Dev Talks ‘Bittersweet July Part II,’ Working With Kreayshawn + More [EXCLUSIVE]
Electro-pop singer Dev burst onto the music scene in 2010, when her song 'Booty Bounce' was sampled in the insanely popular club track 'Like a G6' by hip-hop group Far East Movement. Once the song took off, Dev was featured on numerous tracks from other high-profile artists like Demi Lovato, David Guetta and Enrique Iglesias. She eventually had the opportunity to break out on her own with the release of her first LP, 'The Night the Sun Came Up,' and things really took off for her with the release of her single 'In The Dark' -- there's not a club on the planet who didn't play the crazy sexy song at some point.
After a brief hiatus -- and giving birth to an adorable baby girl named Emilia -- Dev released Part I of her 'Bittersweet July' EP on Sept. 23, with Part II dropping Dec. 15.
Check out our interview with Dev below to find out why she split the EPs up, what it was like working with Kreayshawn and whether she's tired of being asked about 'Like a G6' yet.
You just released 'Bittersweet July Part II,' which means there's a Part I that came out earlier this year. What was the idea behind splitting the two EPs up?
Well, it’s funny, because I kind of always wanted to do a project in parts, but it was a little bit more accidental with this. With [Part I], I just wanted to have the EP out, and then maybe put a full [album] together. It was kind of like a passion project that ended up in a series. My fans were communicating with me that they wanted more. I spent about a year and a half putting together the first part -- and I was really happy with the reaction -- and it just felt good finally putting out music again. So I got in with my friend, NanosauR, who’s this producer from Oakland, and we were really just messing around for a couple weeks and the Part II just kind of happened. But I’m really happy with it and I think having them in two parts worked out better, because I think the first one is a little bit more poppy and vulnerable, and the second one’s a little more sexy and stronger, it's a little darker. So I think they complement each other really well. But I honestly didn’t really plan on doing the Part I and Part II.
I like how your vocal stylings vary so much throughout the EP — it's a great blend of hip-hop, electronica and pop. What inspired you to mix all those sounds together?
It’s funny. Growing up I listened to everything from the Doors to the Cranberries to Dr. Dre so it was always kind of this mix between hip-hop, rock and electronic. When I first started making music in my closet on Garageband it was just... I don’t know how it happened! That was the only way I ever did it. Maybe it was a subconscious thing of just taking everything I love in music. It definitely wasn’t on purpose. The way you explained it made me feel really cool! But yeah, I try to put everything of what I like into one [song], and I definitely try not to ever have anything sound too forced, you know? It has to feel natural and it has to feel honest. It can’t ever be a song that’s too rap-y or way too poppy.
I know you shot your recent music video for 'Honey Dip' with Kreayshawn. How did filming go?
It was really cool! For me, ‘Honey Dip’ is sort of this honest love record where I’m like 'This is me and I kind of drink and hang out but i’ll love you forever.' I wanted it to feel personal, so we shot it in my house, in my bedroom, in my backyard, in my garage. But it was cool because me and Kreay have known each other since we were probably 18 or 19, but we never had the opportunity to collaborate on anything before. We kind of just missed the mark on each other where, I put out my album and then she put out hers. Then I had my baby and she had her baby! So we kind of just missed the window a little bit. So it was nice to come together finally and have a mini-playdate with the babies, we went shopping at the Goodwill and stuff. It was definitely fun and I think Kreay shoots and directs in a cool way where I very much felt like she had her ideas and visions but also let me do my thing. There's even little clips in the video where i didn’t know they were filming! It's those little things she adds in there that I think are really cool.
Speaking of motherhood, what's it like juggling being a mom and being an artist?
It’s crazy, for sure, but she’s so much fun. And she’s totally sassy and she loves the music. She’s like: "Are you going to the studio today?" "Are you going to the radio station?" So it’s cute for me to see her enjoy it as well. I try to bring her as much as I can. I brought her on a bus tour with me, she has a little baby passport and it’s fun! It’s fun for our whole family to be able to hang out and enjoy the road and music together. She’s definitely feisty.
Does it impact touring or make you want to tour less at all?
At the beginning I felt really guilty leaving her when she was still a baby, and my parents and my fiancé helped out a lot in watching her. But my mom would always say: "You know, moms that have 9-5s have to leave their kids to go to work. Your work is just different," and I was like, "Oh yeah that makes sense. I probably shouldn’t feel bad for working for my child." But it’s a little easier now that she’s bigger and we can bring her [with us]. So it’s definitely easier for sure and it’s really funny, because I did a radio show with [rapper] Sage the Gemini and she has a huge crush on Sage, so she was like “Mommm, is Sage gonna be there??”
How does it feel to transition from being known primarily as a features artist to really being able to come into your own as a solo artist?
It feels great! Having the opportunity to work with all those artists, I got to soak up so much information and really figure out how to come into my own, figure out my favorite ways to write or my favorite ways to work, because I really got to see how so many different people — who are all very successful — do their thing. I was in the studio with 50 Cent, I mean, just, people I’m a huge fan of. I definitely learned a lot and got to pave my own way. It was nice for me to be able to take those learning experiences and apply them to myself. And now I’m a lot more confident when it comes to taking on a whole writing project by myself or telling someone how I want things to sound. I have a better grasp on everything — from performing to the production side. They were great learning experiences, for sure.
Speaking of features: How tired are you of people asking you about 'Like a G6'? Does it still come up a lot?
You know, it does and it’s funny because probably a year after all the craziness I was definitely tired of it, but it’s calmed down so much that now I’m not. I appreciate 'G6.' I mean, it opened up so many doors for me, so I will always have a special place in my heart for poppin' bottles. But yeah, people ask me about it everyday, all the time. I had to come to terms with the fact that I’m going to be 60 and people are going to ask me about it.
Watch Dev's 'Honey Dip' Video