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DaVionne is Listening to Her Life.

After a long period of grieving in silence, DaVionne is finding the most honest and effective ways of sharing how she processed it all.

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Jeffrey Ade

Writer

Updated

On February 18th, 2024, I received the unfortunate news that DaVionne was unwell and our interview date would have to be changed. However, a week later, despite a lingering cough, sat a seemingly full-recovered, 24-year-old woman on Zoom, whose bright, closed-mouthed smile and enthusiastic greeting instantly set a positive tone for an hour-long deep dive on grief and growth. 

"Buenos Días!" DaVionne projected while quickly adjusting her camera and placement on the couch. It was 7:45 AM Eastern Time, but she was fully dressed in a crop top and long pants, with her hair braided and beaded to a tee. Compelled to engage in conversation, I figured her recent health issues would be the perfect icebreaker to begin our interview. Considering her response to being asked whether her sickness resulted from working on her recent EP, Good Grief, I quickly sensed DaVionne was an unfiltered and unapologetic personality. 

Photos by ColinClassics
Photos by ColinClassics

Finding Realignment With Her Purpose. 

“I never go outside... I promise you I’m not just saying that” DaVionne clarified, not surprised to have caught the flu while celebrating her project release at the club with a few friends. And though the simple statement possibly validated her point, it early on in our conversation encapsulated her introverted nature and the atmosphere in which she faced the most obstacles, personally and professionally. After all, following the success of her contributions to “Sleep Deprived,” a single from the Revenge of the Dreamers III compilation album, DaVionne was forced into lockdown with the rest of the world, putting a halt to the momentum of a video shoot, an opportunity to tour, and a Grammy nomination. 

For the next three years following the lockdown, those following DaVionne may have assumed her downfall, speculating the transition from a peak moment in her musical career to hearing little of her artistic endeavors after the fact. However, any expectation for an upcoming artist to smoothly navigate an uncharted pandemic was unfair. After all, DaVionne never stopped creating but experienced the difficulty of doing so while fighting through an exhausting 9 to 5, working through the depression of heartbreak, and other factors provoking a troubling mental state. Despite the journey, in the end, being recognized as a necessary one, the process reflected tendencies that proved detrimental to her well-being and problem areas that in solving would later form the “Good Grief” EP.

Under overwhelming circumstances, DaVionne knows herself to live within two extremes of isolation, one being a devotion to developing her musical talents, the other on aspects that solely feed her basic living necessities, like work. Unfortunately, for a longer part of her hiatus, DaVionne defaulted to the latter, a vicious cycle of what she described as operating constantly outside of her purpose. Admittingly, being slow to process experiences in real-time,DaVionne unknowingly was grieving until eventually connecting the dots between her feelings and a past conversation with her therapist. 

“She was like, “Yeah girl you’re grieving, and you know, your body can’t really tell the difference between like the death of a person or a relationship. It’s all the same.” DaVionne explains. But as potent as the information was, she recalls her “What am I doing?” moment stemming from issues presented in her record “Twin Flame,” which details intimately trying to fill a void of a lost partner before uncovering the issue behind wanting to recreate an experience through different variables. However, manipulating conditions in her daily life out of curiosity to see its outcome is a practice that exudes the “nerd” in DaVionne. In grief, it practically allowed her to undergo trial and error that taught her to listen to her life and take control of it using sound judgment.

Photos by ColinClassics
Photos by ColinClassics

Taking “The Artist” Out of The Driver Seat. 

Luckily, her efforts before the hiatus were not in vain. In June of 2023, DaVionne was one of three artists highlighted in the Alicia Keys documentary “Uncharted,” representing the challenges behind navigating the music industry as a young female talent. Alongside continued opportunities from “Sleep Deprived,” DaVionne has built a strong community over the years, allowing her to maintain relevance in the shadows of self-development. But feeling cemented in those relationships, Good Grief tackles the reach of a broader audience, “regular people,” who influenced its conciseness, from digestible lyrics and melodies to its shortness in length at 14 minutes and 43 seconds. 

Although often placing music in the forefront, DaVionne set new intentions for her reintroduction to the public, with the Good Grief EP playing a secondary role to her ongoing docu-series, “Opening Up.” With two episodes currently available for streaming on YouTube, watchers are given a humanized perspective of her through a brief narration of her upbringing, artistic process, and personal/private life. And while the series is ongoing, its attentiveness to what is behind the music is emphasized, and rightfully so, considering her multifaceted background. 

