Artist, musician, and producer Devonté Hynes began his musical training at the age of seven with piano lessons because his sister (whom he idolized took them). Then young Devonté picked up a guitar that his father brought home. It wasn’t long before he started figuring out how to play songs on the radio without a single lesson. Hynes instinctually found the right notes and chords. After a music class in school (then studying the cello) he described to his teacher the colorful impressions dancing through his mind associated to sounds. It was at this moment that he discovered he had synesthesia, a neurologically based condition in which a person experiences “crossed” responses to stimuli such as music. As a young adult he grew into his awareness as a synesthete, embracing how over-stimulating some pieces of music and sounds were to him. It would change everything and inform his compositions going forward.
Fast forward to present day. After splitting with his band the Test Icicles and then recording as Lightspeed Champion, Hynes switched up styles again, and began making music under the pseudonym Blood Orange. As Blood Orange he released an atmospheric R&B album called “Coastal Grooves” in the summer of 2011 on Domino Records. Here’s a short clip from The FADER as Devonté shows us his musical instruments and inspirations at his Williamsburg apartment.
He’s also been working on the side as a collaborator/songwriter for some noteworthy artists including Florence Welch (Florence + the Machine), Theophilus London, Kindness, Solange Knowles, and Sky Ferreira) and as a fashion consultant for Jay-Z’s Roccawear. For today’s purposes, we’re going to focus on the work with Sky Ferreira.
Sky Ferreira has been on the verge of breaking out for the past couple of years. With the release of the Devonté Hynes written and co-produced single “Everything is Embarrassing” from her forthcoming EP “Ghost” this could the big moment for the 20 year old. In addition to the buzz regarding her music, she’s making quite a mark on the fashion world. Regularly photographed amongst the fashion elite and recently appearing in an addidas Originals campaign spot featuring Jeremy Scott and Niki Minaj. Much talked about Saint Laurent Paris creative director Hedi Slimane shot the cover to the forthcoming EP.
I’ve had this tune on repeat for the past few days. Taps into something familiar. The black-and-white video (directed by Grant Singer) effectively captures the emotional tone of the ’80′s infused track by focusing solely on Ferreira as she pouts and vogues (in a good way) against various urban backdrops.