Refrain Interview: DEF davyne

Oregon based Hip Hop artist DEF davyne has recently dropped his latest song, the radio-ready, hip-hop, pop crossover single “No More Tears”. 

DEF davyne (pronounced divine) is known for his verbal dexterity, gymnastic delivery, intricate rhyme schemes, and emotional storytelling. He considers himself a writer first, but has been creating and performing music since the late 90’s. As a child, music was his solace and a therapeutic remedy.

A prolific artist, DEF davyne has independently released hundreds of songs, several mixtapes, and three full length albums titled Scales of a Broken Libra, The Balance, and Young Lucifer. Over the past two decades, he has shared the stage with several Hip Hop legends, and has performed in a variety of venues across the Northwest. His most notable performances were at the Lane County Fair, which he now does annually.

After earning his music business Bachelors, he went on to earn his Masters in entertainment business. He graduated at the top of his class and was honored as the Valedictorian both times. When not working on music, he stays busy as the editor for Real AF Media, and a talent scout for Oregonized Talent. His music can be found on all major digital distribution channels and streaming services.

We had a chance to chat with him about his latest single as part of the Refrain Interview series.

Refrain Music Blog: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. You have a new single out now. Tell us about it? What’s it called? 

DEF davyne: Thank you for the opportunity. My new single is called “No More Tears” and it’s written from the perspective of me trying to help someone get over their sadness. My goal was to be sympathetic, without overstepping any boundaries.

RMB: What’s the story on how it was recorded?

DD: This song was an easier one to write, as I know many people who have struggled after getting out of a toxic relationship. When I first heard the beat which was produced by DRAS, I couldn’t stop dancing. So I wrote as if I were on a dance floor, and just met a woman who was there to get over her past relationship and move on. Essentially, this song is about a relationship that started on vibes alone, but evolved through the conversation in my verse.

RMB: Is it part of a larger album? If so, tell us about that. 

DD: This song is actually part of an EP titled ‘Love Story’ which as a whole, follows a relationship from inception, to its eventual demise.

RMB: Is the album out now?

DD: I released this project the end of last year on 11/11/2020, with 1111 being a spiritual number for me.

RMB: How many songs on the album?

DD: There are 5 songs on the EP, each of which is a different sub-genre of HipHop. The common element is love, in all its glory and despair. The beginning of the first track picks up where the end of the last track leaves off, so the EP as a whole represents the cycle of a relationship.

RMB: How is this album different than your previous work?

DD: This project is very different from my previous albums. In the past I wrote mostly from a place of pain and grief, because that’s who I was at the time. This project reflects my growth as an individual, practicing gratitude and attracting healthy relationships and experiences.

RMB: Tell us a little bit about yourself. When did you start pursuing music?

DD: I wrote my first rap in 1997 and recorded for the first time in a professional studio in 1999. In 2003 I started going by the name DEF davyne, the DEF being my initials, and davyne (pronounced divine) which represented my spiritual upbringing.

RMB: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

DD: Before I got into lyricism, I first fell in love with HipHop based on the way it sounded. Artists with flow like Bone Thugs n Harmony, Warren G and Da Brat stayed in heavy rotation. Later, I gravitated towards wordsmiths with faster cadences like Twista and TechN9ne. Recently, I’ve found inspiration in artists like J.Cole and Joyner Lucas, who often have a deeper message in their music.

RMB: What’s the one thing you are most proud of in your career so far?

DD: Involving my family with my music has brought me great joy. Recently I worked with my son and daughter on a song for their newborn sister. My son produced the beat, and my daughter wrote and sang the chorus. We even got my father on the intro and my niece on the ad-libs. Balancing fatherhood and my passion has always been rewarding.

RMB: If you had to pitch your music to a potential fan in less than 10 seconds, what would you say?

DD: It’s got a dope vibe, but you can also play it around your momma.

RMB: What’s one piece of advice you’ve gotten that you think everyone needs to hear or that has meant the most to you?

DD: In California I met an artist named Hundred Stacks who was once in a studio session with the late 2Pac. He passed on this advice that 2Pac gave to him: “if you wait until your music is perfect to release it, you’ll never release anything. It’s better to release your music as it is, and use the feedback you receive to make even better music.” As a perfectionist, this stuck with me ever since. Allowing my fans to grow with me, has led to stronger connections throughout my career.

RMB: If you could go back in time, what’s a piece of advice you would give to a younger you?

DD: Don’t ever limit your creativity because you think it might offend someone. People’s reaction to your art is on them, not you.

RMB: What’s coming up next for your musical project?

DD: I feel blessed to have been able to make music during quarantine, but I am all about safety. Now that the global pandemic is getting under control, I plan on shooting music videos for this project once it is safe for everyone involved. I also plan on performing it live in its entirety once venues open up and I start doing gigs again.

RMB: Do you have any unpopular opinions regarding the music industry?

DD: I think autotune is a great tool when used in moderation, but I honestly believe the more that artists rely on it, the higher the chance that they will eventually get replaced by AI robots. Technology can always be an amazing asset, and I was raised in the cassette tape era. When I bought my first CD burner, my life changed. One thing that has remained a constant, even through the streaming era, is that a live show will always be a live show. To connect with an audience in my most authentic form is the goal. That is why I don’t rely on heavy audio effects, even though they are very popular in the music industry.

RMB: Any advice outside of music?

DD: Practicing self-care is everything!







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