Its 12:30 in the afternoon and Im weaving through the congested Atlanta traffic like an Indy 500 driver
trying to make it to the offices of Upfront Megatainment, and not be late for an exclusive meeting with
industry music mogul Devyne Stephens. Devyne Stephens is no ordinary individual. He is a vehicle that has been more than instrumental in
crafting, honing, and developing some of the biggest talents in the world into the megastars that we
have come to know and love. He has gone from Usher to TLC during the days of the LA Face emergence, and now in
an era of Akon, T-Pain, and event Lady GaGa. They are all, in some way, a reflection of Devyne Stephens. I finally
made way to the elevators where I was greeted by an office worthy of MTV Cribs. As I entered into the office, I was greeted by Shara,
Devynes assistant, who escorted me to the moguls private office. The walls are adorned with platinum
plaques: Lady GaGa, Mary J. Blige, Gwen
Stefani, Jagged Edge, and a host of others. It was an undeniable testament of Devynes talent, which
spans over two decades.
Finally, I am greeted by Devyn Stephen’s.
AllHipHop.com: Im going to take it back to a special that I saw on television and it showed you working with Usher,
who at the time was right on the verge of becoming who he is right now. I just remember thinking to
myself wow this guy is amazing, to be able to bring out that x-factor is quite a talent, and honestly when
I saw that show it was way before I even knew that I would be in entertainment. So, to be sitting with
you is kind of mind blowing, but more so a compliment to your longevity and abilities. How did all this
come to be?
Devyne: Well, I started out from very humble beginnings, as a little kid from the projects that always had
a love for the arts. I took that love and the belief that I could do anything that I set my mind to and it
paved the way to where I am now. In the time period that youre speaking of, I was working with LA Face, and was responsible for
about 95 percent of the talent that generated from that brand, (Usher,TLC,Toni Braxton, Goodie Mob,
Pink, and Outkast). I mean, the list goes on and on.
AllHipHop.com: Absolutely impressive, so what your main objective or responsibility with these artists?
Devyne: Working in artist development, the key objective was to refine each artist without taking away
from his or her uniqueness and find a way to make it pop.
AllHipHop.com: Okay, so how does the process work? Does someone just come to you and say hey I want to be
Devyne: (Laughs) No, first of all, they must have the talent to be able to sing or rap; I cant create the
talent, however, I can bring it out.
AllHipHop.com: And how is that done?
Devyne: Well, once the level of talent has been assessed, we bring in the best of the best as it pertains
to staging, choreography, vocal coaching, physical training, hair, make-up, and the whole nine.
Collectively, we brainstorm and create an impressive body of work.
AllHipHop.com: And that you have most definitely accomplished. So now my question to you is, what is it about
you that provides you with the ability to see something in someone that others may not see or even
get? Do you have special super powers or something?
Devyne: Naw, ha ha, its not about me, its about the artist, thats the way it should be. It puts complete
focus on the artist and creates the opportunity to really study and develop the talent in a manner that
brings out their x-factor. You know that thing that separates them all the rest.
AllHipHop.com: I see, so we know that unique is not always good, have you ever had anyone question any of your
decisions? Or have you ever had an artist that was responded to in the way that you had hoped?
Devyne: Not too often, but when I initially introduced Akon and even T-pain, some people were
skeptical and didnt think that they were going to do well. Now they are two of the biggest names in
music internationally. So to answer your question yes, there have been times when people didnt always
see my vision, but I think the thing to remember is when God gives you a vision or a dream, its not
always meant for people to understand or comprehend and thats why he gave it to you.
Devyne: Too often, we seek approval from people who give us every reason why this wont happen or
this cant work, but at the end of the day you have to believe in you. Too many dreams never
manifest, not because the ability wasnt there, but because someone said no you cant. People have to
be the driver of their own destiny.
AllHipHop.com: Man that was powerful.
Devyne: Its just the truth, little brother.
AllHipHop.com: No doubt, and I can definitely dig it, so Devyne, how do you stay so humble amidst so much
Devyne: Well two things Jaiden, everything that I do and all that Im doing is a blessing from God. I dont
see how anyone could become arrogant or narcissistic about something that is Gods absolute favor.
Secondly, when you define success, if it is not perceived from a financial perspective then the ability to
stay humble is quite easy. When youre doing something that you love to do, it cant or shouldnt be
measured by monetary value.
AllHipHop.com: Define success as it pertains to you.
Devyne: Honestly Jaiden, success for me is being able to be a blessing to someone else. With me, its
always been about the people and giving back, ya know, sewing good seeds.
AllHipHop.com: And that is why your being blessed in the manner that you are, I know you have to go so I wont
keep you much longer, but I do want to know about 2011. I know that you all are looking forward to a
very vibrant year over here at Upfront Megatainment.
Devyne: Let me tell you lil bro, in 2011 we will be seeing the launch of so many amazing artists. Were
looking forward to, of course Akon and T-Pain etc, but whats even more exciting are the newer projects
like Kelly Rowland, Audio(formerly known as B5),Tuff Cookie They are going to set 2011 off in a very
major way, other than that we will be doing what we always do over here, working hard to provide
America with the best of the best in music.
AllHipHop.com: Man, I cant wait; its so phenomenal to see so much talent being birthed here in Atlanta, though
we dont always get the proper credit from other places.
Devyne: I have been here to witness decades of artist, most of which have been the biggest acts
in history, and hear me when I tell you that Atlanta has grown, not just in music, but also in corporate
America. We have HBO and Coca Cola here and so many more, not to mention Tyler Perry. And
honestly, Atlanta has a grasp on the music industry in a manner thats yet to be compared, so it s safe to
say that Atlanta is the new Mecca.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of Tyler, youre also holding your 3rd annual Christmas holiday party this year right?
Devyne: Boy you be on it Jaiden ha ha, but yes sir I am hosting our third annual Christmas party Dec 22
in honor of Kenny Babyface Edmonds and also the accomplishments of Tyler Perry Studios. This is an
evening that will host so many well known and respected individuals in Atlanta, that this is the one you
want to be at. Its my way of paying homage to people that I respect and admire from both a business
and personal perspective.
AllHipHop.com: Oh yeah, Im definitely there.
Devyne: Somehow I figured that ha ha.
AllHipHop.com: okay so one last thing before you go, what will be under the Christmas tree this year?
Devyne: For real Jaiden, I cant even lie, I have my assistants doing my shopping for me. Im so busy with
the music and all I havent had time, but they know me like a book, so its all good.
AllHipHop.com: No doubt, I feel that, well hey, thanks for taking time. I know your very busy today; I will see you
Devyne: All Good lil brother.