LEADING LADIES: DEVON O'REILLY
This week's spotlight is on Toronto's very own Devon O'reilly, the lead singer for Eyes Violet and a close friend to TAMGA. You may recognize Devon from an earlier blog post in the Annisa dress looking absolutely breathtaking!
There is so much to love about this special lady that we had to do an interview with her and a fun photoshoot in the Gita pants. Scroll down for the full feature and an exclusive video of Devon singing an original piece with her band member Justin on guitar.
How long have you been pursuing music? Share with us a little on your journey!
I grew up in a musical household. My father is a bluegrass musician and songwriter so I couldn’t escape it even if I wanted to. I took vocal lessons all through middle/high school and became passionate about musical theatre. I tried my hand at songwriting during my first year at university and that’s when I realized I enjoyed the writing process almost as much as the performance aspect. When I moved to Toronto I reconnected with Justin and started to create some new stuff. That’s when we noticed we had something that had potential. After a few years at school I realized my studies weren’t as fullfiling as I had hoped so I took the leap and am now pursuing music full-time. Actually, that’s partially true. I bartend to pay the house and rehearsal studio rent.
What do you have planned this summer with the band?
Eyes Violet is our new project baby and the guys and I have some cool stuff planned for the months to come. We are still finding our footing while prioritizing rehearsals for live shows and our EP recording which we hope to do in late October. We have a large catalogue of songs that we are slowly playing through and experimenting with in order to find and develop our sound. People constantly ask us what kind of music we play and we can never give them a straight answer. Our stuff is a mix of different likes from the band members. We are aiming to have a few live shows in late summer and then really start to plug in for the EP in the fall.
What are your career goals in 3-5 years?
I love goal questions! They force me to hold myself accountable if I’m not doing my best to reach them.
Obviously anything can happen within a year to change things up but my own personal goals for the band are pretty clear right now. I’d like to be on tour with the guys around Canada and the States this time next year. I’ve always dreamed about meshing my two loves (music and travel) into one. I’d like to have a single on the radio and have it be an accurate depiction of our hard work and creativity. I’d like to release our debut album within two years as well. By three years I’d like our name to be known and for us to be performing in larger venues and learning from other artists on the road. My mind won’t allow me to go as far as five years. All I can tell you is that I personally want a life that revolves around music and I believe that is a reality that will happen. My mother always pushes me to use certainty when talking about my goals and to always say ‘when this happens’ and not use ‘if’ so I’m trying to change my language there…
Where do you find inspiration?
That question always makes me chuckle, in a good way. I’ve had some tough experiences in my life and it helps to song write when in the deep pit of them. That’s when all the good honest stuff comes out. I’ve had some bad relationships too and really enjoy writing about those experiences. I never write songs maliciously to get back at a partner though. Again, partially true but the anger never sticks around. I write them to get the negativity out and hopefully integrate beauty into the experience. When I look back at the song I can hear the value of why I went through what I did.As a band and in the instrumental/musical field, I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot. The guys and I have very different musical preferences and I think that works to our advantage. It’s pretty cool when you have a guitarist who loves Ariana Grande, a drummer who grew up listening to Third Eye Blind and a singer with a country background. This is why we can’t identify our genre but we’re ok with that.
You’re a Toronto gal- what are some of your favorite spots to hang?
Alright, slow down. Just to clarify, though I live in and love Toronto I will always be an Ottawa gal and will forever be a Sens fan. My parents made that very clear when I moved here.
How would you describe your musical style and how it influences what’s in your closet?
I grew up a tomboy through and through. I’ve embraced my feminine side more over the years but will forever choose comfort over style. When it comes to what I wear going out or for performances I really like statement pieces. Bright colours, unexpected prints with a rock edge. I like the grit in my voice and like when that resonates in my clothing. Vintage is usually the way I go for that. I love wearing pieces made for men and making them work for my body type. I also love 70s style which is why I freaked when I tried on your Gita pants.
You also do some modeling- is that something you’ve considered doing professionally?
There was a time when I thought that would be an enjoyable career path but that was short lived. To be brutally honest, I’ve dealt with body image insecurities from a young age and don’t think I would have the confidence to take that on in a career platform. That being said, I admire those who put their individuality and beauty out there for everyone to see. I feed on that confidence and try my best to portray it in my songs. I love my body and my mind but I think a music path is what is meant for me.
We loved shooting the Gita pants and Annisa dress with you- do you have a fav of the two?
Well, I bought the Annisa dress the day after the shoot...
Why is sustainable fashion important to you?
Knowledge is everything. I would be lying if I said I knew where/how each item in my closet was made. Same goes for what is in my fridge and everything in my apartment. It is reassuring to learn about the steps companies like Tamga take to insure their product isn’t made in a harmful way. Fashion is such a large part of my life and educating myself about what I put on my body appeals to me.