Hi, my name’s Devan and I’m a singer, songwriter, and producer from Toronto, Canada. I just released my new song “Feel Better” and I’m here to give a little insight on the meaning behind the song and video.
In the fall of 2020, I went away to my family’s cabin a few hours outside of Toronto with my friends and frequent collaborators, Jack Emblem and Jesse Gold. We hadn’t seen each other in months due to the pandemic, and we were finally able to get together to write in person.
There was a lot on everyone’s minds, and the majority of the time there was spent having deep chats, venting, and catching up. It was really therapeutic. The year had been full of pain – watching loved one’s lose jobs, struggle with mental and physical health, and go through major life changes.
Reality had hit everybody really hard. I was living with my parents throughout the pandemic, and they were under a lot of stress. It’s really hard to watch your parents struggle, especially as you get older and the curtains are drawn back. I felt helpless and desperate to fix everything, but I knew there was nothing I could do except be there for them.
So, this song is kind of a love letter to someone going through a tough time – it’s not a solution, but it’s more of a “hey, I’ll be here when you need me” sentiment. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words in those situations, or people aren’t always willing to hear them, so this was my attempt at communicating those things.
Jack, Jesse and I had been blasting 90’s soft rock on the drive up, and rediscovered “Over My Head (Cable Car)” by The Fray. We had all forgotten how amazing that song is.
While we were talking, Jack started recreating the beat in “Over My Head” – really soft muted drum sounds with a nice laid back, driving feel. Jesse started laying down some more R&B leaning chords, and the hook just kind of popped into my head.
Off the bat, the song felt so good to us. Although the lyrics are pretty general and conversational, they felt very loaded and meaningful. It’s cool because since it’s been released, a lot of people have told me how it resonates with them and their specific situations, so sometimes that’s the beauty of a broad concept.
We left the cabin with a 75% finished demo, but we hadn’t figured out the ending yet. Jack (Emblem) contacted his friend and collaborator Jack Rochon, who is an amazing producer – he added some bass to the bridge section which really elevated it. Another friend, Noah Barer, also added some sonics to the bridge which took that section to the finish line. We had a really great team on this song.
I worked with Kyle Laurin on the video – he directed, shot, and edited the whole thing. Since the song is about trying to get through to someone, we liked the idea of talking into old, broken or disconnected phones. Something about it feels desperate but also lighthearted, because it’s almost comically obvious that our communication approach isn’t going to work.
Another funny and noteworthy thing about the video is that we wanted to do it in one take, at a slightly busy intersection in Toronto. Every time we started shooting a take, someone would walk by or drive in front of the camera and we just had to try and keep going and pretend like nothing was happening. We had some people trying to redirect traffic while we shot, and it was super hectic and hilarious.
“Feel Better” is the 3rd single off of my forthcoming EP Liquid Sunshine, which will be out on October 15. It’s definitely one of my favourite’s from the project, because it feels soulful and honest and I love singing more RnB-leaning melodies.
I’m really excited to release the EP, and it’s available to pre-save now!
Watch the video for “Feel Better” here!