Musicians are barely getting a slice of music industry revenue, largely eating off of live performances instead. For ’Tour Tales,’ we dig into the rider requests, delayed shows, diligent preparation, and future of touring by talking with the multitude of people that move behind the scenes. Record executives, photographers, tour managers, artists, and more all break down what goes into touring and why it’s still so vital to the livelihood of your favorite artists. What happens on tour stays on ‘Tour Tales.’
Annie Devine doesn’t stop until she gets the shot. Over the years, she’s snapped live shows for Yella Beezy, Nipsey Hussle, Gucci Mane, and many others that had special moments fans will never forget.
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” the photographer discusses how the granddaughter of the Dallas Cowboys’ owner saved her at Beyonce and JAY-Z’s show, DJ Khaled’s backstage personality, and how she finessed her way onstage to shoot Gucci Mane. Read below!
How did you connect with Yella Beezy?
At the end of 2017, I DMed him saying, “Hey, I want to be your personal photographer.” He got back to me a couple of weeks later saying we can work something out, but we didn’t actually shoot anything until 2018 in April. His DJ invited me to a show and I almost didn’t make it to the show because I had a crazy day. After he saw the photos from the show, he was like, “Bet!” Then, the next week he was like, “Where are you at? We’re going to Tyler, Texas.” We just went up after that.
What shots do you get from him?
He knows the camera really well, so he’s easy to work with. He started to get into wanting to stage dive and there was one time I really anticipated it. He did a performance at The Star, where the [Dallas] Cowboys practice and he just dove into the crowd.
What’s on his rider?
He’s not a big drinker and he doesn’t smoke. So, he just likes having water, salads, and he cut out soda. He likes chips. He’s not one of those people who needs to be faded to be on his level.
How did you get to shoot Beyonce and JAY-Z on the “On The Run Tour” in Dallas?
That was crazy. Sometimes artists can be pretty last minute and I try to always be available. I knew that show was that day and DJ Khaled was going to have Yella Beezy perform during his opening. They hadn’t called me to go yet. I had a feeling, though. I thought I’d just go to AT&T Stadium and if they can get me in, cool. If not, I’ll take an Uber home (laughs). I was 20 minutes out and they hit me like, “How quick can you get to AT&T Stadium?” I told them I was on my way. It was dope. We were backstage with Khaled and Rich The Kid. It was a major look for the whole team, especially Yella. He’s a diehard Cowboys fan, so it was fun. The show production was amazing. I tried to enjoy it as much as I can. But, it was JAY and Beyonce, so I had to snap a couple of photos. Everyone was freaking out.
Did everything go smoothly at that show?
I really wasn’t supposed to be taking photos during JAY and Beyonce’s set, but I had to sneak a couple. I actually got in trouble because the Dallas Cowboys’ owner’s granddaughter recognized me and asked if I could take a group photo of her and her friends with Yella Beezy. It was dark in the pit and I had to use my flash. I took the picture, the flash goes, [I] put the camera away, and then security asked me to delete my pictures. They were ready to escort me out, but over my shoulder pops up the granddaughter of the Cowboys’ owner who says, “She’s our photographer. We’ll go put her camera in our suite for the rest of the show.” That’s what they did (laughs).
What was Khaled like backstage?
I did get to interact with him. When things settled down backstage, I asked Yella if he wanted a pic with Khaled. I took the photo, he checked it out, and then I got a portrait photo of just him. He was really respectful and laidback. He was positive and kept to himself. We worked with him again for the Houston show, and before he went onstage, I got to tell him how much I appreciate working with him. He thanked me back and I let him get back into his zone. The next thing I knew, he was onstage.
What was the Houston show like?
It was crazy. Khaled invited just Yella and Rich the Kid in Dallas. In Houston, there were maybe 10 rappers doing songs. There were a ton of people backstage and even underneath the stage. Bun B, Paul Wall, and a ton of other people.
As a photographer, what is one of the most noteworthy crowd reactions you’ve witnessed?
A$AP Rocky at a show in Dallas noticed a girl handpainted the back of a shirt with the artwork for the tour and he brought her onstage. She was beside herself.
How did you get to shoot Gucci Mane?
That was a good finesse. I took some jobs as a nightlife photographer and I met a club photographer who knew a promoter who was doing the Gucci show. He hooked it up. I was singing to all the songs. At one point, I walked around to the back of the stage and asked the security guard if I could go up and get a couple of pictures. Gucci saw me and performed for the camera a bit. He actually reposted one of my photos.
What are some candid moments that are too personal to shoot?
If I’m being completely honest, I don’t know many male artists that are comfortable being photographed with a lot of females around them (laughs). That’s a rule for a lot of people I’ve shot for. Maybe they don’t want that for their image or they don’t want to get caught up in any trouble.
How did the pandemic affect your 2020 live show plans?
I linked up with Gunna and it was seeming like we were doing more live shows together after he invited me to a show he had at California State University. The pandemic shut everything down and I was able to shift my focus to more studio work and day-to-day work with artists. I just did an album cover shoot for Lil Duke who’s signed to YSL.