Q&A: L Devine Explores Pop Freedom

Q&A: L Devine Explores Pop Freedom

With her career bubbling, L Devine sat down with V to talk about her life, her creative freedom and her new song "Naked Alone".

With her career bubbling, L Devine sat down with V to talk about her life, her creative freedom and her new song "Naked Alone".

Photography: William Henry Thompson

Text: Julian Wright

Nothing is getting in the way of L Devine's rise. The Newcastle native has been releasing music for some time now and it's been the object of adoration from critics and fans alike. She has over 10 million streams on Spotify and the attention of a growing audience with two EPs under her belt. She's even caught Charli XCX's eye, who called her "the motherfucking future of pop music." A claim like that doesn't come without merit. Just released today, her new song "Naked Alone" is further proof of her pop prowess. L Devine sat down with V to discuss her life and the past, present and future of her creative output.

Q: How are you?

I’m great. I’ve just been enjoying Newcastle, my hometown. I had my first show on Friday night so that was really fun. I think I’m on an adrenaline comedown right now.

Yeah, like a post-concert depression type thing.

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m going through right now.

Q: What are you listening to right now?

Ooh, that’s a good question. I’m obsessed with the new Banks track right now, "Gimme". It’s so good. Honestly, I’ve listened to it like 10 times today. It’s so sick.

Q: What is your most treasured possession?

In Newcastle, I have this huge box that I’ve had since I was 13 years old, where I just put loads of random momentos in it and things that mean a lot to me and pictures. It’s like a memory box. That’s pretty important to me. I’d be devastated if I lost it.

Q: What’s your favorite memory in there?

There are literally so many in there. I put everything in there, the most random stuff. I remember once – I probably shouldn’t be saying this – I had a meal out with all of my friends and we had the best time ever. After, I was like, “You know what? I need to remember this. I’m going to steal a spoon from this restaurant.” So I just have this spoon in the box from that night out.

Q: On Instagram, you posted a photo on Instagram with the caption “I’m the next Bond girl.” This got me thinking: are there any other creative mediums that you want to explore?

I don’t know about being the next Bond girl. I mean, maybe one day? You know what, I think I would like being the next Bond, that would be cooler. I would love to do anything. I’m really into film. My visuals are so important to me in my music. I would love to do stuff with film outside of music - writing, drawing, anything creative really. I think I want to try it all.

Q: What is L Devine’s motto? What’s the mantra that you live by?

It sounds kind of cliché but I always try and say, “Be free.” Don’t worry, you’re way cooler than you think you are. No matter how many people in high school told you how uncool you are, that’s what’s going to make you cooler. Yeah, be free.

Q: On the topic of being free, you’ve released a lot of great music and you’ve gotten plenty of acclaim for it – for the sound, for the messages. Do you ever feel pressure for you and your music to live up to those expectations? Does that ever hinder you from feeling free?

Yeah, I guess so. I have to remind myself that I do this because I love it and not because of what other people tell me to do. I was overwhelmed by the response from my last EP, Peer Pressure, but now I definitely think , “I need to top this. This needs to be better than the last thing I put out.” You know, off the back of the last EP, the greatest thing about it is that I have people that listen to my music now. There’s a comfort in knowing that people are waiting for something. I have an audience that I can direct my music to. That’s kind of helped me through it. But I love making music. Even if I’m feeling pressure, I’m still having fun doing it and I love it.

Q: Are you currently working on an EP right now?

No, not at the moment. I just have a bunch of songs that I just want to put up. I take my time with them and each one has been written like a year apart. I’ve got all of these songs that I just want to get out. I think for now I’m going to release a few single and just keep it running. Hopefully next year, another EP or maybe even an album. We’ll see.

Q: With “Naked Alone”, what inspired you to write it?

That was one of the first songs I wrote when I moved to London, so it’s pretty old now. I’ve been sitting on that song for two year now. We’ve just been waiting for the right time to put it out. It was just about me moving to London, away from my hometown. I felt so small in a huge city and it was a lot for me. I struggled with loneliness and not knowing anyone. When I went into the studio, I thought why not turn this into a really fun, tongue-in-cheek pop song instead of feeling sorry for myself. So that’s exactly what I did. It’s basically an anthem for anyone that’s every felt lonely but wants to dance to it.

It’s definitely a danceable track, so you accomplish that!

Good, I’m glad to hear it!

Q: You can find a fun sound and have a meaningful message in a lot of genres, but what drew you to pop?

I don’t know man, I’ve never really sat down and thought, “I want to make this kind of music.” I’ve just made the music that I’ve felt like making. I feel like pop music has no boundaries, especially nowadays. It’s just the most freeing genre of music. I feel like I can make anything that I want to make and it’s still pop music. I love it, I love pop music.

Q: Who’s your dream collab?

I would love to do something with Dev Hynes. Or Robyn. Or Lorde. Oh my god, there are so many. Oh, Christine and the Queens – that’s actually my dream collab! There’s a lot.

Q: What is your best touring moment?

My first ever show was on May 3rd. I guess that was my best touring moment [laughter].

Q: Oh wow! So then what was the highlight from that show?

I was not expecting walking out there and fans singing along. Genuinely, I thought it was going to be my dad and a few of his mates. I was so nervous; I didn’t look out to peek at the crowd at all and when I got out, I was gobsmacked. It was these kids, the venue was absolutely packed and everyone was singing along. I was completely overwhelmed. I was so taken aback. It was amazing.

Q: What are you obsessed with right now, outside of music?

Cooking. I’m obsessed with cooking. Every night I look up recipes and try to master them. I also watch tons of movies. I watch a movie every single day. But that sounds pretty lame, I feel like that’s just everyone’s normal life but … Yeah, I definitely try and watch a movie every single day.

Q: No, not lame! What are your favorite thing to cook and what’s the last movie you watched?

Right now, I’m loving Middle Eastern food. So I make a really good stuffed aubergine. The last film I watched was the Alexander McQueen documentary and that was unbelievable. So sad.

Q: Last question! Do you feel a responsibility as a queer person to showcase that identity in your music?

Yeah, definitely. When I released "Daughter", the response it got from all my fans and the connection it had with so many people was unbelievable. It’s so special when people message and tell me that I’ve helped them through something. When I was 14 and I was struggling with coming to terms with who I was, I know that I would’ve appreciated an artist being so honest and free talking about these kinds of things. It’s amazing that people are coming to me and telling me I’m doing that for them.

You can listen to L Devine’s newest song, “Naked Alone”, out today, below.

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