Words cannot express how excited I am about the new Blood Orange album, Freetown Sound, which is out now! Devonte Hynes has been a major part of my life for the last 4 years in a way that may not seem big to others, but major to me. Let me take you on a little trip and explain why. In 2012 I discovered his Costal Grooves album. Upon first listen, I was hooked. It was completely different from anything that I was listening to at the time. Also at that time I began to really take being an artist/musician seriously. It was with this album i began to realize that just because I was a 22 year old African American male, I didn’t have to fit into some form of mold. I would sit in my room and think about how dope it would be to work with Dev. I began to find a way to get in contact with him; I started emailing his manager and tweeting him. Months went by as i began to slip into the lowest slump I’ve ever been in. I began to really dislike myself. My music wasn’t going anywhere, I had no job, I had dropped out of college….it got to the point where I didn’t want to get out of bed at all. I decided that I no longer wanted to feel this way so I figured I’d give music another shot. I uploaded an acapella cover of “Champagne Coast” on my soundcloud and figured why not tweet him the link. When he favorited it, I felt on top of the world. I just knew I was getting closer to working with him. In July of 2013, Dev sent me a DM on twitter asking me for my email address. A few months later, he emailed me and told me that I was dope and to send him my latest jams. All I had at the time were acapella covers and one original song on my soundcloud. I didn’t care, I just wanted him to hear me. At this moment, My spirits were immideiately lifted. I began to feel better about myself. I started to take care of myself and think positive. As I did, my life began to turn around. In late 2013 Dev announced his second album, Cupid Deluxe. I started uploading acapella covers of the songs from that album. Dev and I stayed in contact for a few months. He would favorite tweets here and there and that’s all I needed to know he was still watching. In February 2014, Dev tweeted that “I was the future”. I still pinch myself to make sure that is really what it said. In April 2014, Dev invited me to perform with him at the Cutty Sark Prohibition Launch in Brooklyn. This wouldn’t be the first time that he and I met, I briefly met him after a Solange show in DC where I told him how Coastal Grooveschanged my life. When I walked into the venue Dev was on stage sound checking with the band. I will admit, I was nervous as hell, but my excitement was slowly taking over. After we did our soundcheck, Dev introduced me to a few people and I just felt welcomed into his world. Having been bullied a lot growing up, it was amazing to finally feel like people wanted to be around me for once. Its now time for me to go on stage. This was my first time performing on stage in front of a crowd of this size so I was nervous. We performed “Always Let You Down”, and after we were done I felt incredible. Everyone that came up to me after the show said I did amazing. Once again, Dev brought me into something that made me feel beyond incredible. As months went on, I continued to work on my music. With a new found confidence, I went on to perform with Kindness, Spector, MOTHXR, and D∆WN. I released my debut EP ‘Honeymoon Motel’ and I have started working on my own live show. Flash forward to now, there’s still one thing that I have yet to do and that is get in the studio with Dev. It was and still is one of my biggest goals. To work on a song or however many we come up with. With his new album out, I am more than excited. I know that we will work together when the time is right. Freetown Sound is more than just another Blood Orange album to me, its more so another soundtrack to the next milestone in my life. Dev, if you're reading this, THANK YOU! Thank you for taking a young black man with low self esteem and a dream and allowing him to see just how incredible he could be in this crazy world. You’re an incredible spirit, an amazing person, and no one will ever be on your level!