Devyne Stephens’ Touch, Something Like Midas

Its 12:30 in the afternoon and I’m 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 […]

Its 12:30 in the afternoon and I’m 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,

Devyne’s assistant, who escorted me to the mogul’s 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 Devyne’s talent, which

spans over two decades.

Finally, I am greeted by Devyn Stephen’s. I’m 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 you’re 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. 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. 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 can’t create the

talent, however, I can bring it out. 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. 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, it’s not about me, it’s about the artist, that’s 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. 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 didn’t 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 didn’t always

see my vision, but I think the thing to remember is when God gives you a vision or a dream, it’s not

always meant for people to understand or comprehend and that’s why he gave it to you.

Devyne: Too often, we seek approval from people who give us every reason why “this won’t happen” or

“this can’t work”, but at the end of the day you have to believe in you. Too many dreams never

manifest, not because the ability wasn’t there, but because someone said no you can’t. People have to

be the driver of their own destiny. Man that was powerful.

Devyne: It’s just the truth, little brother. 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 I’m doing is a blessing from God. I don’t

see how anyone could become arrogant or narcissistic about something that is God’s 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 you’re doing something that you love to do, it can’t or shouldn’t be

measured by monetary value. 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, it’s

always been about the people and giving back, ya know, sewing good seeds. And that is why your being blessed in the manner that you are, I know you have to go so I won’t

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. We’re

looking forward to, of course Akon and T-Pain etc, but what’s 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. Man, I can’t wait; it’s so phenomenal to see so much talent being birthed here in Atlanta, though

we don’t always get the proper credit from other places.


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 that’s yet to be compared, so it s safe to

say that Atlanta is the new Mecca. Speaking of Tyler, you’re 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. It’s my way of paying homage to people that I respect and admire from both a business

and personal perspective. Oh yeah, I’m definitely there.

Devyne: Somehow I figured that ha ha. okay so one last thing before you go, what will be under the Christmas tree this year?

Devyne: For real Jaiden, I can’t even lie, I have my assistants doing my shopping for me. I’m so busy with

the music and all I haven’t had time, but they know me like a book, so it’s all good. No doubt, I feel that, well hey, thanks for taking time. I know your very busy today; I will see you

on Wednesday.

Devyne: All Good lil brother.