An emerging artist from Brooklyn by the name of Donavon has been heavy on our radar after he released his song “BAD,” a sensual tune we’d say is equal parts bad boy confessional and feel-good fire. Today, the 23-year-old independent singer and producer drops the Jackson Tisi-directed visual, which we love just as much the song. Creativity seems to flow from Donavon’s fingertips and to top off his natural gift for music, we’d never think this clip wasn’t the work of a major label.
“I lost a good girl doing bad sh*t” Donavon sings in his cool, raspy voice. When asked what inspired “BAD,” he told Global Grind of the song and his forthcoming project Badmind:
“Aw man ‘BAD’ was the first song I made for the project over a year ago and I feel like it set the tone. Just like any other 21-year-old boy, I was really on my wild boy, self-destructive sh*t. There’s something about being in your early twenties that convinces you that whatever messy sh*t you’re in is completely unique to you and no one else will ever be able to understand — despite all the evidence to the contrary proving that we’re all going through it. We don’t just identify with our messiness, we fetishize it. ‘Badmind’ is the Jamaican word for jealousy and negativity and ‘BAD’ is sort of my tribute to that adolescent, insecure, ‘badminded’ energy.”
Tune in up top and get to know the ever-interesting Donavon a little more in our quick chat below. Also, follow him on social media at: @Donnynnon.
On when Donavon first knew he wanted to do music:
“I grew up playing music in church so it’s always been the most clear path to my own personal growth and self expression,” Donavon tells us. “There was an air guitar competition at my middle school to win an iPod and I jumped on a table during my imaginary guitar solo to impress the teachers and won. I think that was probably the exact moment my Jamaican parents couldn’t talk me out of being an artist. Music is everything to me, so I think if you take it away from this world you got to take me with it. My first EP Badmind is the first time I really spent every day for over a year working on something, so it sort of feels like my baby at this point.”
On the music that has inspired him over the years:
“I try to wear my influences on my sleeve as far as how my music sounds. If you hear something of mine and you think you know where I got the sauce from, you’re probably right — I’m not trying to hide anything,” he says with a laugh. “I think along with conveying my emotions, a big reason I make music is to pay tribute to all the artists who’ve inspired me. I feel like the artists I’ve always gravitated to are those who I feel took pop structures and melodies and f*cked with them and made them their own. Prince, Dilla, D’Angelo, Donny Hathaway, Herbie, Marvin, Stevie and Jai Paul were most of my references for this project.
“I feel like we all try to have hyper unique and eclectic music tastes but I honestly think music is most fun when we embrace our inner basic b*tch,” he quips.
On his dream collaborator:
“If I ever got to work with, or even just talk to, D’angelo or Stevie I could die happy — and I feel like in the back of our minds a lot of artists of my generation with my type of sound are trying to impress Prince’s ghost. To be honest, though, there are a lot of new artists that inspire me so much and awaken my producer side. Artists like Koffee, Benny The Butcher, Mereba, Santi, Dijon, Baby Rose, Serpentwithfeet and so many others really inspire me on a day-to-day basis. I feel like music production is all so good right now that it’s getting kind of monotonous, so it’s all these artist’s voices and the way they carry emotion with them that truly inspire me.
On his IG comment that he wants his first project to feel like “toxic unprotected sex:”
“I said what I said and I meant it,” he jokes. “Nah, but really there’s this interview with Kanye from the Stones Throw documentary where he’s talking about Dilla and he pauses and says Dilla’s music felt like… good p*ssy. Every Dilla stan knows exactly what he meant when he said that and since then, whenever I’m producing my songs thats the goal. The toxic part is really just the cherry on top.”
On his upcoming project Badmind:
“I feel like the music does an accurate job of reflecting my inner truths of what being a confused, sensitive, and kind of manic n*gga feels like and the videos do an accurate job of reflecting the external truths of what being a black artist has always meant.”