CONVO WITH DEVAN

Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Devan is a recording artist in the fast lane between Toronto and Los Angeles, dealing with her solo career and her band, Wild Rivers

Influenced by the cultural scene in England helped shape her aesthetic at a young age.

Being a member of Wild Rivers encouraged Devan to grow during her time on the road, where she found it easy to brush things aside.

As a journaling admirer, she developed her writing skills bringing a new dimension to her songwriting.

Combining elements of acoustic music and indie pop in her style, Devan has so far eluded a defining term, making her sound unique while exploring the sonic spectrum.

Recently, she dropped an EP called Liquid Sunshine, which you can enjoy the music video for Orchid, one of the tracks in the record, along with the convo we had below.

Enjoy!

1- Where did you come from where are you based now, and why?

I was born in Toronto, then my family moved to London, UK when I was 3 years old. I grew up in the UK for 10 years before moving back to Toronto for high school. Now I kind of bounce around between Toronto, LA, and touring with my band Wild Rivers

2- Who are your biggest influences?

I’ve gone through a lot of musical phases, so there’s definitely a wide range of influences. When I was young, I was inspired by the music my parents played in the house – Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Jackson 5, James Taylor. Growing up, my main vocal influences were Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Florence, and the Machine – a lot of powerful female vocalists who taught me how to find and connect with my voice. But there are so many more, I loved a lot of bands growing up and am also inspired by a lot of pop and electronic music. It’s hard to pick, but I like to borrow elements from different genres and find ways apply them to my songs. My evergreen favourite artists are Frank Ocean, Coldplay, and Bombay Bicycle Club.

3- How have you developed your career?

A lot of shots in the dark. I feel like I’m very much still developing, and always will be in a way. It’s such an elusive career path that I try and break my goals down into manageable things I can accomplish every day, while keeping the music as the top priority. I usually try and keep myself on a regular schedule and treat it like a 9-5 to hold myself accountable to putting the time in and showing up every day. I try and take small risks every day and get comfortable with failure, both on the music and business sides.

4- Describe your favorite part about being a musician.

Lately, I’ve been in love with learning production. The beautiful thing about music is that there are so many ways to dress up a song or evoke an emotion or lyrical message. I love writing songs, but whenever I get stuck, I can turn to production to help guide me in a certain direction or inspire a solution to my block. I’m definitely not a pro when it comes to production, but since I started using Ableton a few years ago it opened me up to so many new possibilities and helped to shape my sound a lot. I think my ultimate goal has always been to find a way to close the gap between what I hear in my head and what makes its way into the song, and production has given me a language for closing that gap.
However, singing is and will always be my favourite part of being a musician.

5- Who’s your ideal musician to collaborate with, and why?

Frank Ocean. He’s been my favourite artist for 6 years and I never get sick of him. I love the way he challenges song structure and reinvents himself on every record while still staying true to himself as an artist. I want to get inside his brain.

6- Do you sing in the shower? What songs?

Oh, all the time. My shower has the best reverb so a lot of belting goes on, a lot of things I would never sing in any other context like songs from musicals, huge Beyonce belters, raps, etc.

7- What is your favorite TV show?

Honestly, I don’t really watch TV. When I was younger it was “The OC”, I like “Criminal Minds”, I just started “Breaking Bad” a few weeks ago and have slowly been chipping away at it. So far, I’m really liking it but it’s also very stressful so I find myself taking a few days off between episodes. The Office is a classic.

8- What’s the biggest lesson life has taught you?

Damn, here’s a few: 

  • Perspective is everything
  • Don’t wait for life to happen to you, make things happen for yourself
  • Time spent doubting yourself is time wasted. No good will come out of it.
  • Mental health is everything – make sure you take time to do things and spend time with people that make you feel happy and fulfilled
  • Comparison is the thief of joy – this one is definitely overused, but especially true for my generation and industry.

9- What’s the worst and best thing about being female?

Worst – I’d have to say sexism.
Best – emotional intelligence, the innate female bond, multiple orgasms…?

10- When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?

Every time I laugh hard, I cry because I have very leaky tear ducts.

11-What is next for Devan?

I put out 2 EPs in 2021, so now I’m going to take some time to live life and dream up new song ideas. I want to play some shows in 2022, and I want to start working on my debut album. Very excited to start working towards both!

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