“Velvet Negroni is essentially just a version of myself that I don’t take too seriously”, says Minneapolis-born R&B artist Jeremy Nutzman when pressed to elaborate on the relationship between his ‘real’ self and the artistic alias. For Nutzman, who has been working for years under a vast array of monikers—once upon a time, before growing into his current delicious-sounding name, he was known as Spyder Baybie Raw Dog and Pony Bwoy—the double-ended approach to life seems essential.
On the one hand, Velvet Negroni is an extremely earnest project, in that it is truly all about the music. Nutzman seemingly sincerely detests the trappings of being a musician in the age of social media fuff; not the one to overshare, he spends his time locked in his studio, working through sleepless nights and daydreaming of going on the road with his creations to see “which songs I enjoy performing the most and what the audience enjoys the most”. On the other hand… the man used to call himself Spyder Baybie Raw Dog, so surely one is not wrong for suspecting there’s a healthy dose of humour undermining everything he does.
Indeed, Nutzman’s dark twist on R&B suggests a particular strain of playful existentialism: life is too hard to be taken seriously, and too funny to be hard. Intrigued? We know we are. Here are just a few (serious!) reasons to pay close attention to the mysterious artist ahead of the release of NEON BROWN, Jeremy Nutzman’s debut as Velvet Negroni, out on the 30th of August.
Velvet Negroni’s sound is haunting and sensual… his videos even more so.
The first single off NEON BROWN is CONFETTI, a title that immediately brings to mind cheap thrills and easy fun, but instead reveals an underbelly full of dark epiphanies. The video, directed by Isaac Gale & Jeremy Nutzman, depicts a solitary trip to a hibachi restaurant that feels almost like a purging ritual, or a trip to a confessional. It’s weird, eerie and sexy—this is Velvet Negroni, shaken not stirred.
“Isaac and I were both coming up with concepts and ideas based on how the song made me feel. I pictured being in a hibachi restaurant ran by a friend of mine, being somewhat jaded about an experience with a girl. I just thought it’s not the typical setting for that type of situation, but was still honest to myself.”
He couldn’t care less about a ‘follow for follow’.
The second single, WINE GREEN, arrived with a lyrics video illustrated by Jeremy himself. If you choose to follow Velvet Negroni on Instagram you’re in for a treat—but don’t expect any conventional promo material customary of an artist about to drop a hot new record. His feed is all drawings, collages and graphic work, an output that is both mysterious and directly personal.
“I draw all the time in my spare time. I will most likely do an art show of some sort in the near future but for me it’s just another form of creative expression. I’m not really into using Instagram the traditional way and don’t find myself using social media much at all. I think I just like posting it on my page because I hate posting things about myself.”
A personal introduction is to be made very soon…
On Tuesday the 5th November Velvet Negroni is making his Amsterdam debut as part of his extensive European tour. He has previously toured with Tame Impala, so he’s no stranger to putting on a show—the time has come to have a taste of Velvet Negroni in his full flavour.