Taste Coach: Devin Tracy

2 Oct

Nothing dictates us the most more than music. As subjective as music can be it’s the ultimate definitive art that influence so much over multiple medians. From fashion, art, politics, films and even your workout music is the bloodline to all that inhabits the world.

I know for me I have an eclectic music taste that somehow has help me cultivate the soundtrack to my life, thus far. For example, I have a different playlist for yoga that covers anything from nature sounds to Moby and Maxwell, for running I love all things Disco & Funk, when I’m studying or writing I enjoy 90’s R&B (I literally know every girl-group ever invented) and then there is early Millennium Pop that make me feel all nostalgic when I’m out running errands or trying to lighten the mood when boredom strikes. Also, at one point I was into Hairbands or Glam Metal constant having Aerosmith, Warrant and Poison in heavy rotation, oh and of course I was into Gangster Rap of the late 90’s, Party Rap of the early 90’s and whatever this expensive rap is called today. Doo-wop, Blues and Country has weaseled their way into my musical collections all there to help elevate or calm my moods or activities. Can we discuss how Heavy Metal makes me drowsy?

Meanwhile, this goes to bring focus on how important music is, you hear it everywhere from TV jingles, while shopping and even at rallyies. Music may be liked or hated depending on a person’s preferred taste. Also, music can help explain a persons background, culture or emotionally state and outlook on the world. How many times have you went to a specific song or playlist when in love, going through a breakup or trying to get out of slump or celebrate? Music dictates how when we dress, workout even when we are getting ready for the day or cleaning.

Music is embedded in the hearts of everything relative to our existence. In this installment of “Taste Coach” featuring Devin Tracy, I had to interview this talented vocalists to share his taste on the ever changing art-form. I found this guy’s work a year ago and have been wanted to share him with others. I mean it’s because of his crazy talent as to why I even started this series. It’s great when you meet talented men that are taking the risks, living their dreams and willing to share there experiences with others. Not to mention his favorite thing to do while creating is eating fruit. He’s thin, handsome and an awesome singer. Check his interview and music!

Devin Tracy (1)
I Devin Tracy a singer/songwriter from Jacksonville, Florida. The second oldest of 4 children, each of us are 5 years apart. I moved to New York City 2 and a half years ago to pursue music. I’ve grown since then but this journey is not over. I’ve released 2 projects since my stay here up north, “Dear Devin” & “Goodmorning”. Both EP’s have been quite successful. Right now I live in New Jersey, I travel back and forth to the city for work or to record music, I’m also working on my second project titled “Goodafternoon”.

How long have you been singing?
DT- I’ve been singing for a very long time, since I was a toddler. I use to get teased as a child because of my high voice. I would sing in class all the time non stop, I would sing everything the teacher said while she was teaching. My first grade teacher Mrs. Burch would be furious. So she would send me to “time out” all the time. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I wanted to pursue singing as a career.

Devin Tracy (2)
Name of your latest LP?
DT- Well its not an LP its an EP titled “Goodmorning”.

What is it about?
DT- “The hardest part is waking up in the morning, remembering what you trying to forget last night.” – this quote kind of inspired my EP “Goodmorning” which is about trying to forget a breakup that happened the night before. Its very personal, I was so scared to release the project but when I did there were a lot of positive responses. People still hit me up to this day. The “thank-yous and I appreciate yous” is an amazing feeling.

What inspired you to take singing on as a career?
DT- The feeling, the emotional aspect of it. I’m a water sign (Cancer) I don’t know if that has anything to do with it but I can be really emotional myself & sometimes it’s hard to explain to people how I feel. So I write music. But I’ve always loved reading or hearing stories about love or being in love, or getting hurt from love. It inspired me to tell my story which would be through music & I wanted people hear that.

Favorite aspect of being a musical artist?
DT- I want my audience to feel what I feel. I love to inspired people. I want to make people feel happy, sad, mad etc. Surprisingly people feel that way at my shows. They later pull me aside and tell me they feel every word, and I like that. Lets me know they understand.

How do you get out of a creative rut?
DT- I change my atmosphere, the things, people around me or I’ll go to a dark place for a split sec & grab inspiration from there. I know it sounds scary but it helps me. Sometimes I go back & listen to the music that inspired me to do music in the first place. Like, instrumental Jazz. From musicians like Norman Brown, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, or Trip Hop music from Nujabes and Fat Jon. I love listening to Hip Hop instrumentals as well been listening to producers like J.Dilla, 9th wonder, Pete Rock and Flying Lotus

What would you describe your sounds as?
DT- Uhmmmmm I would say very soulful, R&B, eclectic & a pinch of jazz.

What factors most influences your song writing and beat selections?
DT- People. Friends & family in general. The type of foods I eat. I looooove eating fruits, it keeps my creative juices flowing, even though that’s random but it’s the truth hahaha.

Where do you find inspiration?
DT-I find inspiration from fashion, as you know music & fashion ties in together. Ever since I moved to New York two years ago my music kinda evolved or grew… along with my voice. I always meet & see so many creative people in NYC. They helped along the way.

Favorite Album you go back to the most for reference or turn to for inspiration?
DT- My favorite album I go back to for inspiration would either be Aaliyah- One In A Million, Kelis- Kaleidoscope or any Erykah Badu album & also Chaka Khan, Barry White and little Phyllis Hyman. I use to listen to Kelis everyday in middle school, not just because she had style but because at the time there were no fucks given. She didn’t care what people said about her. Her second album “Wonderland” people don’t understand the process and the amount of work that was put into that album, from beginning to end I studied that whole album. I use to say I was Kelis and Andre 3000’s love child. I was such a weird kid.

