Domenic Haynes doesn’t hesitate to name Amy Winehouse, Tracy Chapman, Jimi Hendrix, and Erykah Badu as some of his early influences, and it’s because they all have one thing in common.
“A lot of my early influences were people that were extraordinary at emoting,” Haynes said. “I think a lot of my core influence comes from [Amy Winehouse]. I could feel her. I didn’t realize that that was so important to me. From then on, that was the precedent. I had to feel it. It was like if you didn’t move me, lyrics are great, but if the sonics didn’t move me. I didn’t want it.”
Haynes views art as “the bridge between humanity’s ability to emote and think.” It’s what he says allows him to connect with himself, with divine power, and with his ancestors. This same feeling is what the singer-songwriter hopes his listeners experience when they hear one of his songs or watch him perform.
“I’d want them to feel like I did a really good job of being transparent within the process of my personal journey and my growth,” Haynes said. “I don’t like being artificially performative because there’s no medicine in that. The intention is not there. And so, what I want to be received can’t transpire through either. If I’m not feeling it, and I’m singing about this song, then how the fuck are you going to feel it? It doesn’t make any sense,” he later continued.
Haynes is constantly evolving both as an individual and as an artist. His only constant is his standout, effortless voice that ranges from “a gravely baritone to a horn-like falsetto.” The young musician’s art taps into multiple genres, and his unique voice has the ability to mesmerize listeners as they feel through each lyric and melody both physically and audibly.
His recently released single, “Crazy,” takes his listeners on a journey through heartbreak. But instead of using a melancholy beat to accompany his brooding lyrics, Haynes has chosen to couple the hopeless romantic poem with upbeat funk. The single documents “the self-inflicted madness that you experience while pursuing something that isn’t meant for you.”
“[“Crazy”] paints that sorrowful narrative of desiring something that you can’t have, but with these really illustrious colors that are made by the production,” Haynes said. “It’s like a really, really vibrant take on longing, on wanting something and not being able to get it. And in its end, being able to find closure within yourself through that acknowledgment.”
Haynes views his music ability as a gift, and writes with the intention of finding healing from the past and beauty on the other side.
“I think I create from this place of like, a deep ancestral pain. But it’s universal, and I say that because I think this world is made up of a duality. In order for you to attain anything that you want to experience within the realm of emotion, that parallel has to be something. Often, for me to be happy, or for me to experience any feeling of euphoria for this whole human experience, I need to tap into this deep, deep, deep reserve of pain.”
This full-circle experience is evident in Haynes’ music as he chronicles anecdotes of love, loss, and self-discovery.
“Love for me is a vehicle of expression that I can’t seem to stay away from. It’s one that I feel I indulge in very frequently within my life, within my normal life, and it’s a desire for love, and it’s all the facets of love, and how complex and beautiful love is, and how detrimental it can be. I think naturally, that’s just what’s transpired in my experiences in dealing with that, and how I’ve gone about growing, and how love has shaped my intuition, and how love has enabled me to become who it is that I am.”
Much like his past influences, Haynes turns his past and his pain into art that others can use to channel their own amalgamation of emotions. His expressive voice allows the listener to feel every moment of longing, every heartbreak, and every emotion as they search for love and continuously rediscover themselves.
The Atlanta-based musician is currently working on an upcoming project, but you can listen to his current single here.
Photo by: Dylan Warmack
Lead image courtesy of: No Other Agency