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Time With: Devon Gilfillian

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Navigating the storms of a pandemic and political unrest, singer-songwriter Devon Gilfillian found solace in music, love, and therapy, using his latest album, 'Love You Anyway,' to serve as a tribute to Black joy.

This Time With piece delves into the transformative impact of his music, exploring how it transcends boundaries and weaves resilience into his compelling narrative. While confidently embracing vulnerability, Gilfillian's journey becomes a powerful testament to the healing nature of art during challenging times.

Devon Gilfillian

1. Tell us a bit about your story: who are you and what has your journey looked like so far?

I’m a mixed kid from outside of Philly and I fell in love with music very early on because of my dad. My dad is a singer and worked as a wedding singer when I was a kid. Growing up, I listened to a lot of hip-hop, but I was also listening to Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, the Temptations, and all of the good old soul my Dad loved. When I was 14, I picked up the guitar and that’s when I really fell in love with music. My dad hit me in the back of the head with a Jimi Hendrix cd and I wasn’t the same since. That’s when I knew that Music was my path. I studied psychology in college, knowing that I really wanted to be a musician. After I graduated, I moved to Nashville, and that’s where the real journey started.

Devon Gilfillian

2. Who inspires you musically and creatively?

So many people inspire me musically and creatively. My dad is my first inspiration, then Stevie Wonder, Pharrell, Jimi Hendrix. Right now I’m listening to a lot of Radiohead.

3. What is the creative process behind your music?

Usually my creative process starts with me humming a melody in my head and then out loud. Then I’ll record that melody into a voice note, and then I’ll try and find a chord progression on the guitar that can dance with that melody. In the meantime, I have a drum groove that’s also in my head. I lay down a demo drum track and then sing over that with the cord progression and melody.

With my latest album 'Love You Anyway,' I spent the past three years of a pandemic writing 100 songs. And then went through all of those songs, and found the ones that really spoke to me and shined more than the others. After that, I went into the studio with my incredible producer, Jeremy Lutito and we stacked layers of instruments on top of each other until we found the songs. That took us about a while but eventually we got 'Love You Anyway'.

Devon Gilfillian

4. What’s the best advice you’ve received during your journey?

To play every show like it’s your last.

5. How do you nurture your creativity?

To nurture my creativity, I first take care of my body. I feed myself, I hydrate, and I make sure that I’m in a good physical space. In the meantime, I’m always looking for new music to listen to, shows that are inspiring, books that are inspiring, and I fill my tank. The next step is making sure that I show up to my writing sessions every day in the morning. I try to fill three blank pages with my thoughts, and then I’m ready to start writing music.

6. What do you hope your music will reveal to your listeners?

I hope that my music makes people want to have difficult conversations with each other. I hope that my music brings people together. I also hope that it makes people shake their ass.

Devon Gilfillian

7. Are there any upcoming shows or projects we can look forward to?

We’re about to start my Love You Anyway tour and I’m really excited! We’re traveling all over the North America and hopefully back overseas this fall.

8. Is there any advice you want to give to new artists?

My advice would be to stay true to yourself, stay curious, work hard and build a team of people around you that love you and are going to bust their ass for you.

You can listen to Devon's latest album below!


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