Devonté "Dev" Hynes (born 23 December 1985), also known as Lightspeed Champion or Blood Orange, is a British singer, composer, songwriter, producer and author. He has written for artists such as Florence and the Machine, Diana Vickers and The Chemical Brothers on their 2007 Grammy award winning album We Are The Night. He is currently signed to Domino Records.
Hynes was born and raised in Ilford, Essex . He was educated at the Chadwell Heath Foundation School, now known as Chadwell Heath Academy. He has resided in New York since 2007. The name 'Lightspeed Champion' comes from a series of comic strips Hynes drew as a teenager in his school mathematics books. Hynes was voted the 49th 'coolest person in rock' in NME's 2007 Cool List, jumping to position 20 in the following year's list. From their formation in 2004 until their break-up in 2006, Hynes was a member of the band Test Icicles, playing guitar, synth, and occasionally performing vocals. They released only one full-length album (For Screening Purposes Only) in 2005.
Hynes is currently producing and working on songs closely with Solange Knowles on his third studio album which is set to release in early 2013 alongside Mutya Keisha Siobhan on their debut album.
1 Falling off the Lavender Bridge,
2 Writing and producing for other artists,
3 Soundtrack and classical performances,
6 Blood Orange,
7.1 Lightspeed Champion
7.1.1 Studio albums,
7.1.4 Official bootlegs,
7.2 Blood Orange
7.2.1 Studio albums,
7.2.2 Remix albums,
10 External links,
Falling off the Lavender Bridge:
In early 2007, Hynes recorded his debut album in Omaha, Nebraska with Saddle Creek producer Mike Mogis, most famous for his involvement with the band Bright Eyes. A number of Omaha-based musicians appear on the record, including Mogis himself, trumpet player and pianist Nate Walcott (also of Bright Eyes), The Faint's drummer Clark Baechle and guest vocalist Emmy The Great - along with moonlighting members of Cursive and Tilly And The Wall.
These recording sessions resulted in the single "Galaxy of the Lost", released on 30 July 2007, and the album Falling off the Lavender Bridge, released on 21 January 2008.
Hynes has also recorded a number of bootlegs and unofficial releases, made available to the public through his blog and MySpace. These include an album written and recorded entirely in a day and an EP consisting only of covers of Green Day songs.
Writing and producing for other artists:
Hynes has also written and contributed songs to a number of other acts. His arrangements and vocals have appeared on songs by The Chemical Brothers ("All Rights Reversed", from 2007's Grammy award winning album We Are The Night, which entered the UK Albums Chart at #1), Basement Jaxx (on their album Scars), as well as on Florence and the Machine's #1 album Lungs and songs by Solange Knowles.
Hynes has co-written and produced songs for Diana Vickers on Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree, another #1 debutante on the UK Albums Chart. He has also produced and written songs for the forthcoming Theophilus London album, including the Lovers Holiday e.p.
Hynes contributed music to the 2010 film MacGruber, including the duet "Rock My Body" with Saturday Night Live cast member Kristen Wiig. In late 2011, he produced Australian noise-pop duo Bleeding Knees Club's debut album Nothing To Do, which was released on 2 March 2012.
Hynes has co-written the song "Everything is Embarrassing" for Sky Ferreira.
He is currently working on the new Solange Knowles album and on news songs for Mutya Keisha Siobhan and Kylie Minogue.
He worked with Britney Spears on her 8th album, Britney Jean, to be released late 2013, but confirmed that none of his songs made the cut on November 6 via Twitter.
Soundtrack and classical performances:
In December 2008, Hynes was asked on behalf of The British Film Institute to perform the Soundtrack of the cult Hal Ashby film Harold And Maude after a screening of the performance. Hynes then had to cancel this due to an operation he had to undergo on his throat. The event was rescheduled for May 2009. In July 2009 Hynes will reprise the soundtrack and perform at Latitude Festival.
In June 2009 Hynes performed at The Barbican in London in commemoration of the composer Moondog. Singing renditions along with London Saxophonic of songs from the Moondog Album "Sax Pax For A Sax". He also sung "Fujiyama part 2" backed by The Britten Sinfonia conducted by André De Ridder and Andi Toma (Mouse On Mars).
