Platinum recording artist and vocal gay ally Dev headlines Dallas Red Party
SCOTT HUFFMAN | Contributing Writer
Even if you don’t immediately recognize the name, chances are you know the voice. Devin Star Tailes — known professionally simply as Dev — is the vocalist behind the catchy chorus of Far East Movement’s No. 1 radio earworm “Like a G6.” She’s also charted two of her own radio hits, “Bass Down Low” and “In the Dark.” And on Saturday, the spirited pop princess headlines The Red Party, the annual event benefitting Legacy Counseling and Founders Cottage. Ask Dev what music means to her and she’ll happily share it. Just don’t press the platinum-selling diva to describe her musical style.
“I never know what to say when people ask that,” she laughs. “I always say ‘weird pop music,’ which is probably the worst way to describe it. I grew up listening to a lot of different stuff. My parents bought me everything from Alice in Chains albums to the Chronic. I like to mix it up when I can. I like for things to feel fun, but I like to feel vulnerable. I like to be a bitch. I like to be sassy.”
Dev is eager to return to Dallas, and she considers performances for LGBT crowds a homecoming of sorts. Prior to her radio success, Dev often played gay clubs and events on the Pride circuit. In fact, she considers the LGBT community the bedrock of her fan base.
“I get kind of emotional when I think about it,” Dev says of the support. “I’ve been through so many highs and lows. I think that [my gay] following has been the most consistent for me. It means they never judge when something is on the radio or isn’t. I am so grateful for that.”
Currently, Dev divides her time between home — where she is the mother of a 4-year-old daughter — and the recording studio, where she is hard at work on her second full-length album. Both are labors of love. And both require mothering instincts.
“[It] is such an indescribable thing as a human to be able to make another human,” Dev says of motherhood. “It’s so insane. Musically, all of my projects that I put out are like babies themselves. You work on something for months and months and then you put it out and you hope people like it.”
Dev, who grew up in a small California town, credits strong family ties for keeping her grounded amidst the craziness of show business. Early in her career, Dev’s father offered her sage advice: to work hard and to enjoy the accomplishments, but never to think that disappointment is not a possibility.
“He was preparing me,” she says. “I’ve done shows when there are 20,000 people and I’ve done shows where there are 10 that show up. It ebbs and flows. Shit happens, but you work hard and you enjoy the moment.
Even if you think there are failures, be proud of it. It’s a totally different type of job.”
Luckily, moxie is not something Dev lacks. And the spunky singer is not content to rest comfortably on her laurels.
“I don’t know that I’ve gotten to the point that I can put my feet up — the ‘I’ve made it!’ thing,” she says. “But hopefully I’m making it. I’m able to do what I love which doesn’t feel like a job. At the end of the day, when I look back, I do get paid for what I love. I’m grateful for that.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 18, 2015.