We recently caught up with Reva Devito. The Portland singer/songwriter, is definitely on a roll. Her latest release The Move includes production by Kaytranada, Com Truise, and others. Reva, is presently on tour, and plays her next show on February 8th in Pittsburgh, PA.
Northern Transmissions: Each producer on your EP has their own distinct style for which they are known. Is there a reference point or first track that created the foundation in order to achieve a cohesive sound?
Reva DeVito: Actually, no! Out of 11 or so demo tracks, the 6 that ended up on the record were favorites of mine and the label. I was really happy with the cohesiveness of the sound considering it was pieced together. But all the producers I’ve worked with over the last couple of years are amazing! Feeling honored and proud of the way ‘The Move’ materialized, but definitely excited about newer work and my growth as an artist since ‘The Move’ was conceived. Most of the tracks on the project are over a few years old, so I think fans will be able to hear the progression with the new stuff we are about to release.
NT: Which 3 albums do you consistently come back to and have been a part of your life for the past 3+ years?
* chet baker, chet baker sings
* little dragon, little dragon
* the darjeeling limited soundtrack
NT: Are you familiar with any artists/producers/bands doing great work in your local scene that haven’t had exposure to PR/touring? What song should we check out?
RD: Yes! So many amazing artists in Portland!
*The Last Artful, Dodgr ‘squadron’
*Blossom ‘Black magic woman’
*Natasha Kmeto ‘Pour Down’
*Everything and anything by Tony Ozier
*Everything and anything by Chanti Darling
*Everything and anything by Nafisaria Scroggins
NT: If Frank Ocean lost his voice on stage and asked someone from the audience to sing the next song, what song would you choose and why does it connect with you?
RD: This is such a difficult question because Frank is a lyrical hero to me, but out of his entire treasure chest of brilliant music… I would have to say ‘Swim Good’. Reason being, it was my introduction to him as an artist, that tune. I love the way the beat bangs and the lyrics are so powerful yet simple. It’s a masterpiece in my opinion.
NT: What are you reading at the moment/ what’s your all-time favourite book and why?
RD: Right now I am reading ‘The Power Of Habit’ By Charles Duhigg. And picking a favorite is tough but I am going to have to choose two here… First ‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith because she is a totally inspiring bad ass women that can bring tears with a simple sentence. And also, ‘The Autobiography of Assata Shakur’ because Assata taught me about the real America, not the whitewashed version we get in public schools. She inspired me to take Black Studies courses and learn what’s really going on, and how I can be a better person for it.
NT: Can you update us on the status of the LP? If so, are there any producers you hope to collaborate with?
RD: What I will tell you is that I have a project coming out very soon on ‘Fresh Selects’ so stay tuned.
NT: Do you have any pre-show rituals to get you into the right headspace?
RD: Vocal exercises, a shot of whiskey to calm the nerves, singer spray, and tons of water.
NT: What was inspiring your lyrics during the writing of the ‘MOVE’ep? Was there any non-musical influences that you felt particularly inspired by?
RD: Most of the of the lyrics I write are inspired by experiences, either mine or another entity. Stories that come to me in dreams or real life. Even a film or a piece of art can lead to words that need to come out. Lyricism to me is important. It can’t be too much, but it can’t be too little either. I love rawness and am always striving toward breathing life into song writing.
NT: What valuable lessons have you learned about creativity or the music industry that you would like to share with all of the young musicians out there?
RD: Honestly the biggest lesson that I have learned and continue to learn is to never have expectations in this industry. Nothing is ever set in stone, until it actually happenED. If amazing things happen with your art, its because you kept working, releasing, playing and having fun with it! I will always look at music as my hobby, my passion, and my interest and not as my career.
interview by Justice M