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Velvet Negroni

Velvet Negroni's Jeremy Nutzman creates kaleidoscopic jams and stark reveries that blur the boundaries between R&B, rap, rock, and electronic music. Whether imbuing his songs with surprising juxtapositions and haunting distances on 2019's Neon Brown or emphasizing the exhilarating spontaneity of his music on 2023's Bulli, Nutzman always brings a fresh perspective to familiar sounds. Born and raised in Minnesota, Nutzman (who is Black) was adopted into a white evangelical family at a young age. His mother, a fundamentalist missionary, had him spend hours practicing classical piano and training as a competitive figure skater. Secular music was forbidden at home, but Nutzman snuck out late at night to play guitar with his first band. After graduating from University of Northwestern, he moved to Minneapolis and began making music in earnest. He first worked on the hip-hop project Spyder Baybie Raw Dog, then collaborated with Hunter Morley in the duo Pony Bwoy, whose blurry take on R&B presaged Nutzman's later music. Pony Bwoy released a pair of albums before disbanding, but Nutzman continued the duo's introspective sound on his own. In 2016, he christened his solo project Velvet Negroni, taking the name from a pricey cocktail. His first appearance under that moniker happened later that year, when he worked with producer Tickle Torture on the single "Full Court Press." The following August, Velvet Negroni's debut mixtape, T.C.O.D. (short for "the climb of decay"), arrived. Its murky, dreamy sound caught the attention of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, who invited him on tour as a support throughout 2018. "Waves," one of the songs from the mixtape, helped shape the sound of "Feel the Love," the opening track of Kanye West and Kid Cudi's collaboration Kids See Ghosts, and earned Nutzman a writing credit on the song. To make Velvet Negroni's first album, Nutzman enlisted Tickle Torture and Psymun as co-producers, and Neon Brown arrived on 4AD in August 2019. That year, Velvet Negroni also appeared on Bon Iver's album I, I. In 2020, Nutzman contributed to "Let Us Rave" from Naeem's album Startisha; the track was released as a single in 2022. Velvet Negroni returned in January 2023 with Bulli, a more fragmented but still catchy version of Neon Brown's genre-mashing that reflected a turbulent time in Nutzman's life.
© Heather Phares & Liam Martin /TiVo


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