Devin K will soon release his first EP in three years, but the new album will showcase his talents and voice unlike ever before, starting with the music video for his latest song, "Move."
The former soccer player debuted his first EP "Rendezvous" in 2012, but the new song and as-yet-untitled album will have a more mature sound for the budding artist. He describes the first album as "beach and poppy" compared to his new sound of soul, pop and R&B.
"'Move' is the first real piece of music that I've put out there that's 100 percent me," Devin told Headlines & Global News. "It's not anything that needed to be influenced by other people depending on how my music needed to sound. This is how I want it to sound."
Devin cited the music video directors Rob Witt and Alex Delgado for having the "biggest influence on the concept." The black-and-white video was shot at El Mirage, a completely dry lakebed about two hours northeast of Los Angeles.
"[Witt and Delgado] had a really great vision," he said. "[The video is] relatively up for interpretation and we all definitely had our input in it and it became a real group collaborative concept."
The "Move" music video premiered on Jan. 13 and over just the first couple days, Devin had already received a lot of positive feedback. He was most thrilled to see those fans who "came out of the woodwork" and have followed his career since the beginning, excited about his new style.
"It just super fun to see all the love and support still," he said.
In the studio, Devin was most excited about working with music producer Rich L'Abbee, who has a Master's degree in piano composition. The "Move" singer praises the up-and-coming producer with his skill on the ivories as well as his ear for what Devin wants to produce.
"He's the most incredible piano player you've ever heard," Devin said. "He's on the ride right now too. He's kind of taking this journey with me."
The Long Beach, California native knew he always wanted to play music growing up, and when it came to music or soccer, he says, "It was never really a question." He regularly carried his ukulele with him while a member of the New York Red Bulls professional soccer team.
"I would be in my hotel room with a ukulele writing while everyone was out partying," he said. His time on the pitch did prepare him for public performances.
"Obviously the relationship between soccer and music can seem far off, but they are relatively similar because even though you're playing it, you need to be performing and put on a show for people," Devin said.
The attachment to his ukulele also helped him get on tour with Shwayze in the summer of 2013. Devin's friend, who drove the tour bus for the "Buzzin'" rapper, invited him out to one of the tour stops and Devin brought along his four-stringed instrument.
While on the bus, Shwayze caught Devin improvising a little ditty and the two ended up writing for hours. Their final result was the song "Ms. Fortune," which Shwayze featured on his 2013 album "Shwayze's Summer."
"I had never really had a conversation with him before that and we spent hours in the tour bus writing," Devin said.
"Shwayze's Summer" reached No. 6 on the iTunes hip-hop charts that year and the rapper asked Devin to come on tour with him. The crooner quickly packed up and hit the road.
Devin has also written for artists such as Cody Simpson, Jordin Sparks and Jason Mraz. As exciting as it was to hear the music he wrote out in the public, he sometimes grew frustrated handing over his compositions to other people.
"We'd start writing something that I really liked and then I would be like, I can't really separate my feelings for wanting it to be mine now," he said. "It's a mix of excitement and jealousy. Not real jealousy, it's all excitement but through the years I've definitely gotten used to it and it's become nothing but exciting now."
Devin K's music career has progressed quickly over the past three years, but he came back to Los Angeles with many of the same unanswered questions that most performers have starting out in the city.
“It’s one of those things where you first move out here, you don’t know how it’s going to go. You don’t know how you’re going to be discovered,” he said.
Things became a little clearer in 2012 when an old friend from Long Beach called and told him to turn on his radio to Power 106, a popular radio station out of L.A.
“I didn’t even know it was going to be on the radio,” he said. He dashed out to his car in the driveway to listen and “freaked out a little bit.” Unfortunately, he was home alone and had no one else to celebrate with.
“It was the best worst thing ever. It was actually pretty funny. I just walked up to the house and thought, ‘What just happened?” Devin said.
DJ Felli Fel played his song “Back to LA,” off the “Rendezvous” EP, on heavy rotation that year. Department stores such as H&M, Nordstrom and Hollister & Co. then started picking up the tracks to play in-store.
Devin hopes the songs off his upcoming EP, which has yet to set a release date, see the same kind of distribution whether on the radio, in stores, or featured on TV shows or in movies.
“Honestly, I feel like I’m trying to make [my music] for everybody so I hope it gets played anywhere and everywhere. I want it to be heard all over.”