• Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Arts and Culture

Dev Raiyani: From content creator to singer-songwriter


By: Asjad Nazir


It would have been easy for Dev Raiyani to stay in the comfort zone of being a successful digital content creator, but he has branched out and is now also making a name for himself in the music industry.

The multi-talented 20-year-old – who has nearly 400,000 Instagram followers and more than 123,000 YouTube subscribers –has taken the leap from creating entertaining videos online, to carving out a career as a singer with accomplished songs like Wait4me, Cool Boy and Thinking Back, along with a recent four-city tour of India.

The growing musical momentum behind the rising star, who was born and brought up in Mumbai, has turned him into an r’n’b artist worth watching.

Eastern Eye caught up with the singer, songwriter and musician, currently studying in the US, to discuss his unique rise, balancing digital content creation with songs, a person he admires and future plans.

Why did you want to be a content creator, and did you imagine becoming so successful?
As an 11-year-old kid, I used to binge YouTube videos all the time, and somehow all the creators I liked were as unconventional as me. For the first time, I saw people appreciate that weirdness rather than bully someone for it. So, starting a YouTube channel was to create a safe space for me to truly express my weirdness, along with my love for music.

What led you towards music? 
Listening to good and new music has always been a large part of my life. I have been through several phases of genres, depending on the time of my life. One day, during lockdown, I decided to translate my love for listening to music into making music I love, so everyone could listen to it on repeat – like a custom song for my ears.

How would you describe your sound? 
In India, I feel, it’s something that has not been explored enough yet. My sound is all over the place, but mostly, it’s alternative rock and hip-hop that has meaning behind it. It combines very random and chaotic yet harmo­nic elements. Harmony is a huge part of my music-making process.

Who have been your greatest musical influences?
I would say most of my influences are from the western side of the world. Artists including Kid Cudi, Joji, Kanye West and Tyler the Creator would be at the top of the list.

What has been your most memorable musical moment? 
My recent the Percentage India Tour. The tour was very nerve-wracking and overwhelming. We travelled to four cities in the span of five days, performing every night with more than 1,000 people in attendance, but it was all worth it. It took five months of planning and execution from the team, but that has to be one of the best moments of my life, as well as my musical journey.

What can we expect next from you?
I myself don’t know what to expect because I am so random with what I want and what I do. But I am working on new music every day, trying to find my sound. My process is, I’ll make a song, spend four hours on it and then scrap it. It’s fun, but that’s how it is. You have to find the right sound, and harmony.

Which of your unreleased songs are you most excited about? 
Recently, I created a song which is very different from what I usually do. I tried using different sounds and tested my singing to a level I haven’t. It’s still not the sound I want, but that comes with mixing and mastering, which I am learning through YouTube tutorials and online resources right now.

Who would you love to collaborate with? 
Joji. He is the one that inspired me to express myself through music, and I am going to work hard and reach a place where I can collaborate with him one day. I know it’s a big dream, but we stay positive out here.

Who is your music hero? 
Once again, Joji. He used to be a YouTuber, going by the name of Pink Guy, and I grew up watching him as a kid. He truly didn’t care about what anyone thought of him, which I admired the most. He transitioned from creating really weird content to being a talented artist, which no other person in the history of YouTube has been able to do, and that has inspired me the most.

What music dominates your playlist? 
It keeps changing – there’s not one genre I can point to that I prefer. But right now, I am obsessed with deep house music. I play it 24/7, just in the background. I’m always bopping my head, so much to the point where my neck hurts.

Will you carry on balancing music with creating content online? 
Who knows? I don’t like to have decisions for the future in my life. I’ve grown past that. I have no clue where or what I am going to do in the next 10 years, and I love that.

What inspires you? 
My failures and Kanye West.

Why do you love music?
It’s a medium to feel emotions without saying or thinking anything. It’s a universal language that every single person on this planet understands. Music is the single most beautiful thing to ever exist.

Instagram: @devraiyanii

Eastern Eye

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