Devin Kennedy is a young, bright-eyed and talented musician preparing to take the music world by storm. Devin makes music that gets stuck in the listeners head, while also allowing him to share personal messages. I got the chance to catch up with Devin about his latest EP, “You & Me, That’s Enough,” and found that he is a very thoughtful and kind artist with a deep passion for his craft and work.
There is a blending of styles on your songs. Is there a specific period, genre, or style you’re trying to channel? Who are your biggest influences?
I think I’m always trying to combine all my influences and create something new and unique. I grew up listening to a lot of pop/rock music. Bands like Fall Out Boy, My Chem [My Chemical Romance] and All Time Low really inspired me when I was young. As I fell into pop music, I started to idolize artists like John Mayer, Jon Bellion, Charlie Puth and more. I think it all boils down to me wanting to make very intentional and musical pop songs. That’s the stuff that I really love. It usually takes the shape of R&B Pop.
You have performed and toured with big names in music, and performed in big venues – how does this make you feel?
I’ve been super lucky to have some amazing touring experiences at a young age. It’s been so much fun. Wanting to play live was the reason I started making music. All the live experiences also prepared me for taking my solo music on the road, and understanding all the logistics that come along with that. Can’t wait to do more touring. 2020 is a touring year for me.
How do you handle the pressure?
I do my best to get good sleep, meditate, and spend time with my family and friends. Also, I try to channel any kind of anxiety into my music. Having a creative outlet is a big reason why I don’t go crazy every day. I need to be able to take what’s in my head and express it in some kind of artistic way.
You are the winner “2018 Hollywood Music in Media ‘Best New Emerging Artist’” award, what does this mean to you?
It’s amazing, and it was such a surprise. I released my first single in the beginning of 2018 and less than a year later I won the award. I’m just very grateful that people are able to connect with the songs. It doesn’t get any better than that.
How do you make your music videos? What’s your process like for that?
I’m an audio guy and video stuff is definitely a disconnect for me. I’m lucky to have some very talented people that I work with who help me put together video ideas. It usually starts with a brainstorming session and then the videographer and I take it from there. I try to keep everything very small and close. I like to be as involved as I can be. The more I work my solo music, the more of a control freak I become.
What’s your process like when writing a song? What’s your EP making process?
I’ve always felt that I’m melody-driven. I’m always looking for something catchy and then I find the lyrics later. EP wise, I wrote 250 songs this year and chose 4 to release. It was important for me to figure out what the right message was as an artist in 2019. Also, I only want to release songs that I truly connect with. I’m so happy with how it turned out.
There’s a certain brightness to your music and style, where does this come from?
I think it comes from a genuine love of the craft of pop music. Not to say that every pop song is bright, but that’s where I’m at right now. My music has to be honest. I’m loving life and I think that comes through in my music.
How did attending a school as prestigious as Berklee impact you as an artist?
In every way. When I started at Berklee, I still thought I was going to front a pop/rock band. College taught me to embrace quality over genre, and to keep an open mind about all kinds of music. That’s what really drove me into pop, and to eventually deciding to be a solo artist.
You tweeted, “This EP is all about genuinely connecting with the important people in your life. I’m guilty of getting lost in work/money stuff. I wrote these songs as a reminder to myself to give the people that support me the love, time & respect they deserve.” What inspired you to focus on these values?
Like I said, I wrote a ton of songs this year. Writing that much takes a lot out of you. I dug really deep into my day-to-day life and came to the realization that I was letting my work get in the way of my personal life and my heath. So a lot of the songs I wrote this year serve as a reminder to be good to the people in my life, and to be good to myself.
What are your goals?
I need to get a lot more music out into the world. I’ve put out 10 songs and the response has been insane, so it can only grow as more music comes. I also need to be on tour and in front of bigger and bigger audiences. Those are the 2020 goals.
Thank you for having me!!
You can stream Devin’s EP here.