DEVMO discusses her new EP, being authentic as an artist and what’s next for her

Devin Moses, better known as DEVMO, has been making a name for herself in the rap scene over the past several years.  Growing up in Chicago, her mother hosted an Irish music radio show and she was raised with a love for traditional Irish music.  Also the niece of acclaimed Irish dancer Michael Flatley, her Irish roots run deep.  Although she didn’t follow in her uncle’s footsteps as a dancer, the rhythm of Irish music and dancing have influenced her as an artist.   Not bound by the confines of any one genre, her life dictates her music and each project sounds different from the one before.  She started singing, playing guitar and writing her own songs from an early age, but it was her move to LA as a teenager that caused her discover her love for rap music and her talent for free styling. Having attended the Independent Artist Program at the Musicians Institute in CA, she won their Artist Development showcase against 8 of the best students.  It was here that she felt like she truly fit in for the first time in her life and where she found her tribe.  Since releasing her first album in 2015, she has performed at a variety of venues throughout LA and Chicago, as well as in Ireland.  She has opened for rappers such as Snow Tha Product, Gavlyn, Oh Blimey, and Angel Haze, as well as Hugh Augustine and Yung from the Hip Hop group Cali Swag District.  She recently experienced a surge in popularity after releasing the song “Too Many Shoes” with Julian Xtra for a DSW TikTok Campaign, leading to the hashtag #TooManyShoes to go viral and to Jennifer Lopez to make a video to it.   She has also had music featured on ‘Love Island US’, as well as on a SnapChat dance show called ‘Move It’ starring Dytto.   She recently released her latest EP entitled Tears, which explores the hardships that come along with growing older, striving for success and overcoming self doubt.  This EP sees DEVMO at her most vulnerable, exploring her deepest fears and insecurities, and was a cathartic experience for her.  The EP also explores the illusion of social media and the negative effects it can have on us all, with the addiction that many have to the likes and follows and comments.  With tons of new music and visuals one the way, DEVMO is an artist to keep on your radar!  You can connect with DEVMO via the following links.  Photo credit: Ashley Bronson.  Interview by: Emily May.



You grew up in Chicago and have talked about your love for traditional Irish music, as your mom hosted an Irish music radio show in Chicago and you’re the niece of Irish Dancing legend Michael Flatley. What can you tell me about how the rhythm of Irish music and dancing influenced you as a musician?

Wow. No one has ever asked me that. That’s a brilliant question. Music and dancing is a massive part of Irish culture. Irish dancing is a percussive based art form and that rhythm is heavily ingrained in me. Growing up my mom always had music playing, whether it was Irish music, classical, or jazz. She loves music the way that I do. Seeing her host the radio show was so cool. The Chicago Irish community were her dedicated listeners. My dad is a fine artist and architect, and my sister makes weekly playlists and works for Universal Music Group. We are a very creative family, so I was surrounded by art and music my whole life.


You have been to Ireland several times, visiting family, studying abroad at UCD and visiting family and have said it is a very healing and peaceful place for you. What do you enjoy doing when you visit? Why do you feel it is such a healing place for you?

I go back to Ireland every year with my mom. She owns the house she grew up in in County Carlow and is remodeling it now so we go and watch the progress that’s being made. I did a study abroad at UCD and it was a lovely experience. Ireland is so healing for me because when I’m on the land my ancestors lived on for centuries, I can feel their presence. It’s so peaceful. I can’t hear cars driving by or planes over head. All I can hear is the trees in the wind, streams trickling, cows mooing, and birds singing. It’s a chance to get away from the madness of everyday life in America.


You have been singing, playing guitar and creating your own songs from an early age, discovering your love for rap music in high school and your talent for freestyling. You have talked about how your initial attempts to write “cool” rap songs fell flat and realized that being authentic and true to yourself helped you to create your artistic flow. What can you tell me about your early years rapping and your evolution in finding your style as a rapper/musician?


Haha, honestly I’m not a very good freestyler. I started out freestyling at parties with my friends, as I’m sure most rappers do. Then that turned into me playing around with GarageBand on my computer. I’d produce beats and rap to them and my mom heard my first song and cried and told me she thought I should pursue music. I created and released many songs, took any show I could, and even started my own cypher series, as no other cypher series would get back to me when I reached out. I just wrote, and continue to write, about the things around me. The nouns; the people, places, and things. I guess my persistence is what sets me apart from others. I can’t stop making music because there’s nothing else on Earth I’m meant to do. My style changes frequently now, and I like that.



What kinds of challenges have you faced as a woman in the rap industry and what do you feel are some of your proudest moments?


This sounds bad, but I’m not a fan of this question. I 100% believe that being successful, in almost any industry, is more difficult for women based on our role throughout history. However, I can’t stand when people take on a victim mentality. Especially someone with privilege, like myself. I think the best way to stop this question from showing up on interviews in the future is by being a success in music, so that being a woman in music isn’t such a novelty.


Some of my proudest moments were playing SF Pride and LA Pride. I’ve opened for Snow Tha Product twice. I’ve opened for Angel Haze in England and Ireland. I’ve opened for Caskey, and I’ve done a 36 city tour. When my friends and family dig a song I release, that’s always a really proud moment for me.


You have said that the Musicians Institute in CA was the first place where you ever truly felt that you fit in. What can you tell me about attending their Independent Artist Program, winning the prestigious Artist Development Showcase and what you learned during your time there?


I love how knowledgeable you guys are on my life lol. I really appreciate all the research you’ve done. Thank you. I’ve always been the quiet nerdy type. I definitely wasn’t cool in highschool. In fact, the only class I enjoyed in school was art class. Musician’s Institute was the first time I was “cool” and liked my classes. I was surrounded by people who were obsessed with music just like me. We all got along and collaborated and hung out. It was a really special time in my life. I learned the importance of finding your tribe. Your tribe is a group of people you meet throughout your life who have the same interests and passions as you. You support each other and help each other grow. You’ll know them when you meet them lol.


