by Gina Ponce
Photography by Josh Madson
Hair by Larry McDaniel for Enjoy and Xavier Chamoux
Makeup by Samantha Touw
Small town girl livin’ in a big city world – that’s Universal Republic’s new artist Dev upon first glance. But look a little deeper and you’ll see a musician that’s well-rounded in musical influences that aren’t limited to just one or two or genres. The Manteca, CA native/L.A. transplant quickly found her way in the music industry after being discovered via MySpace by production duo The Cataracs.
First being introduced to the masses with her infectious hook on Far*East Movement’s “Like a G6,” Dev didn’t quite know the doors that would open for her or the international success and recognition the song would achieve.
“It was really natural,” says Dev, born Devin Star Tailes, of recording with the group. “Nobody was sitting down thinking and trying to make, like, a number one fucking triple platinum record. It wasn’t anything like that at all; it ended up being something very, very cool.”
Although admitting that she “didn’t know anything about writing a song or recording a verse” before linking up and collaborating with The Cataracs (who produced her entire debut album), the pop singer did have a clear initiative of what she wanted to accomplish with her first full-length.
“I did have an idea of what I wanted and who I was and the way I wanted to come off,” Dev explains. “But [The Cataracs] definitely helped me, which is great. I feel like the way we work together is very unique and nothing has ever been forced. I definitely wanted to get across that I grew up being influenced by a lot of different sounds, which I think you can get a taste of off the album. I grew up liking a lot of different bands and rappers, so that was really important to me to sort of get all of these different sides of me out onto the album.”
Her first single “Bass Down Low” followed up the club banger “G6,” with the electro-pop record hitting both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and Canadian Hot 100 charts. Now getting ready to release her debut, The Night the Sun Came Up, later this year, Dev is anticipating her fans’ reactions and is intent on breaking any preconceived notions.
“I’m curious to see what people are gonna think of [the album],” she says. “There’s a lot of different tempos and textures, and then there’s obviously more hip-hop or dance-influenced songs. There’s a little bit of everything. I wanted to make sure it’s got a lot of really cool stories. I’m excited. Hopefully, everybody will get to hear a little bit more of who I am. I feel like everybody has this idea of who they think I am just because they’ve heard me [on “Like a G6″], which is cool, but I think they’ll be able to tell that I’m, like, a human, you know?”
Taking the stage and collaborating with other artists is nothing new for Dev, but being added to the Usher tour this spring only adds a whole new prestige. And even with her own imminent release, the singer doesn’t plan to take any time away from being featured on other projects, recently having worked on Travis Barker’s new album and with Timbaland and Donnis.
“Features are really fun for me,” Dev avows. “I really enjoy them, so I have no problem doing them. It’s like a little escape; I get to play a role on other people’s songs so it’s really dope. As of right now I’m kind of just going with the flow. Probably, I think Nicki [Minaj] would be really dope [to collaborate with]. I have a really big girl crush on Nicki Minaj.”
It should only be a matter of time before Dev gets what Dev wants.