Rising music star Davo tells HollywoodLife that he makes ‘psychedelic’ music that’s ‘outside of the box,’ and such creativity shines in his the noir-inspired video directed by his ‘mentor’ and ‘bro,’ Tory Lanez.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and for Davo, the son of a music legend, necessity birthed one eye-catching new music video — one that proves why he is going to be the next big thing. Shot in Los Angeles right before COVID-19 arrived – “Right before everybody was locking down,” Davo tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY – “Say Something” pays homage, visually, to 2005’s Sin City with its use of black, white, grey and red. Sonically, it’s like no other, showcasing Davo’s unique songwriting and captivating voice.
“Greatest music I have heard in a long time!” Tory Lanez shares with HollywoodLife. “Refreshing sound that I never knew an artist could attain. Unique in it’s own right, but still gives you that comfortable feeling of surreal music”
As the son of Junior Marvin – the lead guitarist for Bob Marley and the Wailers – it seemed natural that this Kingston, Jamaica native would follow in his father’s footsteps. “I grew up playing reggae, drums, guitar. It’s like a part of me,” he tells HollywoodLife. But, after taking in so many different musical influences (“I have inspiration from all over,” he says), it seems that no one genre can contain Davo. His upcoming debut album, LXD, is an 80s-inspired mix of pop, R&B, and hip-hop, with a fair blend of psychedelia thrown in.
“I’m just the type of person who likes to experiment,” he says. This experimentation and artistic talent led Davo to write and produce several records for stars like Rick Ross, Fabolous, and the man he calls a mentor. “Tory is like my little bro, but he’s also like my big bro because like he works so hard, and I’ve seen him go through so much in the industry.”
Davo talks with HollywoodLife about his own upbringing, what advice his dad has given him to help his journey, how it was like to work with his dad on the song, “Señorita.” Davo also shares with HollywoodLife which artist he wants to see Tory go up against in a Verzuz (and which artist Davo thinks would “probably crush Tory– I’m not gonna lie.”
HollywoodLife: You have said that you make “dark, beautiful, psychedelic R&B.” What inspired you to go in this music direction? Was there a transformative moment – like discovering a Jimi Hendrix/The Doors/Chambers Brothers record when you were young?
Davo: Jimi Hendrix was one of my favorites actually, because my dad was really into his music. I loved how Hendrix was so experimental on guitars. He reminds me of my dad, who lived in London too, and played guitar and who I also saw as a rock star. So he was already kind of like a Jimi Hendrix to me, and Jimi was his biggest inspiration. So him being my dad’s biggest inspiration and my dad kind of being my biggest inspiration…
Jimi was definitely an idol of mine, his music always gave me a euphoric type of vibe and different out of this world kind of thing. And I’m just the type of person who likes to experiment. I like to do things that make me feel like I’m outside the box. That’s why I got into like the psychedelic kind of music and sound. I just like stuff that makes me feel like I’m not in a normal state. Sometimes I like to feel like, you know that kind of high feeling. My music does that for me.
What was it like shooting this new music video? Was there something you wanted to do but had to get cut due to time/budget/COVID?
I shot a music video for “Say Something” in Los Angeles right before COVID hit – right before everybody was locking down. So, it kind of shut down studios for me as I was supposed to shoot it with like a way bigger budget. So, we just shot it in the house that we were staying in Los Angeles. We got our own camera crew apart from the camera crew that we usually use.
So yeah, it took some away from the video, but we still made as creative as possible. I shot another video at my house when I quarantined back in Florida, when I left LA, for a song coming out. I shot bits of it on my roof, and I made it look like I was in a studio. I shot scenes in my backyard and made it look like I was in the woods. I rented a cop car, did some cool looking scenes, so I kind of think COVID forced me to get more creative, to be honest.
Your forthcoming debut is called LXD. At first, I thought it was just a smart take on “LSD,” with you inserting the “X” as the “X factor,” that undefinable element. But, the title stands for “Live and Dream,” right? What inspired you to christen the project this?
I’d seen my dad on tour, you know, when I was a kid, and I dreamed that it was my own show and I saw the crowd and then saw myself in the future. I’ve been on tour with Tory Lanez when we were younger, like 2013 – that was also like a dream come true. I lived out that tour and imagined living it out for myself. So it was like just reaching my goals in life, and now I’m living them.
So it’s like, you have to dream, you know what I’m saying? To have these goals and to have these great dreams, but if you can’t live out your dreams, it means nothing. I got that quote from Bruce Lee, to be honest, I’m not even going to lie to you. So that’s the main reason why I named the album LXD because you gotta be able to live your dream, man. That’s what it’s all about.
You work with your father, Junior Marvin, on the song, “Señorita.” First off, what was his reaction when you suggested working on a song together?
I mean, me and my dad, we always worked on music growing up. I always told him I wanted him on my project. He’s been waiting to do some guitars and stuff. One time he was in Florida, I just told him, hey, come on, do some guitar takes on the song. And he did a bunch. He did like so many guitar takes, like different melodies. Like I could probably make like albums out of the shit that he just did in probably 20 minutes. I just took little pieces, and I just added it to the song, like an outro. It was pretty cool working with my dad. His reaction was just like hell yeah, come on, let’s do it. I think when we were actually doing it, he was probably, we were smoking. So I feel like he was a little tired, but everything came out perfect. Like, even though he was damn near falling asleep on the guitar because we were smoking weed all day. It was hilarious, but it was great. It was a great experience.