You have said that alone time is key for you and that time not making music is so important, because while music is a huge part of your life, it is not your entire life. What do you enjoy doing outside of music and what does self-care look like for you? Have you often felt pressure to not stop and not take breaks from making music?


Outside of music, I love spending time with my family. I have an 8 month old nephew who is the light of my life. I go on long walks with my dog, take day trips out of town, cook good food. I love taking baths and doing facials. I really enjoy being home.


Having not been able to get on any cypher a few years back, what can you tell me about the cypher series you created and about the rappers and artists you have featured?


My cypher series is at 10 episodes now. I was planning on filming a hand full of them during 2020 but obviously that didn’t work out. I’d love to start them up again. I just choose 3-5 rappers I love and get them on it. I send them a beat in advance so they can prepare a 16 for it and we get together and film it. I enjoy them but I slowed down on them because it takes a lot of time and organization to get everyone locked in.


What can you tell me about living in Hollywood, where people seem to be valued more for their wealth, status and success more than who they are as a person? How do you stay grounded in that kind of environment? You talked about moving back to Chicago for a few months in 2019 to take a break from Hollywood. What was the time away like for you and what was it like to return to LA and reacclimate to life there?


I enjoyed the fun and excitement of Hollywood very much. I learned a lot about the music industry and made some “friends”, but after I was in Chicago for 6 months I realized I didn’t want to live in Hollywood anymore. I spent my time in Chicago with my grandma, my family, my godfather, and some of my best friends. I returned after six months only because I didn’t find a permanent living situation. However, instead of going back to Hollywood, I went to Santa Monica. I was born there and went to highschool at SAMO so it’s home to me. It took me a little time to acclimate because I didn’t know how I was going to survive or what steps to take to keep pushing my music career. That’s when most of my EP Tears was written. I was in limbo and felt a bit hopeless. I wound up getting an internship at Scott Frankfurt Studio in Woodland Hills, which taught me so much. It’s an experience I’ll never forget. It re-sparked my passion for all things music. Then corona hit lol, need I say more?


You recently released your new EP Tears, which explores the hardships that come along with growing older, striving for success and overcoming self-doubt. You have said that when you were writing the EP, you felt lost and hopeless and didn’t know where you were going in life because you had been making music for 7 + years with not much success. What can you tell me about writing the songs for the EP and do you feel it was a cathartic experience for you? What message do you hope listeners take away from the songs?


Yes, writing my EP was extremely cathartic. The level of vulnerability I reached to write, and especially to release, this project was new for me. I used to guard myself by trying to make music that’s “cool” instead of real. I find that impossible now. After releasing Tears, I feel like I have nothing to hide from or be ashamed of. I told everyone my deepest fears and insecurities. It’s like the scene in 8 Mile when Eminem raps about all his shortcomings before the other rapper can bring them up. I’ve exposed myself and I feel free. I want my EP to spark vulnerability in others. We hide so much behind social media and photoshop and pleasant conversation, but so often we neglect to get real and gritty. I think that vulnerability is how you create meaningful relationships and ultimately a meaningful life.





Tears also touches on the illusion of social media and the negative effect it has on people. What can you tell me about your thoughts on social media and traps that people can fall into if they aren’t mindful? In what ways do you feel social media can be useful?


People mostly only show positive events in their lives on social media. I have personally been scolded by people for posting something too real or too raw. I can’t stand that we all pretend we’re perfect on social media. We’re mostly all living a giant lie. Also, the addiction to the likes and the comments and the numbers is all so sad and sickening. However, on the other hand, I think social media is a fantastic tool. A way of showing off your talents, promoting a live show, even getting information (in some cases). It’s not all bad, I just think we spend too much time on it. It’s become a source of entertainment and addiction, instead of just the tool that it is.


You feature musician Dean Risko on the track “Detached” and also sang with him on his song “Faultline” in December of last year. How did you meet and come to collaborate with him?


Dean Risko has been a friend of mine for the last five years I believe. Wow, I actually can’t remember the day we met haha. All I know is, the first time I heard him sing, I knew he was a star. He’s an incredible writer, singer, and rapper. We were friends for so long before we actually collaborated on anything. “Faultline” was the first track we made together. He’s amazing, go follow him!!


How did the opportunity come about for you to have your song “Are You Ready?” featured on episode 16 of Love Island, as well as working with Julian Xtra to co-write and perform “Too Many Shoes” for DWS’s ‘Too Many Shoes’ Campaign and the crazy amount of attention it received?


I’ve been working with an amazing producer named Stefan Lit. We’ve been heavily working on Sync tracks for the last six months, so “Are You Ready” being placed was a result of that.
I’ve known Julian Xtra since 2016 when he and I both placed in the top 12 of TeamBackPack’s World Underground rap contest against 2,400 rappers. He’s making big moves in the music industry right now and currently works for a company that creates music for tiktok campaigns. He contacted me in need of some female rap vocals and a few months later J Lo made a video to the song we made. It was the highlight of my 2020 for sure.


Your albums and EPs are all different in sound and you have talked about how your music changes so much every time you release a new project. What inspires your ever-changing sound? What can listeners/fans expect from upcoming music?


My life changes, therefore my music changes. It’s really that simple. My music matches my current mood.
Listeners and fans can expect some trappy bops, some sensual rap/r&b, and a happy sweet ep with a full live band. So again, I’m all over the place lol.


What’s next for you?


A TON of new music and visuals! Woo Hoo.





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