Interview: Devon Cole – July for the Whole Year / Alive

I wrote “July for the Whole Year” when I was 17 and dramatically mourning the end of a summer love (which felt entirely soul-crushing to me at the time). It speaks to the longing feeling that comes from having to say goodbye without really wanting to, and the promises that young lovers make to one another in the heat of summer romance.

Hi Devon Cole, how are you today?

I’m great, thank you!

How would you describe your sound?

I would describe my sound as indie pop with a bit of cowgirl flair.

Which artists have influenced you the most over the years?

I grew up listening to a lot of country queens like Shania Twain, Sheryl Crow, The Chicks. I think that’s why I sing with a bit of twang. I’m also a huge John Mayer fan – “Paradise Valley” is probably one of my favourite albums of all time.

Recently, I’ve become obsessed with Phoebe Bridgers because of her lyrical genius. She writes with a level of sophistication that I’m really trying to reach in the songs I’m working on now.

Can you tell us about how your single, ‘July for the Whole Year,” came about?

I wrote “July for the Whole Year” when I was 17, about a boy I knew for a week. “July” was always my go-to whenever I had the opportunity to share original music – gigging and whatnot – so when I felt ready to release something, it made sense to me that it would be my first release.

I worked with a producer in Toronto during March, right before COVID-19 started to seriously ramp up. We adapted to Zoom sessions and got the song finished that way. It took a long time to get it done because I redid the “final” vocal three times. The plan was to release it in July because, well, that made sense given the song’s title, but I ended up releasing it in September.

Since then, “July” has done really well in terms of streams – far better than I ever expected it to. I’m extremely grateful for this initial push and just so excited for what’s next.

Tell us about your new single, “Alive.”

I wrote “Alive” in October of last year. I think the lyrics came from a place of me being really happy and excited about everything happening in my life at the time. I suppose Toronto was the subject of my affection. I really did feel an energy shift in myself when I moved into my “big girl” apartment here, which sounds corny, but it’s honest. I’m entering a new stage of my life in a huge way and it feels amazing. And I hope people feel amazing when they listen to “Alive.”

What other plans have you got in store for 2021?

Plans for the music video for “Alive” are underway, which will be my first music video ever! I’m also working on a new single that I’m really excited about and working towards releasing an EP in the fall.

And finally, what has been your fondest memory since you became a musician?

I think my favourite memory is when I shared my first self-produced demo with my mom. I made a scratch demo for “Alive” when I was initially writing the lyrics for it, and although the demo itself was amateur, it was very exciting for me. My mom and I danced around in the kitchen to it and had a jolly ol’ time. I felt that I was breaking new barriers as an artist – which is what I will continue to do this year.

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