“In The Dark” singer Dev expertly juggles a debut album, touring, and motherhood
Dev’s plate is full with her debut album The Night The Sun Came Up and a little bundle of joy named Emilia Lovely. The singer is still determined to kick ass in both. (Photo courtesy of Hadas Di)
It’s been a whirlwind for Dev these past few months.
Not only was the eclectic indie pop artist busy prepping for the release of her debut album, The Night The Sun Came Up (out now), but she also gave birth this past December to her first child, Emilia Lovely, with fiancé Jimmy Gorecki. The 22-year-old, known for the recent dance hit “In The Dark,” has since had to place both her music and new motherhood on a balancing scale – and it’s not easy. But being the badass that Dev is, the swaggalicious singer is determined to juggle both the best she can.
Born Devin Star Tailes in California to parents of Mexican, Spanish and Portuguese descent, Dev got her start a few years ago when hip-hop/indie-pop duo The Cataracs discovered her via MySpace.
At the time, Dev was working at Old Navy, but music beckoned her. In 2010, she was also featured on the Far East Movement’s monster single, “Like a G6.”
Dev spoke to Univision News over the phone recently about her new album, which was produced and co-written by The Cataracs. Aside from “In The Dark,” The Night The Sun Came Up also features the track “Naked,” a sexy, danceable duet with Enrique Iglesias.
She is currently on tour, and being a new mother hasn’t stopped her in the least. Dev’s going full throttle — and bringing her baby and family along for the ride.
Congrats on your debut album! How would you describe your unique place in the current musical landscape, because it’s definitely not any one thing…
When people ask me to put my music in a genre, I can’t really pinpoint it. It depends on the day. Some days, I feel like singing really pretty love songs over a piano or guitar, and so the Cataracs and I get in the studio and do that. And then there are other times when I feel like being extremely sassy, empowering, strong, and womanly, and so I make these sassier records.
I think that’s the beauty of what I can do as an artist, and as a woman in the industry. I’m very proud that I can make these different-sounding records, put them all on one album and it remains very cohesive. Pinpointing it, I’d say it’s very electronic-based and I like to steal influences from hip-hop culture and even from indie folk and country music. This is my debut album – my chance to do whatever the fuck I wanted. So I tried to [laughs].
What does The Night The Sun Came Up mean?
The album is like my little fairytale story; my rags to almost-riches. I’m from a really small town [Manteca, Californica] and I was working a 9-to-5 and now I’m on a big massive tour bus, playing these shows. I wanted a title that represented that turning of a leaf – a very fairytale-esque title.
Dev during her recent, prop-heavy concert in Los Angeles. (Photo: Angie Romero)
Is it true you were working at Old Navy when the Cataracs found you on MySpace?
I was. I put a couple of songs up on MySpace in the summer of 2008 that I just recorded in a garage band on my MacBook and the Cataracs found them two months later. They said, ‘Hey, you’re really weird and your voice is really weird. Let’s make music, this could be cool.’
So I drove out to Berkeley, which is forty-five minutes from where I’m from, and we hit it off. We listened to music, ate burritos, and kind of just kicked it. It was this really amazing and natural connection – nothing was forced or weird or awkward. It was like they were like my brothers. I remember I tried touring with the Cataracs in the fall 0f 2008 and Old Navy let me take the month off, which was nice of them. I finally quit Old Navy in February 2009. But I was very much still employed [laughs].
What role did they play in your album?
The Cataracs and I worked together on everything. We spent three weeks in Costa Rica making the whole album and that was important to me. They sort of found me and taught me everything. I didn’t know about this industry and about what it takes to write a song and that type of stuff, so it was important for me to have them do that with this album. It was like our first chance at making solid music that people were going to listen to, so of course I wanted us to do it together. It was only right.
What was it like working with Enrique on “Naked”?
It was amazing. It was the perfect fit for that song. I wanted a little spicy flavor to it and Enrique has a beautiful voice – and he’s a legend. When we recorded the song, he was about to go on tour so we did it via e-mail, but we did come together for a couple days in Vegas to record the video. I’m very appreciative for him, not only for getting on the song, but for coming out for the video. It was a little masterpiece.
At your concert in L.A. recently, your fiancé was there with your baby girl, who was fast asleep and rocking noise-cancelling headphones. What does it mean for them to be a part of what you do?
It was funny because I think a lot of people wanted to give me shit for having my child at The Roxy, but when my fiancé and I fell in love and wanted to have a family, we wanted to do all this stuff, too. It was like, we’re not gonna quit and stop our lives because we have a child. We’re fucking cool people, we’re going to raise her to be a fucking cool person. It was my first night celebrating the album. My sisters and parents came down, and I wanted my husband and baby to be there, so I bought these headphones for her [laughs]. It was too funny because she slept through the whole thing! She’s like, ‘Mom, you’re wack as hell’ [laughs].
Dev’s fiancé Jimmy Gorecki holds baby Emilia Lovely during the singer’s recent L.A. concert. (Photo: Angie Romero)
Do you sing Emilia to sleep?
Sometimes I do. It’s cool, she really likes music, which is perfect.
What kind of music do you play for her?
Yeah, I have the Kanye West lullaby album, that Coldplay lullaby album, and a Nirvana one.
It must be pretty hectic juggling your new motherhood and career. How do you deal with that?
It’s hard. I definitely drink as much coffee as I can. But my fiancé plays Mr. Mom a lot; he has my back and supports me and does whatever he can to help, and that means a lot. In the middle of the night, he will wake up with her because I’ll have to do photo shoots or shows the next day. My family helps a lot - and [management company] Indie Pop and the Cataracs. It’s definitely a scary thing when you have your first child; you don’t really know what to expect. But having the support of everybody is awesome.
You’re on tour right now, so do you plan on bringing her on the road?
Yes, she’s with me right now, asleep on the bed in the tour bus. I have two separate tour buses; one for me, Jimmy, and the baby – and then another for my DJ and everybody. I’m trying really hard and working my ass off to make being a mom work, as well as being an artist. So far, it’s been fun.
I noticed you have Selena Quintanilla as the background of your Twitter page. Being part Mexican, did you grow up listening to her?
Yea, I did. I just remember loving everything about her. I actually remember the day that she passed; I was at school and my little Mexican girlfriends were so sad. She was a beautiful creature that I still look up to a lot. I think her style, her music, and her energy was really unique.
Dev’s national tour runs through May 8.