DE’WAYNE’s latest song follows previously released singles “Walking To Work,” “I Know Something” and “Perfume,” the last of which features Awsten Knight of Waterparks. “Stains” functions as a perfect launching point for the new album, a kind of manifesto in miniature.
The album follows a long battle by the artist to find a place in the music industry. DE’WAYNE has been upfront about his struggles. The artist has spoken candidly about the hardships he faced after moving to L.A. to pursue a career in music.
“[I] really went to the school of being dirt poor, learning how to write songs and about where you want to put your voice in the world,” DE’WAYNE says of his journey.
In this sense, “Stains” functions as a culminating point, a statement of principles or a declaration of autonomy.
“I got passed up on by several labels that didn’t understand me or where I could fit, which fueled my whole album, but especially this song,” the artist adds.
It’s clear from the first listen why “Stains” in particular speaks to DE’WAYNE’s life experiences. The track opens with a defiant address to the labels who passed over his music. It’s proud insistence that the artist has great achievements in his future. His fury and energy are perfectly matched by the music. The track sets his ambitious lyrics against scorching guitar and a propulsive drum track.
Visually, the animation sees DE’WAYNE tearing his way through the halls of “Viper Label.” On his way, the artist hurls his record out like shurikens, as if insisting on the power of his sound.
Even so, “Stains” stands for more than just idle rage. The track perfectly encapsulates the attitude of an artist who is finding his own way, not defining himself against others.
Around the 38-second mark, a distinctive interlude interrupts the song. Here, deep drum parts plunge under mellow brass riffs. The episode gives off the unapologetic cool of someone who simply can’t be bothered with the people who don’t understand.
DE’WAYNE has been known to experiment with genres, dipping casually into hip hop, R&B, punk, pop and beyond. However, it’s this sort of play with form and genre that marks him as a musical puzzle and a true innovator.
DE’WAYNE thrives across boundaries, finding comfort in a middle ground that many others don’t dare cross.
“I’m such a student of music,” DE’WAYNE says to Alternative Press. “Even before this call, I’m just jamming [to the] Velvet Underground. Lou Reed is one of my idols, but then I’ll be listening to some of the hardest rap stuff. So, I grew up on rap music, but then [in] the past four or five years, I’ve been studying the art of just writing songs. I really just think it’s a study. I didn’t go to college, but I was just studying this, and I trust my taste and trust the people around me.”
“My message is just the same as far as really trying to write a great song,” DE’WAYNE continues to Alternative Press. “I try to understand them and put all of the things that I love into one being. At the moment, I think we’re doing a good job of it. And I know it’s tough to do with blending those genres, but just studying it, I think, is really paying off for me so far, just being a student of the game. I want to write really great songs, and I’m happy that people are starting to see that and understand that I can do that.”
DE’WAYNE’s shows off his unique, self-tutored approach on “Stains.” Even so, the artist matches his experimentation and versatility with a clear sense of purpose.
The song is bookended by the motoric refrain, which returns with a vengeance. As DE’WAYNE repeats his opening declaration, the video shows him climbing the heights of success. Ultimately, the singer’s path is clear, bringing him money, an armload of Grammy awards and crowds of adoring fans.
STAINS is available for pre-order here and the video for “Stains” can be watched below.