Although he was born in Savannah, Zach Deputy has been the musical pride of Bluffton, S.C.—where he was raised—for over a dozen years. A singer with an astonishing four-octave range, he is also a dazzling guitarist whose “looping” technique is the stuff of jam-band legend. With an arsenal of delay and playback pedals and processors at his onstage command, Deputy creates a sound palette, live, that rivals some of the best island-tinged full bands. It’s both fascinating and fun to watch him do it, before your eyes.
Deputy’s “island-infused drum ‘n’ bass gospel ninja soul” is the result of a lifetime’s worth of diverse musical influences. His mother, a native of St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, filled the family home with calypso and reggae; as a youngster, Zach was a burgeoning beat boxer who loved hip hop, rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll.
He is the very best kind of one-man band. “Early on, I had no intention of being a loop artist,” he told us last year (he visits about once every 10 months).
“It was something I was doing on the side. But over the course of time, I found that the things I was trying to achieve, I was able to communicate as well as I was able to just do it through the loop machine.”
The thing is, he literally can play everything, and that makes bringing other musicians into the mix a tad ... frustrating.
“When you start doing some of the Latin stuff, the bass lines are kinda backwards to American music,” Deputy said. “I love seeing the whole spectrum of what all’s going on in a song. And so I understand it. So it’s hard to find people that have the same kind of feel or vision for music that you do, when your vision is not narrow. It’s very broad.”