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Devendra Banhart Biography

Home > Music > B > Banhart, Devendra > Biography

Born: 1981/05/30
Birth Place: Houston, Texas United States
Years Active: 2002-present
Genres: Lo-fi, Folk, Freak Folk, New Weird America

Devendra Obi Banhart was born May 30, 1981 in Houston, Texas and was raised by his mother in Caracas, Venezuela after his parents divorced. When Banhart was 14 his mother and step-father moved to California. A singer and songwriter, Banhart got his start in music performing all across Europe after dropping out of school in 2000 and moving to Paris. Banhart began busking in the streets of Paris, and opened up for indie bands, including Sonic Youth.

Upon returning to the U.S., Banhart released his debut album, “Oh Me Oh My,” on the Young God label. Banhart went on to record two more albums and an EP for the label, 2003’s “The Black Babies” EP and 2004’s “Rejoicing in the Hands” and “Niño Rojo.”

2005 saw Banhart sign with XL Recordings and release his debut for the label, “Cripple Crow,” which was met with favorable reviews. That same year saw Banhart start up his own record label, Gnomonsong, with Andy Cabic of Vetiver.

Banhart's second album for XL Recordings, “Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon,” arrived in 2007 and peaked at #115 on Billboard's 200 Albums chart. The album spawned the hit, “Lover,” which was featured on the soundtrack of the feature film, “Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist,” which Banhart also appeared in. That same year saw Banhart sign with Neil Young's manager, Elliot Roberts.

In 2008 Banhart and The Stokes’ Gregory Rogove and Fabrizio Moretti formed the band Megapuss and issued their debut album, “Surfing.”

As Banhart's profile was raised, his fan base grew, and his first major record deal came his way from Warner/Reprise Records. Banhart then released his seventh studio album, “What Will We Be” in 2009. Later that year, Banhart worked with Oasis to remix their song, “Get Off Your High Horse Lady” and Phoenix on their song “Rome.” Banhart also contributed to Beck's project, “Songs of Leonard Cohen,” alongside MGMT, Andrew Stockdale, and Binki Shapiro.

2011 saw Banhart collaborating once again, this time with Marisa Monte and Rodrigo Amarante on their version of the song, “Nú Com a Minha Música” for the Red Hot Organization's “Red Hot+Rio 2.” 2013 saw Banhart's eighth studio album, “Mala” released. The album was Banhart's debut for the Nonesuch label.