Seven Davis Jr.: A Recluse on the Verge
Seven Davis Jr.
Seven Davis Jr.'s music blurs the lines between funk, house, R&B, and other genres.
The strange thing about him? He's an artist who values his privacy.
Recently drawing interest from important industry players and on the verge of breaking through, the 32-year-old Davis records at his in-house Glendale studio, and dislikes telling a reporter much about his personal life.
"I was not born," the self-described recluse jokes during a video chat. "I appeared one day."
Eventually he'll let on that he was born Samuel Davis in Houston, Texas and shuttled between Houston and the Bay Area throughout his youth. Davis' parents exposed him to funk, blues, and gospel, and he played music early. "I think the first toy I ever had was a toy keyboard," he says.
In Houston, he sang gospel and played keyboard in blues clubs. In the Bay, he taught choreography and ghostwrote/produced for underground hip-hop acts (though he won't say which ones).
Davis also toured with MC Hammer's choir, and says he once auditioned to be a dancer for Destiny's Child.
Dancing eventually led to Davis' interest in house music, which he says is a big influence on him now. An L.A. resident for the past seven years, Davis also writes poetry and TV/film scripts. His self-published e-book of free verse poetry, Life in Deep Space, is available on Amazon, but he keeps mum about the scripts.
Since moving, Davis has forged a friendship and musical kinship with DJ/producer Kutmah and his nascent independent label IZWID. (One of the L.A. beat scene's founding fathers, Kutmah was formerly L.A. based but deported to the UK.) Davis' latest, excellent, EP release on the label, November's The Lost Tapes Vol. 1, features soulful, electronic modern funk.
Though the music seems fresh, the tracks were actually recorded and rejected by labels in the late '90s, when Davis struggled with drugs and depression. He declines to elaborate on the time, calling it only "dark."
Now drug free for two years, Davis' career has started to take off - he says major labels have shown interest, and that's not hard to believe. His breakout song "One" - just under seven minutes of grooving, funky house - was number eleven on Spin's '50 Best Dance Tracks of 2013' list.
Davis will perform at L.A.'s Boiler Room in February, and his next EP, P.A.R.T.Y. (he describes it as his take on jazz-house) drops in March on UK independent electronic music label Apron Records. Afterwards he's headed to live and tour in Europe, performing at three separate Croatian music festivals. (In case you'll be there, they are the Garden Festival, Outlook Festival, and Dimensions Festival.)
"It feels good that people are relating to the music I'm putting out," he says, in all sincerity. "It puts a big cheesy smile on my face."
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