She’s not a full blown pop star, but she’s not quite the girl next door either. She’s Dev; a California-raised up-and-comer in the new breed of pop stars where bad girls are better and beats are brewed out of electro clubs.
You’ve heard her before. She’s the one singing the hook in “Like a G6.” You know, that song. Yea, the one that’s been on every radio station, and even before that, on every party’s playlist.
Don’t brush Dev off as ‘that girl.’ She’s fairly new on the block, but as she likes to say she’s “doing it one-hundred.” Dev and the rest of the party who made “Like a G6” — the Cataracs, the Far East Movement — were kings of the hill on iTunes for weeks, and recently went double platinum.
And her debut album isn’t even scheduled to come out until April.
You’d never guess she grew up in small town Manteca (that place that used to have the water slides). She now lives in a downtown Los Angeles loft with the Cataracs, and feels right at home. Though, she hasn’t forgotten where she came from. “I always love to go home and walk around barefoot and drink a beer, that’s my thing,” she says.
“But obviously, growing up in Manteca for 20 years I always wanted bigger and better thing,” she added. And you can’t blame her.
Dev’s Myspace is graffitied with love from admiring fans from Brazil, Japan, Italy and virtually anywhere that has a speckle of Western culture. Her twitter followers mention her swag in every tagged tweet. And lyrics like “I’m a fire ball bitch/I get money/what’s funny/dollar bills in my tummy” say she’s confidently working her way up in the pop game.
The Devin Tailes who graduated with the ’07 class of Sierra High School wasn’t nearly as focused.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life until the first time I heard myself on the radio,” she told me over the phone. “I was always the kid who would come home with like a different hobby and a different dream. It wasn’t until then that I was like, ‘Okay, this might be something that will last.'”
Do you remember when you first heard yourself on the radio?
The very first time I heard myself on the radio was in Berkeley, cause they played our song “2night” in San Francisco on a dance station out there. And I went to Gordo’s to get Mexican food for me and Niles and David (The Cataracs). And that was the first time I heard “2night.”
But the first time I heard “G6” on the radio, it was amazing actually; it was so dope. I was in the car in the parking lot to my building and I think I was arguing with somebody. And then all of a sudden I hear doondoondoon (hums the “Like a G6” intro) and I’m like “Shut the fuck up! Shut the fuck up! Our argument doesn’t even matter right now! I’m on the fuckin’ radio!” (laughs).
It was dope! I still love it; I think it sounds great on the radio. The beat just sounds that much cooler to me when it’s out of the speakers from a radio station. And I still turn it up to this day. They’re like Dev we’re sick of this song already, and I’m like “Nope! Turn it up!” It’s classic.
“Like A G6” has been on the radio for a while now, a million times a day. And the chorus for that song is actually sampled from a bridge from one of your songs, “Booty Bounce.” How did the Far East Movement approach you about that?
I met the Far East Movement from the Cataracs and they were like “we’ve produced and stuff, let’s get in a studio together.” So they got in a studio together, and Niles made the beat, and they were like “Yo, this part from Dev’s song would actually be a really cool for a hook are you down to try it?”
And obviously they hit me up and let me know about it, and were like, “would you be down to throw this down over that beat.” And I thought the beat was amazing, I loved the beat. So I was like definitely, we can make that work.
We were all down and it kind of just worked like that, it wasn’t anything that was too weird. They’re all really cool guys so we were just kind of vibin’ out and it was really natural.
When did you realize you could, or even wanted to sing?
I always was into it as a kid or whatever. I probably realized I could sing when I was like 10 or 12. It wasn’t anything I took seriously until I met the Cataracs, really. And it wasn’t even really anything I ever told people about. Being from Manteca, that’s, ya’ know, something that wasn’t really realistic.
How did you end up meeting the Cataracs?
They actually found me on MySpace. My friend had a random MySpace set up with some beats and stuff on it, and he was like “c’mon sing over it” and I was like “nah you’re trippin’.”
Then I ended up putting a song on it and it was up there for like a month and Cyrano found me and was like “Yo, I really like your sound and stuff come out to the Bay and let’s record something.” And I did and that’s when I met Campa and it kinda was just a really nice fit and it wasn’t awkward or forced.
You’re in Texas on tour right now, right? How’s the Fresh Meat tour with Jeffree Star been?
It’s been so much fun. I think it’s really cool ’cause everyone was everyone’s first idea of me going on tour after “G6” popped off was with probably with Far East or some pop act.
But it’s actually been really fun for me to go on tour with Jeffree and the IT Boys. We’ve been popping champagne onstage and dropping confetti, and there’s 15-year-old girls wild’n out. It’s been dope.
What have you been listening to while you’ve been on the road?
Right now I’m super big on that Nicki Minaj/Eminem track, the “dungeon dragon” track. I have to listen to that at least once a day. And then the Cataracs and I just made a new song, I’ve been bumping that a lot. I listen to a lot of mine and the Cataracs music. I know that may sound whack but I just have to (laughs).
But a lot of random stuff. Like on my iPod right now it’s the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Brand New, Nicki, a lot of Bay Area rap music, and like the Cataracs. It’s a really weird collection of music I listen to.
You recently signed a record deal with Universal. Have they been coaching you or letting you do your thing?
It’s really, really, dope actually. I was very skeptical and it was a lot for me at first. It all kind of happened really quickly. And I’m a little brat, I’m really stubborn so I was sketched.
But they’ve been absolutely fucking amazing. I have creative control pretty much over everything. I have a say in everything. Like with merch they ask me what I’m into and they’re all about really trying to get to know me really well.
I was scared, but I would never sign with anybody obviously that didn’t understand what I was trying to get across. It’s just super dope they’re not trying to change a thing or sell some packaged deal.
How much of your album is already done?
I have a good amount of songs. But me and the Cataracs, we’re just trying to figure out my sound, figure out what I want as an artist, and who I want to be as an artist.
But I probably have like 12 songs recorded, maybe five or six that I feel really solid about. I’m definitely going to sit down and spend a lot of time making a lot of new shit though. I feel like I’m growing, as an artist and a person. When I first started recording with the Cataracs I was 19 and still in Manteca, now I’m 21, traveling all over, meeting new people and shit like that. So I’ll spend a bit more time on it.
What are your plans for when you get off tour?
I’m just trying to keep it moving, it’d be stupid if I didn’t. It does get a little hectic and crazy sometimes, but if you have told me I would be doing this when I had my nine to five, going to junior college, I would have told you you’re fucking trippin’.
But now that I’m doing this, I’m just trying to go 100 with it. I’m just trying to do this with the best of my ability, keep it movin’.