Secondly, being that your father has been involved in the music biz (and that he’s your dad), was there a time that you didn’t take his advice, but you should have? Be it a personal or professional moment – like, is there a moment when you wished you listened?
I mean, there are many times my dad tells me things, and sometimes I might forget or maybe just don’t listen. I mean, I feel like it’s my experience, but at the end of the day, he has told me things that have helped me along the way. He’s always given me good legal advice, and how to go about certain situations.
I usually don’t make a decision without going to my dad first. So most of the time, I do listen to him because he’s like, you know, he’s been like in the industry he’s gotten it done. He’s had deals and like situations in the industry before where people didn’t treat him good – like he didn’t do contracts and they took advantage of him and took his money. You have to fight in long court battles and lawsuits for years. So, I mean, now he’s good, but it’s like, you know it was hard. So for me, it was like I don’t want to experience that situation.
On the flip side, did you ever feel any pressure to perform reggae? Not from your dad, specifically, but from some kind of expectation that you had to, being the son of Junior Marvin.
Yeah. I mean, I always felt like I had to do reggae because it’s like where I came from, but I love reggae so much that I want to get back to it. I don’t want to just make reggae my main thing because I don’t feel like it is my main thing. I’ve lived in America for so long, like even in New York — so I have inspiration from all over.
But reggae is like a place that’s like deeply rooted in my soul. I grew up playing reggae, drums, guitar. It’s like a part of me. So, I feel like 5 or 7 years into my career I’ll transition back into reggae, but I’m still going to always mix it up. Maybe when I get a little older, I’ll grow my dreadlocks long, you know what I’m saying? Like Bob taking over the world preaching, you know what I’m saying? Like Jah music, which is like the word of God, God’s music, speaking out of the Bible. So yeah, I never felt pressured to do it, but I mean, sometimes I do feel like I should be making reggae just because it’s a part of me.
So maybe like in my next couple projects, I’ll put like a couple of reggae songs, you know what I’m saying? I feel like I need one of them. I want to make like a weed song, a marijuana song, stuff like that, so you guys should be looking out for that soon. When I first started my music career, I was always doing like dancehall, reggae type of songs. So yeah, man, I mean, it’s just a big part of my life.
Speaking of mentors, what would you say is your biggest takeaway from working with Tory Lanez? Like, what’s the piece of wisdom or knowledge that has resounded the loudest with you?
Tory is like my little bro, but he’s also like my big bro, because like he works so hard and I’ve seen him go through so much in the industry. He’s always given me advice along the way. My dad always tells me, like, ‘look at the people that work the hardest and people you think are going to help you get the furthest because brothers of a feather flock together.’ And it’s like me and Tory are always on this path and you know, a page out of his book. Whenever I used to go on tour with him, I’ll see him wake up before everybody and run straight to the studio room on the tour bus, close the door and just start singing melodies, rapping, and freestyling, and he wouldn’t stop.
Like even recently like, like where we would go to LA or anywhere we go, like we have a house in LA. We have like, I’d say like, who knows 30 girls in the house and there’s a party going on. All the girls want Tory because he’s the star, but yet he still finds a way to run away from the party, duck out, disappear and be up in the studio recording a whole entire song, making a hit while people are downstairs partying and not doing shit, but he still finds his way to work. So that’s always been like something that I’ve taken out of Tory’s book. I always thought about like times where I feel like people are wasting time – let me go and just use this time wisely and use my talents. You know? So Tory is a huge mentor, I mean like inspiration and I get a lot from him because he’s a hard worker.
I have a lot of mentors when it comes to producing. Like my older cousins that produce and my cousin Luna Angel sings, she’s a big mentor for me because growing up, she was like the first of my family, since my dad to really be in the music industry. She was always writing music with big producers and recording music. She had her own project, she actually featured me on one of her projects a long time ago. She always gave me advice with the music industry.
I want to say my biggest inspiration in music probably ever is my big brother, Richie Rich, Ricky Ricardo. He’s a huge inspiration, and he’s been the guy that always inspired us in the neighborhood and all around. He was rapping first, and even Tory looked up to him. When Tory used to live in Canada, when he left Miami, he used to call my big bro just to freestyle to him to show him how good he was getting. Yeah, man, Richie Richie was one of the biggest inspirations set to lead that there.
Finally, it seems these Verzuz battles will keep us afloat until it’s safe to go to a concert again. If you could pick two artists to go head-to-head, who would you choose? Bonus question — who would you pick for Tory to go up against, assuming IG hasn’t gone and foolishly suspended his account again.
I would love to see Snoop Dogg versus like P. Diddy or something. That would be crazy. I would love to see Snoop Dogg versus P Diddy. And I would love another one for R&B to be Usher vs. Justin Timberlake.
This has been awesome. Anything that fans should know before we part?
Look out for my album coming out. LXD I got two more projects also coming out after that. It’s like an 80’s kind of retro project mixed with the modern sound. I might call it Retro Davo and another project called Rockstar Dreams, and it’s like a joint project with my little cousin Young Justo. It was a pleasure doing this interview with you guys. I love you guys for having me. Jah Bless.
“Say Something” Is Out Now