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Talking music, sexuality, and growing pains with L Devine

Being able to do what you love is great. What’s even better is when what you love positively impacts loads of people. Singer and songwriter ​L Devine’s​ relatable pop tracks do just that. We chatted with Liv about the themes of her music, her podcast, and her Lock In Session for CALM.

23-year-old L Devine has made waves with honest, raw tunes since 2017. But her love for music started at age seven when she got a guitar for Christmas and penned her first song

My childhood best friend was called Niall. I wanted to copy everything he did, but do it better – I was really competitive, so when he got a guitar I had to get one and try to take it up a notch”.

Fast forward to age 15 and Liv wished she had more openly queer artists who represented her. So that’s what she became. While she loves to create feel-good songs, having a strong message and sharing experiences of her sexuality and sexual orientation in her music is really important to ​her.

“It’s important to have messages in my songs because my audience is made up of a lot of young people. They actually inspire me as well, I follow a lot of my fans on social media and see what kind of things they’re going through, and that inspires me and my songs as well. It’s nice to let them know that you’re going through the same things as them”.

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“It’s very intimate, like reading pages of someone’s diary. I’m really romantic about my teen years and my adolescence. It’s very introspective, looking back and realising there is no shame in your experiences, emotions, getting things wrong. A lot of my music talks about where I went wrong, and when people have done me wrong”.

And when it comes to her mental health, writing music is an important outlet for Liv: “If I wasn’t able to open my laptop and make music, especially during lockdown, I don’t know what I would have done. It’s like therapy for me – a way to get all my feelings out and digest them.

“To create something good out of bad situations is so special to me, I look back at the kind of hard moments I went through, but I’ve made a song out of it. And that’s really beautiful”.

Another outlet for Liv is her podcast L Devine’s Growing Pains,​ in which she “invites friends, family and just generally interesting people to chat about their coming of age stories”. After interviewing people for a magazine piece she was working on, Liv was taken aback by all the special moments they spoke about, and she wanted to take it further.

“I ask them about what it was like growing up, what being a teenager was like, because being a teenager is the most embarrassing awkward time of your life. So it makes for some pretty funny and emotional stories.

“It’s also nice for fans and people who listen to my music to hear a different side of me, not just through some mysterious music video, they get to actually hear me having conversations”.

Just as the UK saw lockdown restrictions ease, Liv live-streamed a CALM Lock in Session where she played some unreleased tracks to help fund CALM’s life-saving services. “It was really fun. I think the point of it was to bring a bit of fun into people’s lives while we’re all a bit scared about what’s going on. I leaked a few unreleased songs – which I might get told off for – but to get the donations up, it was worth it.”

“CALM’s an organisation that supports people who are having struggles with their mental health and I think it’s really important to show charities like that some love. It’s been great seeing all the amazing events CALM has put on, especially right now”.

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And Liv’s advice for when things are a bit crap? “Two hours before I go to sleep, I’ll just draw until I feel sleepy and don’t look at my phone. I have a love-hate relationship with my phone – especially when I’m going through a big spell of anxiety or a down period in my life.

“Audiobooks are really good. Listening to that instead of having the TV on or looking at your phone. And just write something down, write or draw your feelings down to express them somehow, you’ll feel better, I promise”.

Be sure to check out L Devine’s Podcast Growing Pains, and listen to the epic playlist she created for CALM HERE.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

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