Beginning from utilizing her biblical journal as a songbook, DaVionne today is a testament to discovering an early sense of self. In fact, at only eight years old, traumatized by the experience of having her songs thrown away by a classmate, Da'Vionee was provided with enough insight into her purpose in music. 

“He was just on some hater shit, and it just really hurt my feelings,” she expressed, attributing that moment to developing a determined outlook on her musical talents. But with her father supporting her interests, her household game room became her home studio, equipped with an interface, microphone, cords, and software to make working solely on her computer possible. For the next few years, DaVionne would intentionally lay low, exploring and strengthening her craft in guitar, audio engineering, producing, and recording. And despite pulling from her influences in the church and some knowledge she gained from her older sister (a fellow musician), DaVionne found it necessary to stray away from any expectations that would later stifle her creative expression. 

At first, achieving that freedom was difficult, as DaVionne recalls making music but refraining from releasing it due to projections. That changed, however, after turning 18 and associating her age with the maturity to make decisions completely unaffected by outside opinions. Her EP, Exes and Oh’s, was an experiment on that idea, with songs like “YGMFU,” blunt in lyrical content, and a critical moment in her career as an artist. Not only did the song force a defining conversation between her and her mom, but it also helped her recognize a support system that would remain unchanged throughout her development process. And DaVionne continued to see this kind of support as time progressed, whether it was through her friend, Domani, solidifying a spot for her at the Dreamville camp, Baby Rose motivating her there to create the songs that would land her a feature on “Sleep Deprived,” words of affirmation from J. Cole himself, and as mentioned previously, the “Uncharted” documentary. As a result, DaVionne gained newfound confidence in recognizing she was living in her truth, which became the foundation for shaping Good Grief, a body of work that represents ten years of music experience, from her songwriting to her vocal abilities, mixing chops, and production skills (in collaboration with producer, Natra Average).  

Photos by ColinClassics
Photos by ColinClassics

Embodying the Yang. 

Now at the “Sharing” stage of her EP release, DaVionne is already revisiting the skeletons of an album set aside for the sake of Good Grief in 2019. The transition from one project to another has been smooth, considering there is a starting point to return to, refine, and expand on. However, taking a different approach, DaVionne is looking to shift her focus from being a consumer of her favorite music to a student of her favorite artists and the “greats” she had not been introduced to growing up. That said, she is in no rush to complete her newest work and instead enjoys “intaking, studying, experimenting, and being 24.” After all, her life experiences allowed her to write Good Grief along with her works in the past. 

As dark as Good Grief was in subject matter, DaVionne is active in turning a new leaf, allowing her creativity to reflect the idea of goodness and essentially have it be the Yang to the Yin of her latest project. 

“When you look at life, 9 times out of 10, something that’s not the best experience is going to jump out at you first,” she explains, supporting her writing usually deriving from a negative emotion considering the weight it holds and the necessity to pour those feelings back into her music. Though seemingly after years of hurting and healing, DaVionne is ready to embody lightness, acceptance, and happiness, which she is sure will change the aesthetic of her sound. 

In the meantime, watching herself from a birds-eye view through unreleased footage of her docu-series has motivated DaVionne to continue developing behind-the-scenes content. It would not be the first time since a few of her past engagements with her audience/fan base included movie nights on Discord, live writing sessions, and screen sharing during her recording process, which all received positive feedback. That is not to say she plans on replicating those endeavors but instead feels encouraged to interact with her fans again on an intimate level. 

But this has not changed the fact that for most of her career, there was no responsibility felt to please her audience. She has always believed in sharing within her comfort and how speaking without a filter only encourages people to feel entitled to their opinions. Keeping an eye open to the climate around her, DaVionne is aware of the rabbit hole and what decline it would bring to her well-being, having to question whether she is good enough, liked enough, pretty enough, and whether making changes to her appeal would be able to solve that. As important as her creativity is to her, DaVionne has yet to allow that negativity to enter her inner matrix. However, she is aware of the audience her music may bring and hopes she can convey the human experience in a way that can touch and reach many people. 

Stream 'Good Grief'. : https://found.ee/DaVionne-GoodGrief

Photos by ColinClassics
Photos by ColinClassics

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