Devyne Stephens: Branding King
Devyne Stephens is an branding machine. What that means for an up and coming artist is that he can take them and help to create an image all their own. Having already worked with some of today's most prominent artists such as Mary J. Blige, Akon, Mariah Carey and so on, he is being cast as the next Andre Harrell. He has came up with the novel idea of having a one stop shop simply titled The Complex. This space allows artists to receive everything from dance lessons, to grooming in one location. With that being said it is clear why he is the branding king. Everyone he works with reaches new found levels of success. It is also clear why he is the man that you want your seal of approval from.AllHipHop.com: Tell me about Upfront Megatainment and what it consists of?Devyne Stephens: Upfront Megatainment is a true 360°, go to company. Its made up of the Upfront label, distributed by Universal Music; The Complex, a state of the art incubation facility for artists and athletes, including a top of the line rehearsal studio, Glam Squad wing, photo studio, nutrition and fitness wing, media training, choreography studio and more; Dreamland, an 18,000 square foot mansion on 19-acres outside of Atlanta, a hotspot for ATLs most exclusive and upscale events; Cartel Management guiding the careers of tomorrows stars; Upfront Digital Media, which features Whos Next, a viral global talent search; Spotlyte Agency, a renowned dance agency and Upfront Films production company. I also have my Devyne Intervention Foundation. We got a lot of great things happening right now.AllHipHop.com: You seem to cover all of what is needed to groom a star. Media training, salon, fitness, etc. Why is it so important that you have all of these facilities into one complex?Devyne Stephens: It makes it efficient to keep an eye on the process, as well as for the artist to have everything self-contained. I find it to be very effective. AllHipHop.com: Tell me about your relationship with Akon and the role you played in securing him from his ill fated deal.Devyne Stephens: I discovered Akon, became a mentor to him during a difficult time in his life, groomed him professionally and then brokered and negotiated his present deal. He's a great friend and business partner. AllHipHop.com: Tell me about a few of the artists that you have directly worked with and your role in their path to success. I heard that you worked with TLC and Usher at one point.Devyne Stephens: I've been fortunate to work with so many great artists...Gwen Stafani, Usher (since he was 12) , Mary J Blige, Mariah, Diddy, even Sting the list really does go on and on.AllHipHop.com: What qualities do you look for when working with a talent?Devyne Stephens: I look for their drive and passion to succeed, their charisma, you know, star quality. I also look at how well they work with others, their overall personality. I look at the total person.AllHipHop.com: They are labeling you the next Andre Harell. That is a lot to build up to. What do you think about that?Devyne Stephens: That's really an honor to be thought of in that light. Andre Harrell was certainly one of the best in the game. I really want to give my clients the opportunity to achieve their dream and to help them grow as a person and professionally.AllHipHop.com: What is one of the most important pieces of advice that you give an artist?Devyne Stephens: I like to tell artist to follow their dreams, to work hard at it and to get their mind right so they can handle what life puts in their path. AllHipHop.com: You grew up in a not so good neighborhood. Has any of those experiences aided you in your career journey today?Devyne Stephens: The struggle has kept me grounded.Thats what keeps me motivated to give it my all everyday. AllHipHop.com: Tell me about Devyne Intervention.Devyne Stephens: Devyne Intervention is my charitable foundation to give back to the community and to the kids. We sponsor community events, teams, do toy drives during the holidays. Turkey giveaways for Thanksgiving, try to provide second chance and opportunities in life , help those incarcerated and just give back to the less fortunate. AllHipHop.com: You also are working on Whose Next. Tell me about thatDevyne Stephens: Who's Next is a virtual worldwide talent search we about to launch. We'll span the globe looking for the best talent on a global basis, this is gonna be really big. AllHipHop.com: You work with artists with their brand. In today's music where it is so competitive, how important is having your own brand for an artist?Devyne Stephens: It's always important to build brand awareness in creating household names. The brand can be as important as the product itself.... AllHipHop.com: What can we expect from you in the future? Projects?Devyne Stephens: The expansion of everything that we're currently laying the foundation for. A multifaceted business from start to finish encompassing a lifestyle conglomerate.