You couldn’t be more correct if you decided to refer to Dev Hynes as an amazing triple threat entertainer. Not only is he good with his vocals and with the pen, but Hynes has also produced many hits both for himself and other musicians. He has been doing music officially since 2004 and throughout the course of his career, he has gone through two name changes. He first began singing as Lightspeed Champion before changing to Blood Orange and now many just prefer to refer to him as Dev Hynes. Hynes got into the mainstream in 2013 and raised many eyebrows with his rather unconventional yet very enjoyable style of music. Here is everything you need to know about the versatile musician’s life and career.
Dev Hynes Bio
Blood Orange was born as David Joseph Michael Hynes on the 23rd day of December 1985 in Ilford, East London where he was raised by parents who are both of African descent. While his mother is from Guyana, his father has his heritage in Sierra Leone. Hynes was raised in what he describes as a loving family with very less personal communication with his parents; something he perceives as being cultural. Both his parents had full-time jobs; his father serving as a manager at a Marks & Spencer departmental store and his mother as a health care consultant who counseled mostly teenage mothers.
Dev Hynes is the last born member of his family of 5 which includes two siblings who are 5 and 7 years older than him. Due to the huge age gap, Hynes had a rather lonely childhood and was alone at his room most times listening to British soul music (his mother’s favorite) as well as songs by Nirvana and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony which belonged to his siblings.
This early exposure to music stirred up his passion and by 18 years old he had relocated to London and began making music. He attended and graduated from Chadwell Heath Foundation School, a school that has since undergone a name change to Chadwell Heath Academy.
Things To Know About Blood Orange
1. Dev Hynes started out his music career as part of a band
Before his breakthrough in 2013 as Blood Orange, Dev Hynes was part of a dance-punk band – Test Icicles. He held multiple roles at the band including playing the synth and guitar, as well as providing vocals. Though influenced by indie rock, the band also incorporated elements of varying genres. In 2005, a year after it was formed, Test Icicles released their debut album For Screening Purposes Only which would turn out to be their last as they split in 2006. His work with the band saw him relocate to New York City in 2005 and he has since settled in the American city.
2. Hynes didn’t take music seriously until he got to work for Solange Knowles
After his band split, Dev Hynes didn’t give up on music. He began recording solo in 2007 under the moniker Lightspeed Champion. For the next three years, Hynes recorded commendable success as he toured extensively alongside friends which included band members, one of them being Florence Welch of Florence and The Machine. He released two albums and had to take a brief hiatus in 2010 after extensive touring had left him with a severely injured throat that required extensive surgery to fix.
Despite his success as Lightspeed Champion, Dev Hynes only began to take music serious in 2012, a time when he started his Blood Orange project. As he narrated to The Guardian, he had begun to give up on music until he somehow got to meet with Solange Knowles and while working with her on her EP True, his passion was revived and only then did he realize that maybe music was his calling after all.
3. He loves to play football more than music
If Dev Hynes never got to meet with Solange, he would have most likely ended up as a footballer, a career he believes he was truly gifted to pursue. Growing up in Essex, Hynes played football and was part of the Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club. He played to the level where Charlton Athletic scouts began checking him out, however, due to his dislike for Essex, Hynes abandoned football for music. However, he continues to play as a hobby at least twice a week. In addition to football, Dev Hynes is also good at basketball and table tennis.
4. Blood Orange was a victim of bullying as a kid
Growing up in Essex, Hynes was a victim of bullying especially from more mature fellow blacks who perceived he was crossing some sociocultural lines. He often got beat up in the bus on his way to school. These experiences have come to be the inspiration for his heavily themed music which he says he doesn’t want people to “immediately like”.
5. His sexual orientation is ambiguous
Dev Hynes is attracted to both males and females but in a controversial way. When OUT Magazine put him on the covers in 2014, he received backlash for not being gay enough. Hynes has confessed to trying sex with males, he didn’t like it but controversially, he told sex columnist Karley Sciortino that he is attracted to the strong features and beauty of a man despite staying attracted to a woman’s feminity.