OUT OF THE RABBLE RISES A STAR

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One of the biggest stars in the business recently Said to him, “Kid, you’re a rock star now. You need to walk into an environment and be a star.

Be a star. Be a full-time rock star. You’re here”.

He recently signed on with Yelawolf, one of the top hip-hop artists in the world. He will soon be leaving on a world tour for the first time.

He was just a kid, abandoned by his father, had a doting mother and grandmother and a step-father that wasn’t exactly on the same page with him. His siblings looked up to him because he was the oldest and their guiding example. He goes by the name of Devin Hype. He is a native of Hemet.

Why is he worth a feature story? Because he earned it the hard way.

He more or less grew up around the Wheelhouse Skating Rink in Hemet, became interested in being a D.J. and while still in high school, his ambition was to someday become a star. Most of his contemporaries and almost all adults in his life were constantly telling him to “get a job.” After high school, he got jobs here and there but continuously strived to become more efficient in pursuing a life’s ambition of becoming not just a local D.J., but a big name, traveling and touring the country with thousands of fans.

Jesse Vivanco, owner of The Wheelhouse, grew from a skating rink into a double business, adding a bar and grill which became TWH Bar and later Derby’s Bar and Grill. He hired Devin to D.J. for many dance and other events that required a D.J. Over a period of several years, Devin would come into the bar every day, sit down at the console and strive to perfect his craft. He became very adept at what is known as ‘Scratching.’ Eventually, he would start D.J.ing at other local events and then he spread his wings a bit further and began getting work in surrounding cities and a few gigs out of state. His detractors continued to laugh behind his back, but he kept at it. I had the privilege of securing an exclusive interview with him yesterday because I learned that he was about to become the star he always wanted to be. So here is his story in Q&A fashion:

Q. I understand you are about to be going on tour soon with a major star. Tell me about it.

A. I had been doing some spot touring and after 2015, I hooked up with a guy known as LIGHTER SHADE OF BROWN, and from then came COVID, which silenced all live events and I found myself out of work. I had to do something to exist. I was forced to sit down and evaluate myself as an artist and personality. Nobody knew or anticipated the toll this new virus would take on the live entertainment industry. My big opportunity came with I hooked up with Yelawolf, a major hip-hop artist.

Q. Before we get ahead of your story, let’s backtrack to the beginning. Where did it all start from your viewpoint?

A. OK. I guess I have accomplished things that nobody expected of me.

Q. Skeptic that I am, even I am excited about what’s coming up.

A. We all are. After suffering years of struggle, always being low on the totem pole, always being treated as though I would never prosper, that maybe I should just do it as a hobby and not get out of the box. For me to be the only one in my industry locally, that was actually moving into something higher. I’m extremely grateful for that. I’m humbled. I’m like, this is amazing. This is me. Not somebody else. One can talk about all the things he is going to do, talk forever, but when you actually do it, you surprise even yourself. It’s crazy. I think about it all the time. Yeah, it actually worked. It is all about patience and persistence, never giving up. Getting this close to the diamond. You can easily give up because you’re tired of digging.

Q. Did you sometimes think maybe they were all right and you ought to give it up?

A. OK. I never stopped believing in myself. Of course, just like anyone else, I had those moments, those days, those weeks when doubt jumped up at me. You know, something isn’t working, and you have to try something else. You did something and it turned out to be not what it was made out to be. That’s just a part of it. Of course, I made mistakes on the way to where I am now.

Q. Getting smarter every day?

A. That’s the most important thing.

Q. Learning from your mistakes?

A. Absolutely. That’s always going to be the truth. I should tattoo that on my chest. When I was touring with A LIGHTER SHADE OF BROWN consistently up until COVID hit hard. They left me hanging. I couldn’t travel, couldn’t do live performing. My career came to a standstill. I had to make up my mind. What did I want to do? I decided then that it actually gave me the opportunity to change directions. I wasn’t really happy with what I was doing. I had basically been doing the same thing for five years. I was in a rut. When you work with a group or artist who is doing this for a novelty feat, being young, I wanted to do current things. I wanted to make a name for myself. With that group, there was no prospect of going forward. It was like doing exercises in a standstill manner. I had no prospect of going forward. I’ll admit, I gained a tremendous amount of experience from touring with them but it was time for me to move on. I was being hung out to dry and didn’t know when, if ever, I would be able to pursue my career. So I took a chance and restyled myself. I knew I was not alone and there would be plenty of competition when the virus subsided and artists performed live again. There were no guarantees for me and I knew it. I took the risk and worked hard to become what I needed to become and here I am.

Q. You found yourself surrounded by thousands on the same sinking ship, all trying to survive.

A. Exactly. It was the darkest place of my life. I first ended up DJing in a local Mexican Restaurant five days a week and making survival money for a while.

Q. Then your life took a very unexpected turn.

A. Boy, did it. I fell in love with a beautiful girl with three beautiful young daughters. No matter what I did, I knew where my heart and soul would be from now on. Before long, she was pregnant with my son. Having your own son, your own flesh and blood that belongs to you is like being struck by lightning.

Q. Along with that came 18 years of certain responsibility.

A. Amen to that. He came along just as things began to open up for live performances. For some time, I had been studying the work of a Hip Hop Artist known as Yelawolf. A major artist who had worked with EMINEM. Being a father changed my whole perspective but not my ultimate goals. Aware that no matter my future from here on, I will be traveling a lot and away from family. I’d also have to learn to deal with that aspect. Now that I’m a dad, I have responsibilities. My life is different. The way I treat everything is different. My characteristics are different. I look in the mirror. Kids. Kids are a pain. A lovable pain. Now I understand what a pain I must have been to my mother. I look at myself and say, “Wow. I’m in charge, being both parent and step-parent. But I love them all.

Q. A rude awakening?

A. All of this happened within a year’s time. I put a lot of thought into what I would do when I took on these responsibilities. But having my own family has brought a peace and sense of person that I never had or even knew existed before. I love this girl and I love all four of the kids. Those little girls are precious gifts that I never expected. I know that they love me, too. I was a step-child and I certainly learned from that what not to do as a step-parent. Believe me, I will never make the mistakes that were made with me, and I will never be what my father wasn’t. I’m stubborn and have always been stubborn. There’s no time frame. People think that things happen in the moment. Some folks come at me now and say, “Oh, you’re so lucky.” Luck is not what I got. I have no luck. I have sweat, tears, hard work and dedication. It is easy to call it luck. They find it hard to say that I deserve everything. I put in the work. I often sat in an empty room with nobody but myself.

Q. You have always been loved by those who know you.

A. That also helps change things. Knowing that you are loved within your circle. Your friends become family.

Folks if there ever was a story of becoming successful because you waded through the fires and storms of life, this is it. Keep it up and keep your head high Devin. Just sayin’ [email protected]

Rusty Strait | Senior Reporter

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