Over the past several years, experimental R&B artist Joella DeVille has been steadily growing her fan base through compelling singles and music videos, in addition to captivating live shows alongside her R&B contemporaries. And all that hard work and hustle has led to the release of POUR, her stunning new album that showcases her songwriting talents and powerful vocals.
R&B fans of all generations will have plenty to explore and fall in love with across the record’s 13 tracks, thanks to DeVille’s knack for finding a balance between old-school and modern styles. While she’s been praised for bringing back the ‘90s R&B sound on singles like “Submit to Ya,” she also proves that she’s able create timeless music devoid of any specific era.
She may have received spins on Hot 97 and graced stages from NYC to Hollywood, but the singer-songwriter is just getting started.
Q:Tell us how you started creating music and when?
A:Well the short story is that I started violin at age 3 and piano at age 7. So music has always been in me and around me. I remember writing songs around age 9 probably but I never really took singing seriously until I was a senior in college.
Q:What inspired you then and now? Does anyone have a strong influence on your creative process?
A:I mean back then, I was still developing (physically, mentally, intellectually etc) so it was just something to do because I had it at my disposal. But now I’m inspired by my life, the things I see and experience, and then by how my listeners interact with my words and art. It really just is everything to see people interpreting my music in the various ways that it resonates in their own lives. I don’t necessarily go into writing songs by thinking about what I’m going to write. Sometimes in hearing the production, it takes me to a very specific time, place, or mood, and I want to convey that feeling through my lyrics and vocals. Which is why I let the production lead me and inspire me to pull from my life experiences to do so.
Q:What type of vibe do you like in the studio?
A:I’m very particular about the vibe in the studio. I don’t like many distractions. The lab is the office for me. I come to work, so I expect everyone who is there to be there with the same mindset. I typically only invite my producers, that’s about it. My sessions are personal and intimate. I usually come through dressed down, hoodie, dad hat, and just chill. I like to be relaxed with my hot tea, lemon and honey. I’m also not an artist that writes in the studio. I do all my writing at home, because I need to hear the melodies and harmonies to see if they even work together before I get to the studio.
Q:Who are you currently listening to? What albums do you have in rotation?
A:Right now, I have Kendrick’s “DAMN” on repeat. I cannot stop listening to that album! It’s just too DAMN good. Lol Khelani’s album also gets a lot of play because the harmonies in her songs are really just to die for. Syd’s “FIN” is so amazing, I really love the vibe of that album. Ty Dolla Sign’s “Free TC” is still in rotation. I feel like that’s his best work. It’s just so amazing and shows his range as an artist, as a musician, and just as a lover of music.
Q:Those are all dope selections, We love them all! Talk to us about the POUR album, what inspired the title and concept?
A:POUR is literally everything I’ve been experiencing over the past year. I poured everything into the making of this album, financially, emotionally, and physically. I just felt stagnant in my career and in life. I even fell into a very deep depression, where suicidal thoughts even crossed my mind. During that time, I also revisited writing poetry, and had about 3 songs written but just wasn’t feeling good enough to release anything. After a one way ticket back to New Jersey, and having time with my family, I finally got the strength to get back to the music and I realized many had been experiencing similar things and would be able to relate to my situation. So you’ll hear songs where I discuss my depression and my wanting to just sit in it, my struggles with love, sex, self-empowerment, and even just being thankful for people like my mom who is always there for me. It’s really just about every emotion I experienced. Each song is a different experience; a different emotion; but they’re all a pouring of me.
Q:What’s next for you, any shows, tours, collaborations you’d like to talk about?
A:Now that the album is done, I’m working towards a tour. My last show was dope, I opened for Sevyn Streeter on Grammy night and the crowd was very much into my set. I even previewed some cuts from the album before the release and they were dead ass singing the words right along with me, so I know that I have to tour with POUR and get some more ears on it. I’m definitely focusing on getting a tour together for the end of the summer/fall.
Q:How do you feel about R&B in 2017, in comparison to the 80s & 90s? Do you feel it’s as dope now as it was then?
A:I think R&B is just in a weird space. Labels don’t really want to pay artists to put it out unless they aren’t black so a lot of soulful artists have either gotten lost in the shuffle or just tried to do other genres. But I also think some cool stuff is happening with it because it’s becoming a hybrid genre. For example, artists like Rihanna, Ty Dolla Sign, and DRAM all have elements of R&B in their music. But I still love that we have artists like BJ the Chicago Kid who really, in my opinion has helped to bring the original elements of R&B back while keeping it updated.
Q:Talk to us about your style, fashion must haves etc.
A:It’s strange because I’m such a homebody. Lol, I just like to be comfortable. I have my days where I want to be dolled up but I am not a makeup girl at all. As far as fashion is concerned, I really enjoy a classic look with a dash of edge, if that makes sense. But on an every day basis, a hoodie, leggings and some pumas are really just what I want to be in.
Q:Are you single? … Asking for a friend (lol)
Lol I am.
Q:Haha! Shout out anything or anyone you’d like!
A:There are so many people who have supported me through this journey that I cant even shout names because I will forget people and then feel bad, but my parents and my grandparents have totally been my rock and I know many artists don’t have that luxury so if anything, I’m beyond grateful for them really believing in me.
Thanks for kickin it with hypefresh! We love the new album and video, and of course, we’ll be in tune with what you have coming up in the future.
POUR is now available through all major digital retailers and streaming platforms, courtesy of DeVille’s own Still Music imprint. Stream now via Spotify, and check out the video to her latest single below!