One to watch: Velvet Negroni

The US singer-songwriter’s free-ranging debut is informed by the constraints of a strict evangelical upbringing

Artists such as Velvet Negroni are emblematic of the disintegration of distinct genres in the streaming age. Real name Jeremy Nutzman, under his current moniker he makes gorgeously expansive sounds that meld and melt the lines between everything from lush synthpop, experimental electronic and choppy rap to reggae and dub.

Born in Minneapolis, Nutzman was adopted by a white evangelical Christian family and boxed in by stringent rules. From the age of five he would play classical piano for at least an hour a day; secular music was forbidden. In an interview with the Fader, he described discovering a pile of abandoned CDs on his neighbour’s lawn, though all his attempts to hoard such treasures – even hiding them in air vents – were found out.

Going to college (and eventually dropping out) allowed Nutzman to spread his wings and start writing. Since then, his music has inspired Kanye West (the hook for Feel the Love with Kid Cudi nodded to Velvet Negroni’s Waves), and he features on Bon Iver’s recent i,i.

Nutzman’s debut album, Neon Brown, is about to land on 4AD (home to Grimes and Deerhunter), and is informed by recreating those teen years without pop music; in Nutzman’s words: “the time when music is supposed to be the most impactful and exciting is when I was getting the least of it — which lends its way to how I write and interpret things”.

Watch the video for Confetti by Velvet Negroni.
  • Velvet Negroni’s Neon Brown is released on 4AD on 30 August


Tara Joshi

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
One to watch: Cookiee Kawaii
Blending Jersey club music, Chicago footwork and silky slow jams, the TikTok star is much more than one viral hit

Kadish Morris

10, Oct, 2020 @1:00 PM

Article image
One to watch: BenjiFlow
The north Londoner is rooted in grime and hip-hop, but brings a world of other sounds to the party

Kate Hutchinson

06, Jun, 2020 @1:00 PM

Article image
One to watch: IAMDDB
Diana Debrito’s fierce mix of hip-hop, trap and jazz has the critics buzzing

Tara Joshi

31, Mar, 2018 @5:00 PM

Article image
One to Watch: Denise Chaila
This Limerick livewire is confidently challenging both misogyny in rap and Irish hip-hop identity

Tara Joshi

06, Feb, 2021 @2:00 PM

Article image
One to watch: Louis VI
Mixing Amazonian rainstorms, British birdsong and uncomfortable truths on the climate crisis, the London rapper-producer’s richly musical work moves up a gear

Tara Joshi

08, Apr, 2023 @1:00 PM

Article image
One to watch: SL
The young British drill artist cuts an enigmatic figure in his trademark ski mask, but his talent is unmistakable

Tara Joshi

16, Feb, 2019 @2:00 PM

Article image
One to watch: Sad Night Dynamite
This top Somerset duo rustle up a spooky brew of hip-hop, dub and notable vocalists including FKA twigs and Moonchild Sanelly

Damien Morris

11, Sep, 2021 @1:00 PM

Article image
One to watch: Iggy Azalea
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea talks to Kate Mossman about being taken seriously and doing things the Kanye way

Kate Mossman

24, Mar, 2013 @12:05 AM

Article image
One to watch: Jockstrap
The London-based duo serve up retro-tinged experimental pop in a fantastical second EP

Jude Rogers

12, Apr, 2020 @4:30 AM

Article image
One to watch: Vegyn
The self-taught producer’s debut album confirms his star status

Tara Joshi

09, Nov, 2019 @2:00 PM