Live from TED

Building a house of music: Blood Orange at TED2014

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Blood Orange / Devonté Hynes. Photo: Bret Hartman

Blood Orange / Devonté Hynes. Photo: Bret Hartman

Devonté Hynes is a producer, singer, composer, author, and more. He’s spent a lot of his career helping other musicians produce their work, or writing for others. But he also has an amazing solo career as Blood Orange. At TED, he plays the piano and explains how he sees music. And he really sees music — he’s a synesthete. He says, “Every sound I associate with a color, and every color I associate with a sound.” He sees music as colorful streamers ricocheting across the room.

The music is slow, haunting, and beautiful as Hynes describes how he begins a piece by imagining characters, and then trying to create spaces for them, to build a house. And once he’s build the house, he starts to decorate it, changing the texture by experimenting. Finally he has the house built for the characters he initially imagined. “It’s a real fun experience for me. More than releasing music or even having people hear it. It’s a real selfish thing to just look at this picture I’ve created, that I already had in my mind before.”