D4vd From Gamer To Alt-Pop Star, New ‘Petals to Thorns’ EP

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Tired of being pinged for using music in his gaming videos, Texas teenager David Burke – known professionally as d4vd – he decided to make his own. Armed with only BandLab and an iPhone, he began scoring game montages. Early virality prompted him to think bigger, and by the end of 2022, d4vd had hit worldwide with “Romantic Homicide” and “Here With Me” without even setting foot in a recording studio. Both are featured in their highly anticipated debut project “Petals to Thorns” today via Darkroom/Interscope Records.

Like many young men, D4vd was obsessed with “Fortnite” when it came out in 2017 and started posting videos on YouTube like the game hero Ninja. “I saw the videos he shot and used the same music,” the 18-year-old recalls. “Only mine will be removed due to copyright infringement.” She complained to her mother, who suggested that she make her own songs. Inspired, I ran Google: “I looked at how to make music on the phone.”

Early compositions such asyou and meShe soon found love in the gaming world. “I would go inside Hans Zimmer Grab your bag and start composing songs for ‘Fortnite’ montages,” she says. Last year, she joined TikTok and got off to a rough start when an exaggerated cover of Beyoncé’s song “Blue” went viral for all the wrong reasons. “I got a lot of hate,” she laughs. “The comments were saying things like ‘Hey, drop it’ and ‘You have a secret talent, hide it’.”

Instead of giving up, D4vd released more covers, turning haters into fans. “It has become a huge phenomenon,” he says. With momentum on his side, the internet-savvy teen is back again. “I used the fan base I gained at number one to further my real music.” The first song she connected with beyond social media was “Romantic Homicide”. The bleak breakup song went viral, peaking at #33 on the Billboard Hot 100 and garnering more than 590 million Spotify streams. He then backed up with another shot, “here with me

“I wasn’t even focused on being an artist back then,” says D4vd. “It meant the world to me for people to see and understand what I was doing.” Inspired by the thematic symmetry between “Here With Me” and “Romantic Homicide” – the first documenting new love, the second a raw anthem for the heartbroken – he carried the relationship concept into his first project, “Petals To Thorns.”

The EP tells the story of a love affair from the first rush to the aftermath. “There’s a different vibe every time,” explains D4vd. “Just like the ups and downs of a relationship – getting to know the person, the conversation phase, the intimacy, and then the point where you lose them.” He dabbles in a wide variety of genres including pop, rock, shoegaze, indie and hip-hop to reflect this emotional roller coaster. “You get a little bit of everything.”

Falling somewhere between Bruno Mars and Lord Huron, the sleepy “Sleep Sleep” showcases its surprising versatility. On it, it encourages a lover to ignore the negative thoughts swirling around their head. “I’m really talking to myself and I promise to be there for myself,” admits D4vd. He then dreamed of a love where he could provide the same solace for someone else. “I make sure my future love won’t feel that way about him.”

Many of D4vd’s words are similarly theoretical. “I’ve been homeschooled, so I don’t have a lot of personal experience to grasp,” she says. The singer-songwriter draws her inspiration from everywhere. “It was my love for manga for ‘Romantic Homicide’ and then the Disney movie ‘Up’ for ‘Here With Me,'” says D4vd, listing human watching, movies, TV and books as other sources of inspiration. .

When an idea takes root, D4vd goes straight to her sister’s locker – where she has set up her own DIY studio. He recorded every song in “Petals to Thorns” there, with one exception.

“When I first stepped into the studio, it was difficult to have so many people there,” admits D4vd. “I was in the booth with this $4,000 Norman microphone in front of me and I’m on my phone using BandLab. ‘Man, what are you doing?’ We paid for the session and everything.”

With the intent of being more collaborative, she sent a DM to singer-songwriter Laufey after hearing her EP “Harlem In Love”. “I said, ‘Your music sounds like a warm hug.’” He replied three months later and they decided to do “This Is How It Feels” together. “Laufey made the whole piano and this beautiful piece came together,” he says of the project’s only studio session. “I would never have thought of doing something like this on my phone.”

The wildly eclectic sound of “Petals to Thorns” is doubly remarkable given that D4vd only listened to gospel music growing up. “It was definitely gospel until I was 13,” she says. That all changed when he heard a boy on the bus blast Lil Pump’s song “Gucci Gang”. “’Oh, what is this?’ So I downloaded SoundCloud, went into Pump, XXXTentacion – all the underground guys.”

In 2017, “Fortnite” experienced another awakening when fever broke out. “I’ve been watching all these ‘Fortnite’ montages and someone The ‘Kazakh Weather Forecast of the Neighborhood,D4vd remembers. “I’ve never heard anything like it before. After that I started researching all these different bands like the Fleet Foxes and the Wallows. I love all kinds of music, but that’s what I always listen to.”

His love of indie-rock was initially the source of gentle confusion among fans. “I started without my face, my videos were just BandLab screen recordings,” she laughs. “’Oh my God, he’s Black!’ There were many comments saying. This is the funniest thing. It was a two-month period where everyone learned what I looked like.” You do not care. d4vd excels at breaking expectations and rewriting the rulebook with a DIY hit every time.

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