Jan 31, 2019

Blood Orange visits NPR Tiny Desk concert segment for an exuberant & intimate performance.

Kyaira Ortloff

by Kyaira Ortloff


There is absolutely no uncertainty when it comes to understanding just how perplexingly gifted Blood Orange, formally known as Dev Hynes, undeniably is. From withholding a stellar vocal ability, producing at master level, to writing such vivid and powerful songs, Dev is living proof that he creates with dedication, giving everything he conceives artistically his undivided attention and divine focus. On January 29, Blood Orange performed 4 paramount tracks for from their now 4th studio album, Negro Swan, for NPR’s Tiny Desk concert segment. With Ian Isiah & Eva Tolkin on vocals, Mikey Freedom Hart on the keyboard, & Jason Arce on saxophone, the ensemble takes their performance to unfathomable high grounds, beginning with the song “By Ourselves”. As Dev plays the piano, Ian and Eva harmonize beautifully over light chords until Jason comes in with heavy saxophone, highlighting the intensity that the song carries. Ashley Haze, a spoken word poet, then enters the performance delivering a touching and relatable story about growing up as a “fat black girl from Chicago” & how it was thanks to Missy Elliott through quotes that she learned to shine her brightest.

Dev proceeds to transition into their next tracks, “Jewelry”, “Holy Will”, & “Dagenham Dream”, all of which where Dev talks deeply about his experiences—from growing up in East London to even touching souls with a mezzo-soprano solo from Ian Isiah himself. Dev opens up a bit and even gives insight into his creative process, expressing how “It’s kinda crazy to play these songs like this ‘cause I don’t write them like songs” and also mentioning how “it’s kinda crazy to learn them and do ‘em. They tend to all be written at the same time and I gradually build them so that they connect. So it’s cool, it’s interesting. Hope you can feel the vibe in this.” With this, Dev creates an interpersonal connection throughout the room in this moment, drawing hearts, minds & souls to the forefront through each section of the presentation.

Press play to watch Blood Orange’s ineffable performance here.

And familiarize yourself with his Negro Swan project below.