I hate putting things in categories, especially myself. Categories are boxes—creative prisons.”

This is the immediate response when we ask Texas-born artist Seven Davis Jr (better-known to many as “Sev”) to describe his compositions. It gives you an inkling of how eclectic his musical output and influences are. Raised in the Bay Area surrounded by music and musicians, Seven Davis Jr grew up as a self-proclaimed jazz/soul head.

For the longest time I only listened to jazz, soul, gospel, oldies, doo-wop, classic top 40, etc.; but I’ve always been open to listening to anything, [and am] even more open now,” he explains in a recent interview. “Listeners are starting to understand that I’m multi-genre. All in all I would describe my sound as ‘soul music’.”

Although in recent years Sev has achieved well-earned recognition throughout the house scene for his soul-infused, 120-something BPM stompers (his breakout 2015 album Universes on Ninja Tune being instrumental in this regard), his ability as an artist is a river that runs deeper than surface waters might indicate. A talented lyricist with a commanding voice, Sev writes and records the vocals for much of his own material. Prior to achieving visibility as an artist in his own right, he was working behind the scenes for years as a hip-hop ghostwriter. “Working in hip-hop taught me how to be strong as an artist,” he says. “I’ve been in the studio with actual killers and it taught me to be respectful, focus on the work and that ego is counterproductive. The things I learned from hip-hop I use every day in music and in my personal life.”

Struggling in the past with abusive family relationships and addiction issues, Sev learned to take a humble approach to music and to life as a whole. “To go from some people telling me I’m a piece of shit drug addict to now being told, by some people, that I’m a fancy pants-y Hollywood music artist who’s had everything handed to me is a constant source of inspiration. It taught me that most people have messed up perceptions, unfortunately. As a result, I relate with those who are told they’ll never be shit, and those who are told they don’t deserve what they’ve fairly earned.”

One thing you can unequivocally say about Seven Davis Jr is that he doesn’t quit. The decades-long wait between honing his skills in his first studio around 1999 and achieving artistic autonomy have afforded him time and solitude to develop into a mature and multi-faceted artist—somewhat detached from, but never indifferent to, the grind of the underground dance music world. His label, Secret Angels—launched in 2016 with a trio of Sev releases—provides a glimpse of the sounds one can expect from his curation. “The fourth release is actually by a group called Freekazoidz and is due out on vinyl in August. Releasing three projects of my own first was just me jumpstarting the label.” When asked about specifics, he cagily divulges, “we have a lot of releases from other artists coming up on Secret Angels, and they’ve got some really cool sounds I think people should hear.”

On a personal level, Sev has a handful of projects on the go as well. A fourth full-length release album is in the works, and it sounds like once again Seven Davis Jr will be playing with genres people may not expect. “It’s not going to be dance/house or electronic music. Not leaving the dance community, just going to spend time in other musical communities I belong to as well,” he says, still explaining he does not wish to be pigeonholed. In addition to releasing productions under his main moniker, he tells me he also has a soul/hip-hop-ish alias to watch for. That project, Mean Bacharach, will be making appearances “soon” according to Sev. In between (and after a two year hiatus), you can catch him returning to the circuit this year and next both as a DJ, and as a performer, alongside Texas-based Jazz collective Raché.

Whether he’s cranking out moody, soul-infused downtempo, or working on dancefloor-filling house cuts with Julio Bashmore, Seven Davis Jr is an artist who continually impresses. His signature vocals lend a unique texture to a style already oozing originality—the sky truly is the limit for this multitalented singer, songwriter and producer.

Follow Seven Davis Jr by checking out his website sevendavisjr.com

By: Logan Knoll

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.