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20 Questions With Devon

The indie-pop singer talks mugs, movie endings, Mike Posner and much more.

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If Devon’s name rings a bell, no wonder: She introduced herself in these pages just a couple of weeks ago by premiering her self-assured new single Want To Know HERE. Today, the ascendant indie-pop singer-songwriter tells you everything else you want to know by introducing herself to my impertinent questions — and giving as good as she gets. Here’s how it went:

 


 

Introduce yourself: Name, age (feel free to lie), home base and other details you’d like to share — height / weight / identifying marks / astrology sign / your choice.
Hi! My name is Devon, and I am an indie-pop artist based in NYC, though I’m currently quarantining in my hometown of Philadelphia. I am a Taurus – thank you for asking 🙂

What is your musical origin story?
I saw Billy Joel at what is now the Wells Fargo Center in Philly when I was four years old, and I immediately knew that I wanted to do THAT. I started songwriting at an early age, writing a lot of poetry and trying to find the words to describe how I was feeling. I learned guitar from my older brother and piano from my dad, and over time I figured out how to put it all together. I write and produce all of my own music, and it is such a pleasure to share my perspective through my songs!

What’s your latest project? Tell us everything we need to know.
My new EP is called Sitting Up Straight, and it has been an awesome experience for me in learning to be a more experimental lyricist / producer. The process of creating songs from a place of empowerment and from a place of growth allowed me to be less precious with certain aspects of songwriting and to be more trusting of what felt good — finding my own way to sit up straight and to take up space along the way. It was such a pleasure to share the debut single from the project Never Mind last month, and the second single Want to Know made its debut on Tinnitist!

What truly sets you apart from other artists?
I’m a yoga teacher, and I love sharing my practice of mindfulness on the mat, through my music, and in my daily life.

What will I learn or how will my life improve by listening to your music?
I always say that my music is about self-love through inspired self-discovery. If you listen to my music, my hope is that you might start to feel what I mean by that.

What album / song / artist / show changed your life?
Seeing Rainbow Kitten Surprise live at Brooklyn Steel changed the way I view concerts. I’ve always loved going to shows, but that was the first time I truly experienced a show. Their energy was infectious, and to be honest, a part of my consciousness is still back in that venue, living and breathing Cocaine Jesus.

Tell us about the first song you wrote and / or the first gig you played and what you got paid.
Wait, other people are getting paid to do this?

What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you gave?
This past December I had the absolute pleasure of supporting The Warning at Mercury Lounge in NYC. We had two sold-out nights back-to-back, and it was surreal to be performing in one of my favorite venues, supporting one of my favorite bands, surrounded by my friends and family. It was also awesome to be a part of a concert totally fueled by girl power!

What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you’ve seen another artist give?
Freshman year of college, I went to my first improv comedy show. It was the best / worst / strangest performance I had ever seen, and I immediately fell in love with the art form. I’ve been doing a little bit of improv comedy in NYC over the last few years, but primarily I look for improv shows to attend with my friends to see how awesomely uncomfortable we can all get together.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years?
If I work very diligently, I should be able finish answering these interview questions by then.

What living or dead artists would you collaborate with if you could?
From a lyrical and production standpoint, I would love to collaborate with The 1975. They build an entire world within each song, and it would be a dream to be a part of the architectural process.

What artist or style of music do you love that would surprise people?
While I tend to create upbeat and uplifting poppy bops, I am an emo girl at my core. My Chemical Romance has always had a huge influence on me, both as an artist and as an individual, and I greatly admire all that Gerard Way has continued to do within the entertainment industry throughout his career. His message of hope for the those who don’t feel seen is so important, and it always will be — so I love that he continues to share it through all mediums.

What are your favourite songs / albums / artists right now?
Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of music with production that makes me smile — HAIM, Lauv, LANY, and Cautious Clay.

How about some other favourites? Authors / movies / painters / philanthropists / you name it.
I read a lot of biographies (Tina Fey’s is one of my favorites), and I always enjoy learning more about feminist perspectives and vegan lifestyles. I also recently started painting, and impressionism has become a big influence across all of my artistic endeavors.

Who would you be (or have you been) starstruck to meet?
I chased Mike Posner down the street in NYC once, and when I finally caught up to him, I was so overwhelmed that I had absolutely nothing to say. He was so nice about it and facilitated taking a selfie with me while I just nodded and smiled, starstricken.

Tell us a joke.
I’m like butter — I’m on a roll.

What do you drive and why? What do you want to drive and why?
I drive my penny board because NYC traffic is incorrigible. I want to drive you crazy because I don’t want to ever do what you expect me to.

What superpower do you want and how would you use it?
I would love to be able to wake up before 9 a.m. I really think I could conquer the world if I had those few extra hours each day.

What skills — useful or useless — do you have outside of music?
I’m really good at predicting the end of movies.

What do you collect?
Mugs — I love mugs with quirky sayings on them like, “Mother Teresa didn’t sit around worrying about her thighs; she had sh*t to do.”

If I had a potluck, what would you bring?
Vegan mac and cheese — I’ve finally perfected a recipe, and sharing it with my friends brings me so much joy!

What current trend or popular thing do you not understand at all?
Diet & exercise (just kidding, I’m a vegan yogi; I’m all about diet & exercise).

Tell us about your current and/or former pets.
I have an elderly boxer who constantly reminds me about unconditional love 🙂

If you could have any other job besides music, what would it be and why?
Aerospace engineer — I want to find more ways to shoot for the stars.

What’s the best advice and/or worst advice you were ever given?
You have to be willing to be uncomfortable if you want to grow, but always remember to wear sunscreen if you’re planted outside.

Check out Never Mind and Want to Know above, hear more from Devon below, and keep up with her via her website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.