Published on August 8th, 2019 | by Guest Editor0
Music Mogul Devyne Stephens Talks Longevity in Entertainment, Legacy
Akon, Diddy, T-Pain, TLC, ‘N Sync, Usher, Alicia Keys, 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige….Megan Thee Stallion. These are just a few of the big names that Atlanta-based music mogul Devyne Stephens has worked with, nurtured and developed over his illustrious career spanning more than 25 years.
As the CEO of Upfront Megatainment, a label and full-service entertainment and consulting company, Stephens has been vital to the success of many of the nation’s musical icons, providing guidance in every aspect of their careers from production, vocal training, public image, fitness, dance lessons and media coaching. His expertise and attention to detail concerning musical talent over the years is why he remains a major, respected force in the industry. Not to mention, he creates superstars. He is this generation’s Berry Gordy.
Stephens started off pursuing a career as a singer in the early 1990’s and was the first artist signed to LaFace Records with his group Devyne featuring 90 Miles Per Hour. They broke up and never released an album, but Stephens took that same artistic fervor with him behind the scenes. From there, ended up in artist development and truly found his calling.
Today at Upfront, he is constantly seeking the type of artists he refers to as three-dimensional, someone like a T-Pain, who can write, perform and produce. That uniqueness, fits well into the fabric of his label that aims to produce many more stars in Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop and International genres.
“Artists like that are special and do not come around too often, so whenever you can find talent like that, it is a major thing,” Stephens said. “Especially, when they come in contact with the type of support we offer at Upfront, that is where the magic happens. My focus is finding something unique and bringing it to the marketplace.
In an age where likes and trends on social media often distract from real talent, Stephens notes, it is one thing to be hot for a few years, but another to have long-lasting success.
“Everyone isn’t built for the long haul,” he said. “Some artists think that because of social media they can take shortcuts, but the business is still based on relationships. The only thing that has changed is how you service it, and how you provide content. The way you develop the product is the same and if you shortcut the development process, it will catch up to you.”
There are certain people Stephens knew for certain were destined for a steady and prosperous career. An example is Diddy, who he describes as having remarkable passion, ambition and a drive that he had not experienced with anyone else, which is why working alongside the Bad Boy originator remains among his favorite career moments.
Stephens is a visionary, so it is easy for him to identify with individuals who have larger-than-life aspirations. His aim is to be significant, and not just in music. In fact, what he is most proud of, is his philanthropic work.
His non-profit organization, Devyne Intervention, is centered on supporting the growth and development of youth through music and education. He frequently spearheads back to school giveaways, holiday toy drives and other community efforts to give back to the youth. He has been planning to open a children’s hospital, forge more collaborations and strategic partnerships on a global level. In his eyes, bringing value is not only how you remain relevant, but how you leave a positive imprint on society.
“I am always willing to share knowledge and empower others,” Stephens said. “I think that is why I have gained the level of respect I have over the years. That is how I define my work and my legacy, based on how many people I am able to help.”
At the end of August, Stephens is embarking on a week-long Australian tour with Akon as they gear up for the singer’s first album in years.
Follow Devyne Stephens on Instagram at @devynestephens.Tweet