Devlin isn’t really your archetypal grime emcee. Like his bio goes “you’re more likely to hear tales of conspiracy theories, politics and Pavarotti” than ferocious road bars emanating from the mouth of the Dagenham raised rapper. From his early steps onto the scene performing on pirate stations like Flava FM with the Outakers (O.T crew), it was evident Devlin had been inspired to create his own voice rather than mimic any of the scene’s leading lights. Furthermore, his introspective lyrics and his grounding in the youtube generation of grime artists whose videos clock an incredible amount of plays helped his music grab the attention of Island Records, who released his debut album, ‘Bud, Sweat & Tears’, in November of last year.
Ahead of his performance at Snowbombing’s Xmas party in Room One this Friday we caught up with him quickly to find out a little bit about what he’s been up to in the downtime between projects.
You put out your debut ‘Bud, Sweat & Beers’ album last year. Are you happy with the way it was received?
Yes, I was very happy and surprised. We didn’t have any top ten’s on my album so to sell over 100,000 was a great achievement for us.
What have you been working on since then?
I started work on my second album and did a lot of live performances with my band. I did two album tours in March and May, 14 festivals and supported Jessie J on her tour in October.
You’ve worked with a lot of artists in collaboration. How do you find that process? Is it something you enjoy creatively?
I enjoy working with other creative people. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some really talented artists over the past 12 months; it’s been good to see how other artists work. I find it helps to bounce ideas off others and experiment with different sounds and concepts.
You’re playing in Room One for Snowbombing on the 23rd. Have you been to the festival before?
I haven’t so I don’t really know what to expect but I’m looking forward to it.
Your lyrics seem to come from somewhere that’s a bit closer to heart/home than a lot of the braggadocios rappers. You seem to be building a career off the back of such reality raps, why do you think that type of songwriting is so well received?
I think fans find it easier to relate to artists that speak about real situations and issues. Not everyone can relate to the life that some artist speak about so it’s hard for people to connect.
You came through as part of OT. Do you still listen to grime?
I do, I’ve always been into a wide range of music but grime and rap are my preferred tempos to write to so I’ve listened to a lot of that over the years.
What are your plans for the future?
I have my new album coming out next year so I’m putting the finishing touches to that. I’m looking forward to touring again and performing the new songs to the fans, and just continue to enjoy what I do.