Written By Kelly Holm
When Devin Moses— better known as DEVMO— was ten years old, a microburst (think a tornado, but smaller) struck her suburban Illinois hometown. Terrified, the preteen and her sister took refuge in the basement and prayed to God: “if you let us live… we’ll be good kids!”
Whether DEVMO made good on that promise is between her and the man upstairs. But at the very least, this trauma inspired one of her first original songs, “Microburst,” as she learned to play guitar. And these days, it’s evident that her burst onto the music scene as a rapper and singer-songwriter was anything but micro. From making her debut at Hollywood’s House of Blues to inspiring people like Jennifer Lopez to vibe to her music, DEVMO’s star is one to follow.
“I fall in love with someone new every day/Doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, brown, straight, gay,” she coos in the hook of recent single “Someone New,” which carries the vibe of Miley Cyrus meets Carly Rae Jepsen for the TikTok era— with a rap edge. Another fitting comparison? Taylor Swift, considering the amount of new material she’s produced during this pandemic.
“I’ve written more music in 2020 than any year yet,” DEVMO shares. “Lots of TikTok campaign tracks, cheerleading tracks, sync tracks and of course my personal music… I feel as if my music changes so much every time I release a new project.”
Her latest EP, Tears, came out January 22 and was written in the few months before COVID-19 lockdowns took effect. It was produced by H3 Music and Vodka Gravas. Compared to earlier releases Call it A Night and Change My Mind, which were heavy on pop and hip-hop sounds, DEVMO says the five-track record is “harder and explicit,” with some “serious sad elements.”
This darker vibe was inspired by DEVMO’s feelings of detachedness during late 2019 and early 2020. Wracked by low self-esteem and doubts about relationships, she felt that she had nothing secure in her life.
“I had just spent six months in Chicago, getting away from all these crazy things that happened in LA, and was moving back to Los Angeles,” she said. “I kind of ran away from my problems in Los Angeles and was worried about moving back because I knew I’d have to deal with them when I got there.”
Lyrically, the tracks deal with the problems that DEVMO was afraid of confronting face-to-face. She confronts growing up in “Scared to Die,” and tackles a difficult breakup with “Getting in the Way.” Her favorite track, though, is the second-to-last on the EP, “Hatin’,” which she describes a great song for getting out of a funk.
“It dives deep into why people hate on me and why people hate in general,” she says. “I get a lot of opinions and judgment on my music. I try not to take it personally but it’s difficult when I know all the work and money I put into creating and perfecting my craft.”
Reading some hurtful words from a friend in a group chat only intensified DEVMO’s commitment to the song’s message. Hearing from a fan who credited her music as a lifesaver, however, reminds her that not everyone’s a hater.
“Sometimes the hardships in life can take you so far down… we are all hurting, times are hard for everyone, but we will make it through,” she said. “Listening to music about someone who’s going through something similar makes you feel less alone and understood. It just meant a lot to me that I could be that person for that individual.”
After Jennifer Lopez made a video for her DSW promotional single “Too Many Shoes,” and the #TooManyShoes hashtag racked up over 4 billion views to date on social media, DEVMO saw her career reach new heights. Influenced by the poetry of Lorde and the infectious aesthetic of Britney Spears, she’s aiming to genre-experiment even more in 2021, and hopefully achieve over a million Spotify streams in the process.
“I release 90 percent of what I create,” she says. “The next [EP] I’m working on is a three-track acoustic project, and I have several trap rap singles coming out this year as well. More videos… as I didn’t get to release any last year, and expect some good vibes after this. It’s time to raise the energy!”