Toronto/Chicago electronic R&B songstress, Deanna Devore, began writing music at a young age and is making waves with her sound. Her latest EP, half and half, released September of this year is a smooth mixture of down-tempo electronic and R&B. Below we discuss her musical beginnings, concert highlights and much more.
MFL: I see you are based out of Chicago and Toronto. What pulls you to each location and how do the music scenes in each place differ?
Deanna Devore (DD): They’re both such great cities – and also quite similar. I love Toronto’s diversity and Chicago’s architecture. The music scenes definitely feel different – I think Toronto may have more of the “Drake” sound happening and Chicago has a lot of folk/americana. With that said, both cities definitely have other genres going on too.
MFL: You have been releasing music since 2007/2008. How has your music evolved and changed since your first releases?
DD: I would say that all 3 of my albums have a similar mix of electronic and acoustic elements, but my most recent album, “half and half” has a little more of a RnB/jazz influence.
MFL: On a similar note, how do you think access to music (streaming etc) has changed your experience as an artist over the last 10 years?
DD: The music business has definitely changed over the years! You just have to adjust accordingly. Social media has been a great way to connect, and that didn’t exist in the same way 10 years ago.
MFL: Tell me about your musical beginnings. How and when did music become part of your life and when did you know that you wanted it to be a career?
DD: Music has been a huge part of my life since I was a little kid. I have a musical family. I started playing instruments and writing at a young age and always felt like I needed to do it professionally.
MFL: What are you doing when you’re not writing, recording or performing your own music?
DD: I’m also a teacher at a music school, so I teach a lot of classes including guitar and songwriting. But when I’m not doing anything music related, I like to cook and check out new bars and restaurants in the city.
MFL: What is the order of events for your songwriting process and is there a particular time of day or night that inspiration seems to strike most naturally?
DD: Time of the day doesn’t matter. It happens when I sit down with an instrument, likely guitar. I start with the music. So a song will start when I am playing around with the guitar and find something I like, a chord progression that inspires me to continue. From there, I write a vocal melody. And then do the same thing for all the sections of the song – verse, chorus, bridge etc. The lyrics usually come last.
MFL: Who inspires you musically and how do you use that inspiration in your music or your intentions to write/release music?
DD: I’ve been listening to a lot of downtempo electronic Rnb/neo soul, so I would say that inspires my production and sound overall.
MFL: It looks like you’ve gotten to share the stage with some big names at some fabulous festivals! Touch on some highlights of these experiences.
DD: Yeah I’ve had some great shows! One that stands out in particular was opening for Jamie Cullum. This wasn’t at a festival, but at a venue, playing in front of 900 attentive listeners, solo. It was a surreal experience having that many people quiet and listening.
MFL: Where do you see your music taking you in 2019 and what do we have to look forward to?
DD: I just got back from tour and have switched gears by going into the studio. I started recording a new single that I’m really excited about. So I’ll be releasing that in 2019!