Up-and-coming singer-songwriter Devin Kennedy has recently launched his solo career and is already impressing critics and fans alike with his sultry and dynamic pop tracks. I got the chance to talk with him about how he originally got into music, what he took away from his time at Berklee College of Music, his new single “Bad Habit” and so much more. Keep reading to see what he had to say!
My grandfather was an accomplished concert pianist, and my dad is a commercial music producer/mastering engineer. We had a studio in the house growing up that my Dad and I spent all our time in. While doing so, I picked up guitar, drums, bass, and piano.
Was there a specific moment or person that made you realize music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
It was always in the back of my mind growing up. And from a very young age, I knew that I needed to make music. In my opinion, it’s the most passion-driven form of creativity and I don’t know what I’d do without it. That being said, I remember walking back from a drawing class in 6th grade, popping in my iPod brick headphones and listening to a band that I had never heard of called “All Time Low”. I was set from there.
You got the chance to study at Berklee College of Music. In what ways did your studies there impact the artist you’ve become now? What’s the biggest lesson you learned in school that you still keep with you as you create music today?
I use what I learned at Berklee every day. Not only in a production and songwriting sense but also in a business sense. Over everything else, Berklee taught me to have an open mind towards creating music. To serve the song and go with your gut. That well-written music should be recognized and appreciated regardless of genre.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music. So how would you describe your sound without using genre names? What kind of music do you produce?
I’m a fan of well-written music. I love the way all songs can be broken down and analyzed. I write conversational and emotional songs driven by real world experience. On a production level, I’m always attempting to write the next melody that will keep you up at night.
Talk a little bit about your new single, “Bad Habit.” What’s the story behind that song?
Sometimes I think love has the potential to be our worst habit. We adopt traits from other people in our lives. If you spend enough time with a friend or a partner, you both start to pawn off habits whether you try to or not. In a way, the love that you share is the true Bad Habit.
What was your song writing process like for this song in particular? Did you write it by yourself or did you collaborate with other writers?
This song happened quickly. I had the Bad Habit concept and the opening piano line and it all fell together from there. I think I wrote, recorded, produced, mixed and mastered the song in a 20-hour period. When you’re chasing a certain sound that you hear in your head, sometimes you have to stay up all night to perfect it. That’s exactly what happened on this one. I do a lot of co-writing these days, but sometimes you’re working alone and something really special comes from it.
Since we just talked about being inspired to write songs, who are some of your musical influences when it comes to songwriting in general?
Like I said before, I grew up so inspired by All Time Low, bands like Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard (RIP. Was at their last show ever)…etc. I still love those bands, down to their newest music. These days I’m also deeply inspired by pop music, specifically the amazing writing community that supports pop. Max Martin, Ryan Tedder, Justin Tranter, JKash, Charlie Puth…etc.
You’ve already accomplished a lot in your career and at such a young age, but you’re still relatively new to the music game. What are some music-industry related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in the next couple of years?
Thank you. We’re still at the beginning of a long journey. There’s so much music to be made and so many people to reach. Some goals over the next couple of years would be to get out on the road consistently, keep releasing songs that I’m proud of, continue to build my team, and touch as many people as I can with my message.
Musically, what can people expect from you for the rest of 2018? Does your new single mean we can expect an EP or album anytime soon? Any plans to tour?
There will be more music. Singles, yes. The goal is to eventually roll all of this into a bigger release, but everyone will have to stay tuned for that news. I’m currently weighing some touring options for next year, as well as some great live opportunities through the fall that I’ll be announcing soon!
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner-nerd. What is something, besides music, that you nerd out about?
When I want to relax, take a break, pass some time, you can definitely find me playing some Rollercoaster Tycoon or something.