Who are some singers, producers or composers that have played a major part in your sound the most?
DT- I would have to say Sade, Stevie Wonder, Raphael Saadiq, Prince, Erykah Badu, Rahsaan Patterson, Ledisi, Kelis & Chaka Khan. I love their tone, I listen for tone a lot. They all have a twang, Its hard to describe but I love it. My producers would have to be Pharrell Williams, J. Dilla, 9th Wonder, and Kanye West. I really love old school hip hop instrumentals though.

Any other singer out right you enjoy on the underground or up-and-coming scene?
DT- I would say Kimbra, Lianne La Havas, SZA, James Blake, Quadron, Little Dragon (of course) Toro Y Moi, Haim, FKA Twigs, Amel Laurrieux Delilah, Esperanza Spalding, J*Davey, Monique Bingham, Jhene Aiko, Alunageorge, Active Child, Christian Scott, Bilal, Jazmine Sullivan, KING, Robert Glasper and Corinne Bailey Rae . I can go on & on but that’ll take days…weeks.

What is the goal you are trying to achieve with you music?
DT- I would like for my music to reach everybody. I want everybody to experience a different voice in the music industry. I want my audience to expand, grow, fill up a stadium (speaking that into existence)

Three words to describe your personal style.
DT- Unique

What topics do you address the most in your music?
DT- My music gears toward the broken hearts or people who were once in love and now are lost. I mainly talk about love or how deep it cuts a person, I try not to go too deep because I feel that it would scare people. My new project “Goodmorning” people interpret the project so different, but stories seem similar. It’s crazy, but I like it.

Do you prefer to work alone when you create or collaborate with other artists and producers?
DT- I do and I don’t. The reason for that is because not everybody knows what you want as an artist either you don’t feel comfortable telling them or they’re not going to understand. So sometimes its better to let it just happen or not happen at all.

What goes into capturing a thought, feeling or life happening in a song and bringing that concept to life?
DT- There’s a lot that goes into a concept for a song or just capturing a thought. I tend to over think sometimes, when that happens I distances myself from any and everybody. Once I’m alone, I center myself, gather all my thoughts and pen all of them down. I start off with a melody first, then a choose a topic (which is usually from a crazy place) & then I finish writing my song.

What does “taste” mean to you?
DT- Taste is whatever you are into. Taste can mean so many different things.

Most savored song you’ve recorded?
DT- My most savored song would have to be “Need 2 Be” a song I wrote from my last project “Dear Devin” which can be found on Soundcloud. I love this song because it means so much to me, & it talks about a “friendship gone wrong”. People think its about a relationship & that’s what I wanted them to think but its not. The song is about two people being friends & the other person (which is me) not understanding why they randomly stopped being friends. The first stanza explains it all..it says ” i hate that I care so much for you”. Whenever I listen to that song it brings me back to that moment and why I wrote it.

Most distasteful song you’ve recorded?
DT- I don’t think I have any distasteful songs. I mean of course , I have songs I wouldn’t even dare play for anybody but those songs show growth, so I appreciate them.

Ideal mood you like to set in the studio to create?
DT- It would have to be very chill, calm, no distractions. I most definitely do not like being rushed at all or I would sit for hours and not eat a damn thing until I at least have the first verse. Sometimes, I would eat lots of fruits & drink a lot of water before or during my studio time.

Preferred song writers or producers you’ve worked with?
DT- I would rather write with my three favorite producers all because they know me as an artist and they are great writers as well. The Radicals (Tenny Whyte, William “Chase” Nickles) they’ve done my whole project last year “Dear Devin” and Aundra “DRA” Brown who produced “In The Morning” on my latest project “Goodmorning” . I’ve been working with them for a very long time. Love them to death.

Which environment do you like to write in?
DT- I love writing in a quite environment. If its too noisy I cant focus, I’ll get aggravated really fast. I need space to think. I actually love writing when I’m alone. Eating an apple or grapes or better, sliced pineapples with peaches on the side.

Faux pas you made at the beginning of you career that you would advise other up-and-coming singers not to do?
DT- Don’t make the same mistake over & over again, learn from the first mistake. I would tell other artists to be careful who you allow in your personal circle. Not everybody deserves you or your time and don’t tell everybody your goals and ambitions because, dreams killers do walk this earth. People do get jealous, and will try to shatter your dreams.

Most memorable performance thus far.
DT-My most memorable performance would be me performing at BET MUSIC MATTER. I couldn’t believe I got that gig. I remember when I first moved to NYC I went to a BET MUSIC MATTERS Showcase at SOBs I went with my producer and roommate Aundra Brown and I remember asking him, how can I get this gig? I wanted to be on that stage and a couple of months later, with no questions or worries I got a call saying they wanted me to perform. That was the best night of my life, it felt amazing.

Most embarrassing moment on stage?
DT- My most embarrassing moment was forgetting words to a song, I had a performance in Brooklyn at this one Art Gallery. I just finished doing all of my originals and the crowd asked for an encore. So I told them ok. I started doing a cover (Lianne La Havas – Don’t Wake Me Up) and I thought I knew the song but I had brain fart in the middle of my performance, so I just scatted the whole verse until I got to the chorus & the audience looked me and was like wtf. Hahaha I told myself never again am I gonna take that risk.

Where do you wish to take (elevate) your work?
DT- I would like to grow, and have a consistency. I would also like my audience to grow with me and my music. I want to hear more of my music on the radio, perform at massive arenas, perform at the white house (more then once) & continue to inspire people through my journey musically.


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