Reva Devito: On 90s R&B, Songwriting, and More

Photo Credit: Tiki

Recently, Girl Underground Music had the chance to sit down with Portland-based singer Reva Devito before her show in LA last Friday. With her distinctly sultry voice and facility for making melodious soul tracks, we chatted with Reva about her inspirations, songwriting process, and what music means to her.

What’s your earliest memory with music? 

“I was an only child, so music was like my pal. I used to make tapes from the radio, back in the day when you would just press record. That’s when I would start falling in love with music, I also remember trying to make my voice sound like people on the radio.”

Who are some of your inspirations? Artists you grew up listening to?

“I’ve always been drawn to soul. Growing up in the 90s, R&B was big for me. Outside of that I used to love 80s drum vibe stuff, The Pretenders, Tears for Fears… that kind of sound. As I got older classic rock, classic soul; Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. Good music was just good music!”

How has your project evolved from when you first started it?

“I first started taking this project seriously in 2012, I put out a project with a Portland based producer, “Cloudshine“. I believe the project is always evolving, in terms of my experience as a person, what I’m going through… what my friends are going through. My voice has definitely gotten better with more practice and training. Listening back to “Cloudshine”, I was kind of stuck in a range, and now when I listen to “The Move” it feels like I’m reaching for it and expanding.

You’ve worked with producers like Kaytranada and Tek.Lun. How did you link up, and how did they help develop your sound?

“I was acquainted with those guys through a mutual friend and we just started sending music back and forth. With Kaytranada one thing led to another and we started making tracks, that’s also how I started getting involved with HW&W Recordings. 

When it came time to put the “The Move” out, I got a lot of instrumental tracks from several producers, and those were the six we wanted to go with that I liked. It was a happy accident that it ended up being so cohesive. I love that 80s sound, that synth.”

What is your songwriting process like?

“Most of the time I’ll just write to an instrumental sent to me, I usually just sing scats and melodies. Once I find the melody template I want to use I usually fill it in with words.”

Who did the artwork for your EP “The Move”?

“The Art Director from HW&W, Franz, he sent me a sketch of myself, and I just put a heart face on it. I feel like the sketch has been done so many times, and I just wanted to have this element of mystery.”

What can we expect to at your show tonight?

“We’re gonna play a couple of tunes from a project between me and B. Bravo. We have a pretty simple set-up just a DJ, main vocals that I do, and live keyboards to add some more exciting elements. I’ll also be playing out some new stuff. In terms of new music, I have a lot more range in my voice now.”

Any artists we should be keeping an eye on?

“Look out for ‘The Last Arftul, dodgr’ from Portland, she’s just a nasty and amazing MC. She slays so hard.”  

Thanks to Reva for the chat! Be sure to keep up with her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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