INTERVIEW: L Devine | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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With a penchant for blending poignant narratives with a dose of wittiness, Whitley Bay born-and-raised pop star L Devine releases her debut album Digital Heartifacts this month.  

Her journey from a music-loving youngster to a pop star to be reckoned with has been a testament to resilience and artistic exploration. The title of the album draws inspiration from Devine’s digital log of life stored on her laptop, as well as the overarching electro pop soundscape. Collaborating with producer Julien Flew, Devine disrupts raw, live sounds with computer production and glitchy noises, which Devine calls ‘digital artifacts’. “The album meshes together the two worlds which inspired the album – the natural versus digital worlds.” She explains.

As she discusses the album’s themes, there’s an unmistakable candour to her words. “It focuses on feelings of being misunderstood, seeking connection and longing to be understood.” Despite the depth of these struggles, Devine finds comfort in light-hearted expression, admitting: “there are a lot of self-deprecating lyrics, but I always wrap them up in humour… I like to deflect heaviness with humour. I cringe myself out if I take myself too seriously in my lyrics, so I wrap it up in a joke somehow.”

I was really inspired by that feeling that lives in between having a mental breakdown and total liberation

At the age of 19, Devine relocated to London to pursue her musical aspirations, where she signed to a major label and released several successful EPs and singles (including Growing Pains, Peer Pressure, Peachy Keen and Boring People). However, her return to Newcastle amidst the pandemic brought clarity – she didn’t want to return to life in London and amicably parted ways with her label. Now an independent artist, Devine is basking in the benefits of creative autonomy: “I’ve got so much more out of it and feel so much more fulfilled as an artist. I don’t feel like an artist unless I’m all over everything – visuals, lyrics, music and live. Being able to drive every aspect of it is so important.” She has even tried her hand at co-producing four tracks on the album; garage-lite Eaten Alive, lo-fi Miscommunikaty, bouncy Worship and Devine’s personal favourite, Hater. Devine asserts, “these songs have a lot of me embedded in them.”

Devine describes recent alt. pop single If I Don’t Laugh I’ll Cry as “one of the most fun songs on the album”. The lyrics are sad, but in true L Devine style, they’re also humorous and freeing. “I was really inspired by that feeling that lives in between having a mental breakdown and total liberation. I think there’s a little sweet spot that you live in when everything is going wrong, but it feels so right and you just have no inhibitions any more.”

The powerhouse that is L Devine is not to be missed live, and she is “gasping to get back on tour”. With an upcoming headline tour, which includes a show at Wylam Brewery in April, she expresses that fans can anticipate “loads of fucking energy”. “I am so in love with this music and can’t wait to show you how much I love it.”

Summarising her debut album, Devine describes Digital Heartifacts as “the most defined version of me that I’ve ever put out there. This is L Devine, so if they don’t like this, then they don’t like L Devine.” 

L Devine releases Digital Heartifacts on 2nd February. She performs at Wylam Brewery, Newcastle on Wednesday 17th April.

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