7 Wonders: Seven Davis Jr.

Lauded by many as  the ‘next big thing’ thanks to his rugged, soul infused boogie, Seven Davis Jr’s (born Sam Davis) rise to recognition has been anything but an overnight success story. Born into musical family in Houston, Texas,  Davis was into Gospel music early on, receiving vocal training and playing the keys for much of his youth. Teenage exposure to a wider range of genres broadened his horizons, as did experimentation with drugs, with Davis finding himself appreciating ‘Portishead, Tricky and Bjork’, during a time that he described as his ‘psychedelic’ period. Excavated from ’99, some of the fruits of this experimentation are audible on the recently released ‘The Lost Tapes Vol. 1’ EP on Kutmah’s IZWID imprint, with the loose and raw track’s hinting at the imagination and talent of the young Davis. Label execs weren’t as convinced however and Davis decided, at that point in time, to put his own productions on the back burner and make a living as a ghostwriter and dance choreographer in California.

Finding himself disenchanted with the music industry and in the midst of a personal drug problem, Davis’ fortunes reversed when a friend passed some of his tunes on to Kutmah, who was a big fan. Seeing this for the opportunity that it was, Davis sobered up and found his track ‘Thanks’ featured on the Kutmah curated ‘Worldwide Family Vol. 2’, released by Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label. This finally set the ball rolling, and last year’s ‘The One’ EP on Jay Simon’s Must Have Records was a bonafide sleeper hit, garnering acclaim everywhere from here to SPIN. Now on the verge of dropping the ‘P.A.R.T.Y’ EP on FunkinEven’s Apron imprint, it would appear the planets have aligned for SDJr.

Whilst FunkinEven is certainly speaking with no little bias when he describes Davis as, ‘the new Prince’, listening to the material from him so far, the sense that something special afoot is nigh on inescapable. Devoid of any kind of post-production sheen, whilst also completely uncontrived, there is a pretty strong feeling that Davis is ‘the real deal’. We were understandably delighted then, when the chance came up for us to host the first ever official mix from Seven Davis Jr. A melange of casually blended Jazz, Soul, Acid, Funk and House, Hyp 167 is a nice introduction from a man who will undoubtedly be kicking up a fuss at a festival near you this summer.  You can stream or download it below, where you can also read a little breakdown on seven of the tunes featured in the mix, from the man himself.

Seven Davis Jr’s debut European tour begins this week, things kick off at club night comm•une (Dance Tunnel) in East London this Thursday (27th February), full details HERE.

1. ‘So High’ – Secret Mixes & Fixes by Prince

By now it’s obvious that I’m a loyal Prince fan and this track is in my top favorite songs from his archive. I didn’t even know about this Prince song until 2013 when I heard it on a Theo Parrish Boiler Room Tv appearance. This song showcases all the things I like about Prince from his brave lyrics to his playful arrangements.

2.  ‘Music’ – Peven Everett

I’ve been compared to Peven Everett for over 5 years now and it’s a compliment. I had the pleasure of meeting and opening for Peven many years ago in Northern California and that was the first time I ever heard his music. To me Peven’s recordings are nice but he really shines in his live performances and this song in my opinion is a cool blend of both his in studio and live musicality.

3. ‘Bushes’ – Markus Nikolai

Don’t know much about Markus Nikolai and not sure if I’ve ever heard any of his other songs but ‘Bushes’ has been one of my favourite House tracks ever since I first started going to house clubs. When I was an underground dancer there were 2 songs that would always make me totally flip out when they came on at the party, the first is ‘La La Land’ by Green Velvet and the second is ‘Bushes’.

4.  ‘Faith’ – Jay Simon

I had no idea Jay Simon made tracks and stumbled across a link to this remix on YouTube recently. Faith Evans has been a secret crush of mine ever since her early work on Usher and Mary J Blige albums. I think she has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard. Also, her songwriting seems really heart felt and honest. To me she’s up there with Aretha Franklin, powerhouse voices like that. Not sure if Jay Simon has it in his Must Have Records release plans but would definitely like to hear more from him as a producer.

5.  ‘She’s A Fast Persuader’ – Jamiroquai

For some reason I’m in a serious Jamiroquai phase right now. When they first came out I liked them but didn’t really listen to them as much but now I’ve made up for that. They really are brilliant. Jay Kay knows his way around a track and as a vocalist myself, I appreciate his enthusiasm. Their bass players are superb. Anyone who know’s my taste in music, knows that I have a thing for funky bass lines.

6.  ‘Untitled 13’ – Kutmah

Kutmah in many ways is responsible for my music now being available to people around the world, he truly gets my work. Not only do I consider Kutmah a friend, IZWID brother, (and he may not even know this) but I’m also a Kutmah fan. Seriously, he is some kind of mad scientist with his track selections and then his beats are just super cutting edge.

7. ‘Don’t You Worry Bout A Thing’ (Live Recording) – Stevie Wonder

Not only am I a loyal Prince fan but I’m also a loyal Stevie Wonder fan. We all know Stevie has a large archive of music as well but my favourites are from the 1970s era. This recording is from TV performance he did in Germany in 1974. The way he delivered the songs, the unity of his band, background singers, the whole team really seemed happy to be together performing the music and to me that’s what it’s really about. Although I’m still a fan of Stevie, there is something about what he was doing in the 70’s that really touches me.

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