“No risk, no reward.”
Those are some incisive words from singer-songwriter Devin Kennedy. He reflects on his journey so far but more importantly, the carefree vibe of his new single. “Deep Shit,” an apt description of the world in this moment, grooves with a sticky, west coast vibe. Its unique elixir of indie and pop permits the upstart to showcase his blossoming production style, as much as his signature vocals.
“The more I write and produce for my artist project, the easier it is to hone in on what makes this project special to me,” Kennedy shares with American Songwriter over email. “I love using organic sounds and instruments and crossing them with less organic sample choices, this makes for a unique blend of West-Coast Pop that has become kind of a cohesive vibe for my project.”
“Deep Shit” is his third single of the year and perhaps his most electric. “The approach with [this song], specifically, was to make something that felt indie leaning, but still had all the unforgettable lyric and melodic moments that a great pop song has. It all started with that catchy guitar riff in the beginning and stemmed out from there.”
Kennedy, who’s recently produced for the likes of Ben Platt and James Maslow (of Big Time Rush), dapples in vibrant synth shades, submerging the listener in moon-lit pools. He has been slowly making waves the last few years, and it is songs like “Deep Shit” that highlight the full stretches of his potential.
“Yea ooh darlin I’m a fool / But you love it I can swim in the moment / But tomorrow I’mma deal with deep shit,” Kennedy matches a relationship’s early thrill with personal transformation. In taking such a bold risk, baring his vulnerability and flaws, he dives into the deep end in unexpected ways.
“Looking back, there are many risks I’ve taken that seemed like an obvious choice in the moment. Definitely in relationships… telling someone how I feel,” he observes, “but also, life in general. I think deciding to be in a creative and self-employed field such as music, is a risk. However, It has always felt like the only option for me.”
He has a fascination with fearlessness. Working on what will eventually become his full-length debut, the follow-up to 2019’s EP You & Me, That’s Enough, Kennedy’s sonic identity collects up his producer work and a personal mission to explore and experiment in his own. “These days I’m writing primarily for my project, and then some of those songs end up going to other artists,” he explains. I’m constantly pushing the boundaries of tunes that could work for me, and if they don’t feel like they could work in my project, then I’ll usually try to bring the idea in with an artist that I think would serve well.”
Like so many other artists, his creativity is being completely upended and rearranged these days. “It’s definitely been an interesting year. We write about what we experience, and if we’re experiencing less, then it’s tough to find things to write about at times. However, I’ve been producing a ton on my own, and I’m still doing writing sessions via Zoom. It’s taken some time to get used to writing virtually, but technology is amazing. I’m pretty blown away with my peers’ ability to stay creative during these crazy times. It inspires me to keep pushing.”
Listen to “Deep Shit” below.