“Living like a man that was born without a soul / on paper I’m young / yet I feel so old” raps Columbus artist Philippe Laroque – who goes by Devin Xo onstage – at the beginning of his latest EP, Coming of Age. He continues: “If you don’t understand what you’re going through / then I made this song for you for you.”
As the title suggests, Laroque grapples with growing up on Coming of Age, working through changes that have rippled through his support structure, psyche, and music writing process. And though Coming of Age was only released on October 18th, Laroque has been working on the EP’s material for more than two years. That commitment and attention to detail shows. The project is thoughtful and balanced, considering both loss and love through a self-critical lens, but it is also deeply humorous. Laroque is a funny and deft writer, and on Coming of Age, with its glossy, soul-inspired production, that sense of humor shines through, cutting through the EPs emotional weight. The result is a lighter, more buoyant product than either of Laroque’s previous EPs, Fake Smiles (2015) and Journey to Paradise (2016).
Along with his prolific music output, Laroque is the founder of Give Love, a Columbus-based artist collective. Through it all, Laroque seems to maintain a vigilantly uplifting attitude. On his Facebook page, Laroque says his mission is to “inspire.” And on a recent post promoting his EP release, the rapper hashtagged: #positivevibesonly. Those much needed positive vibes are front and center on Coming of Age – perhaps bringing inspiration not only to Laroque, but to the Columbus music scene as well.