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The Retro Modernist

Music is clearly about communication, and she’s clearly good at it. “It was,” she says, “a sort of no-brainer” that that’s what she’d be doing. “My dad and I always sang together. Singing was the first thing for me. At Twin Oaks there were a lot of buildings pretty far apart, five to ten minute walks between the blocks and a lot of times we’d sing when we walked.”

“When I was little I rode on his shoulders and this is a very nostalgic memory for me, he’d always have to hang on to my ankles and he’d always sing the harmonies ’cos they’re harder to sing than the melodies, so until I got older and learned them I’d sing the melodies of songs like Only The Lonely. He’d do ‘da dum dum, dum do ah’. He’d do all the rhythm and all the backing and I would get the starring part. I thought it was great! I had the higher voice so I could do all the swoops up. We did a lot of that singing and a lot of Beatles, I couldn’t imagine being able to sing harmonies to everything. He would just do it, even if he didn’t know the song.”

“I remember the year I started to do that. It was like ‘Right on! Now I can do that special thing!’. I was probably ten or twelve, when I started orchestrating my girlfriends so they could sing the parts and I’d harmonise. I had taken piano lessons, but we were more sitting around the campfire singing types.”

If this gives the impression that Devon is some awful happy-clappy smug hippy, that would be entirely wrong. She’s focused, sharp, funny, thoughtful and incredibly considerate. Great company in fact. In her conversation as in her lyrics, she’s at pains to get across what she wants to say in the most meaningful way possible. It makes her entertaining and interesting to listen to. It’s what gives her lyrics depth and poetry.


fRom fRoots 289, July 2007

 

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