The latest in my series of music-themed portraits, this time featuring, in my opinion, one of the most influential RnB producers of modern times, Devante Swing of Jodeci fame.
As a young man in the 90s, I was not too enamoured of the saccharine sweet sound of the RnB groups or records of the time. We were coming to the end of Swingbeat/New Jack Swing, and I remember hearing 'Gotta Love' by Jodeci and thinking there was something different here. The song in and of itself was pretty derivative of the glut of 'swingbeat' records of the time, but the difference was in the vocals, in particular the distinctive tones of K-Ci Hailey. The melodies and backing vocals had a different texture to what was out at the time and I wanted to hear more.
A little while later I heard 'Stay' by Jodeci, and that was the record that really got me hooked on the signature Devante Swing sound. The raw soul sound of K-Ci complemented by the sweet falsetto of his brother Jo-Jo and those trademark harmonies that made it all hang together. Being a hip-hop kid at the time I wasn't really enamoured of the slick slow jams of the time, but 'Forever My Lady' was the first RnB album where I enjoyed the ballads more than the fast tracks.
'Diary Of A Mad Band' was the album that made me a real believer. All of the ballads that make up the first half of the album, from 'My Heart Belongs To You' to 'Alone' are bona fide classics. The production is so layered and textured, loads of dirty crackles and sharp snares along with the classic piano/keyboard instrumentation and gorgeous, tortured vocals throughout.
I could go on and on about his prolific output from this period, from the powerful Mary J Blige/K-Ci Hailey duet 'I Don't Want To Do Anything' to the criminally underrated 'Love You Down' by Da Bassment. However, this is a blog post and not an essay! Suffice to say I have a lot of time for the music this man has created.
Regarding the drawing itself, I had an absolute ball doing this. It was one of those occasions where it started slowly, then came together quite rapidly.
As usual, below are some process pics as well as some video/audio clips of my favourite Devante moments.
As always, enjoy!