For the generation that watched music videos before the morning school bus and then raced home for afternoon TRL (Total Request Live), the dancing of Sevndeep feels like a welcome return to glory. Onstage, Sevn and his dancers whip it with the hard precision of Britney Spears, while his cavernous, seductive vocals evoke Ludacris and Lil’ Kim. “I like to think of my stage of coming out right now as what Kim would do,” Sevn explains when asked about his professed idol. “They wanted her to feel bad for her sexuality. When I was growing up, they didn’t want you to talk about queer sex, or queer anything. Now I do it as Kim would do it: This is me, take me for who I am, this is how it’s going to be.”
Outside of his music-video education, Sevn cultivated his talents in dance class while growing up in Virginia. “My dad signed me up when he knew I was going to be magical.” His music and videos now blend a vast array of influences, from Busta Rhymes to classic jazz choreography. “I added all the things I loved to my art, and I knew there’d be somebody that would connect with it.”
Sevn has kept his rigorous work ethic consistent as he pursues his craft in L.A., Atlanta, and now New York City. If his live performances are to be tight, his videos must be perfect. “Everyone wants to be an artist these days, and I don’t think they know what it is to put in the work. There’s not a lot of true intention behind what I see. I know, with what I do, there’s always intention: I’m doing this for a purpose and a reason.” Videos like “Break My Back” are made with months of love, planning, and saving. “The money I would get for work, I’d invest. This isn’t my vacation money; I’m putting it into my creativity.”
With a consistent style and rigor behind all of his work, Sevn is now interested in expanding his audience. This spring, he was a standout on the OUT series Hot Haus, in which the reality-TV legend Tiffany Pollard gathered a crew of queer sex symbols together in one house. “I told myself that if I ever did reality TV it would be something positive that would push the conversation,” he says. “I wanted something that had a purpose. It’s about showing sex workers in a positive light.”
With his recent exposure from Hot Haus and new opportunities to meet audiences on the road at events like The Normal Anomaly’s Black Queer+ Advancement Music Festival, Sevn’s fiercest obstacles are his own high standards. “I don’t want to be ‘the next’ anyone. I’m the first and last Sevn. No one can do what I do, and the only person I want to be competing with is myself. That’ll be the most challenging thing.”
Keep up with Sevndeep on Instagram @officialsevndeep.
What: Black Queer+ Advancement Music Festival
When: April 30, 3–7 p.m.
Where: Stampede Houston, 11925-B Eastex Fwy.
Tickets: normalanomaly.org/BQAF $25–$75 (use code “Presale” for $10 off)
Black Queer+ Advancement Music Festival is sponsored by ViiV Healthcare accelerate Initiative, Gilead COMPASS Initiative, Impulse Group Houston, COVID-19 Prevention Network, Legacy Community Health, AIDS Foundation Houston, and OutSmart Magazine.
This article appears in the April 2022 edition of OutSmart magazine.