In April 2010 Hynes returned to The Barbican to perform with The Triffids for a special concert in honor of their singer Dave McComb along with Warren Ellis, Tindersticks and members of The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
In December an EP titled "Bye Bye" was released in collaboration with composer Van Dyke Parks.
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The touring band for the Falling off the Lavender Bridge album at various points consisted of friends of Hynes' from other bands, including Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, and UK singer-songwriter Emmy the Great. Mike Siddell, formerly of Hope of the States, plays violin with the band. He is a prolific musician and a core member of the Brighton based Willkommen Collective, playing with Willkommen bands such as Sons of Noel and Adrian, The Leisure Society and The Miserable Rich. He also plays with Troubles and made a guest appearance on the debut EP by A Genuine Freakshow.
Anna Prior, formerly of Leeds bands Dead Disco and The Ivories, played drums for most of the tour. Other guest members to have contributed in live shows include Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, Faris Badwan of The Horrors, Frederick Blood-Royale of Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man,Jack Peñate and Eugene McGuinness as well as We Are Scientists' Keith Murray on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on 6 June 2009.
Backed by a full band he appeared at the NME 2008 Awards, broadcast on Channel 4 on 29 February 2008, dressed as characters from Star Wars, including Princess Leia on the drums. The band's affinity with Star Wars continued when they played the main theme to the trilogy at O2 Wireless Festival 2008. Hynes and a violinist Mike Siddell began a short U.S. tour in March 2008, ending with an appearance at SXSW 2008. At SXSW they befriended The Wombats, and ultimately supported them at a Royal Albert Hall concert. Hynes also performed with We Are Scientists at Glastonbury 2008, with latter's front man Keith Murray joking to Zane Lowe in a post-show interview that "he owed us a sandwich!". Hynes appeared at Belgian music festival Pukkelpop in August 2008.
By the end of what became a two year touring period, Hynes had suffered severe damage to his throat, and had to undergo extensive surgery.
He then took a lengthy two and a half year hiatus from touring, popping up occasionally to play shows in New York and a top billed slot at the Carling Festival in 2009. He returned for a 2 week European tour in June 2010. The touring band for that tour consisted of the band Spacekamp who are also the backing band for Adam Green.
On 9 April 2012, he embarked on a tour as Blood Orange opening for Florence + The Machine.
In March 2008 Hynes self-published a small comic book titled I'm Asleep - Comics, Photographs and Illustrations to mark the release of Falling off the Lavender Bridge. It featured comics by himself, Ferry Gouw, Faris Badwan of The Horrors and Gary Card, and photography by Hynes.
June 2009 saw the release of the book Punk Fiction: An Anthology of Short Stories Inspired by Punk, which featured a short story by Hynes titled "The KKK Took My Baby Away..." (from the Ramones song of the same name), described as a "comedy sci-fi monologue". Proceeds from the book went to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
In October 2009 he also contributed two comics and stories to the group CTRL.ALT.SHIFT's comic anthology as well as being a judge with Marjane Satrapi in judging a national comic competition where winners had to adapt a script written by Hynes. Hynes contributed the stories "Behold, King Listpin III" and "Juice This!". The anthology is titled "Unmasks Corruption". There was a gallery exhibition at London's Lazerides Gallery to coincide with the event which launched at Comica.
His first collection of short stories titled "Bad Era Of Me : A Collection Of Short Stories by Devonté Hynes" is scheduled to be released by February 2010.
With Lightspeed Champion on effective hiatus, Dev decided to concentrate on a new musical project more focused on electronica called 'Blood Orange'.
Various Blood Orange live performances have taken place in New York and London within November and December 2009, consisting of Hynes, a guitar, and a laptop.
On 17 December 2009, Hynes performed a Blood Orange song titled "Forget It" on the final It's On With Alexa Chung show on MTV. He performed to a backing track dressed in a wizard costume.
Hynes' debut single under the moniker Blood Orange, "Dinner", was released in January on Terrible records, with an accompanying video directed by Alan Del Rio that debuted on Pitchfork TV. Following this, his full-length record Coastal Grooves was released in August 2011 on Domino records. Two tracks from the album, "Sutphin Boulevard" and "Forget It", were released as singles.
The Blood Orange song "Sutphin Boulevard" featured in the 17 January 2011 premiere episode of the MTV show Skins.