself by working on songs by the likes of Hoodie Allen ("No Interruption"), Kiesza (three tracks off Sound of a Woman), Nico & Vinz ("Praying to a God"), Gorgon City ("Doubts"), and Usher ("Crash" and "Rivals," both of which he also co-produced). This sequence of advancements was catalyzed by industry veteran Zach Katz, who had heard an early song SAINt JHN granted to a fellow fledgling artist.
Emboldened by the progress, SAINt JHN started issuing solo material again in 2016. Among the tracks that caught on most were "Roses" and "Reflex." "3 Below" and "Some Nights" followed in 2017, the year he also co-wrote "Helicopters/Beware" for Jidenna and "Can't Wait" for dvsn. SAINt JHN's debut full-length, the independent release Collection One, arrived in 2018 and reached number 95 on the Billboard 200. A handful of intermediary singles, along with the co-writing of "Brown Skin Girl" for the Beyoncé-produced soundtrack album The Lion King: The Gift, led to the 2019 arrival of Ghetto Lenny's Love Songs. Issued through L.A. Reid's HITCO label, the album featured Meek Mill, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, and Lil Baby, and entered the Billboard 200 at number 39. Also in 2019, producer Imanbek's remix of "Roses," which transformed a trap-styled ballad into an uptempo club track (with SAINt JHN's vocal pitched up), topped the pop charts in the U.K. and Australia and went Top Ten in several other territories. Marshmello then sought SAINt JHN, as well as Giggs and Southside, for the 2020 single "Been Thru This Before." ~ Andy Kellman