Dev Hynes Goes To Water Island And Doesn’t Forget His Jewelry

By
Photography Bruno Staub

Published September 6, 2018

“I started wearing jewelry for the first time this year,” songwriter and producer Dev Hynes says. In the days leading up to the release of Negro Swan, his fourth studio album as Blood Orange, Hynes spent the weekend in New York’s Water Island with photographer Bruno Staub and Interview Creative Director Mel Ottenberg. Here, he reflects on the lyrics to “Jewelry,” a single from his album featuring words by Janet Mock.

———

 “Jewelry”

 

Janet Mock: So, like, my favorite images are the ones where someone who isn’t supposed to be there—who’s, like, in a space, a space where we were  not ever welcomed in, we were not invited. Yet we walk in and we show all the way up. People try to put us down by saying, “She’s doing the most,” or, “He’s way too much.” But, like, why would we want to do the least?

 

Cheap on your skin, smooth

Jewels that ring

Shine hit your eyes

Black kiss the ring

Ruby ebony sides

Change my eyes for something, cool

A dream never leaving my sight

A sun never leaving my side

A feeling, a door starts to close

I’m feeling the burn in my eyes

The eyes of a heavy beast

Suited to staying indoors like a good nigga

I treated the hope like my home

And destroyed it, go figure

Still proud, best of my abilities

Still I think about an exit

No one ever will appreciate

The way you bare your soul for them to attune

I’m through

I’m through

Cheap on your skin, smooth

Jewels that ring

Shine hit your eyes

Black kiss the ring

Ruby ebony sides

Nigga, I’m feeling myself

Nigga, I’m still in my zone

Got big books but I’m broke

Nigga, I’m feeling myself

One time for the help

Two times fore I fell

Three times for the hopeless feeling

Look at how I’m spending my wealth

And I’m feeling myself looking up

But then the thoughts start filling me up, me up

Nigga, I’m feeling my, nigga, I’m feeling myself

One time for the help

When the news is way too fi’

And a man get shot on the passenger side

Too bad cos a nigga went live

Nigga, I’m feeling my, nigga, I’m feeling myself

Seek what you need to get by

Awake with one eye closed

In dark black clothes

Red and blue lights on my stone

Go back to being unknown

Relax your hair

Tuck your shirt

Put your glasses on

Play your guitar.

 

Shirts by Comme des Garçons. Shorts by Gucci. Vintage Tank Top from Cherry

DEV HYNES: “I wanted to think about the stereotype of black success, but then owning that and being like, ‘Why can’t I have these things? Why can’t I shine and floss?’”

Coat by Burberry. Sweater by Bottega Veneta. Underwear Dev’s own

Sweater by Valentino. Shirt (around waist) by Woolrich. Vintage T-Shirt from Cherry. Hat Dev’s own

DEV HYNES: “I have this multicolored bracelet. I wear it in my video, but you can’t really see it. It’s a mix of rectangular pink, purple, and turquoise stones. I’m really into silver and fake things. I live around Canal Street, so I end up seeing all kinds of things like that.”

Shirt by Woolrich. Leggings by Givenchy. Vintage T-Shirt from Cherry. Bandana Dev’s own

Jacket by Bottega Veneta. Shirt (around waist) by Woolrich. Vintage Tank Top from Cherry. Leggings by Givenchy. Bandana and Necklace Dev’s own

Skirt by Undercover. Vintage Tank Top from Cherry

DEV HYNES: “I started wearing jewelry for the first time in my life this year. For the first time ever, I feel like I’m in a place where I can spend. I barely spend money, even on things I need. This year was when I decided to step up my music equipment game. That was something I saw as frivolous, because I was still able to make music before. I guess that’s a product of how I was raised.”

Coat, Sweater, and Shorts by Gucci. Vintage Jacket and T-Shirt from Cherry

Sweater by Bottega Veneta. Skirt by Vivienne Westwood. Anglomania Vintage T-Shirt from Cherry. Underwear Dev’s own

 

DEV HYNES: “By the end of the song, I start thinking about my life and childhood. I’ve tucked my shirt in my whole life. I used to relax my hair. I used to always play guitar when I was alone in my bedroom. It’s about being young and having no strict identity.”

Shirts by Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello

Jacket, Flannel Shirt, T-Shirt, and Pants by Balenciaga

———

Styled by Mel Ottenberg
Makeup: Susie Sobol at Julian Watson Agency
Production: Marcos Fecchino
Digital Technician: Sara Lewis
Photography Assistant: Ryan Petrus
Fashion Assistants: Malaika Crawford and Rasaan Wyzard
Production Assistant: Stefan Christopher