We had the good fortune of connecting with Dev!n and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dev!n, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I began my journey into the entertainment industry at a young age by training in Musical Theatre as early as 3rd grade. After getting a few shows under my belt, I was awarded the opportunity to tour with “Sonny La Rosa & America’s Youngest Jazz Band” where we toured the country as a Jazz/Big Band ensemble of musicians between the ages of 9-14 yr. old; opening for artists such as Chaka Khan, Dionne Warwick, Nancy Wilson, Roberta Flack and Al Jarreau. Later, while attending the prestigious Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL (the capital of the “Sunshine State”), I participated as a member in the Incomparable Marching 100 (of whom performed in the 2009 Inaugural Parade for President Barack Obama). After college I was able to take what I learned throughout my years at school, and combine that with all of the performance skills that I’ve acquired over the years, and apply them to my professional entertainment career. Doing so has afforded me the opportunity to work in Television, Film & Music Video productions with icons such as Ben Affleck, Ariana Grande, Ozuna, Andy Grammer, 2 Chainz, Black Eyed Peas, P!nk, Todrick Hall & more; all while developing & growing as a solo recording artist myself. I feel that my versatility as an entertainer, combined with my passion for creating is a direct reflection of my childhood experiences. From being in musicals, to marching band, to a touring jazz ensemble… my life has pretty much been nonstop entertainment. And I thank God everyday for that, because without such an upbringing… I would not be the artist I am today.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Being a Singer/Songwriter in this day & age is more accessible than ever. Therefore, the key is to find out how to make yourself stand out amongst the crowd. Throughout my growth as a performer, I’ve had the privilege’s of taking on many different roles, which require many different skill sets. Between singing, dancing, acting, stilt walking, puppeteering, playing several musical instruments & being an acrobat,,, some have referred to me as a “Jack of all trades, master of none”, of which I let get under my skin for a while. However, at the current stage in my career, I’ve come to realize that my journey is ever-evolving, and that I am actively mastering my crafts each day, by maturing as an entertainer & challenging myself to learn and do more within the industry. That same versatility that I exemplify as a performer applies to my music as well.
After receiving such a great response following my first few singles, my goal is to continue making memorable music across a multitude of genres. Art is subjective and there is so much room to play around in the realm of creating. Therefore, to maximize my potential, I eventually plan on implementing other facets of my performance career into my future endeavors as an artist. When people think “Dev!n” I want them to think of a high energy entertainer who is bound leave audiences awestruck. That is the legacy I plan to leave behind.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I absolutely love the city of Los Angeles. In many ways, it reminds me of my hometown of Tampa Bay because of its diversity, inclusivity & natural beauty. However, LA is much more grandioso, not only in size, but in grandeur as well. California is filled with picturesque landscapes, bustling cities & great weather. Los Angeles however is truly in a category of it’s own. If I were to take someone on a short trip around the city, a few things that would be on my “must do” list would be to hike the natural terrain. Whether coastal or inland, there are many opportunities to get out and become one with nature, while enjoying breathtaking views. Next, would be a trip to Venice & Santa Monica beach. These two beaches are iconic, and should definitely be a part of anyone’s LA experience. They are both unique to themselves, yet together, make for an amazing day in the sand & sun. After a relaxing beach day, I usually like to grab a bite to eat. Whereas, the “City of Angels” has some amazing dining experiences, there are two that will leave you salivating for more every time. The first being the “Lemonade” restaurants, which can be located all over the city. They offer fresh and healthy food options that change periodically to compliment the seasons & keep the menu exciting. Secondly, I love to frequent my favorite burger joint which is the 25 Degrees Restaurant, which is located at the street level of the Roosevelt Hotel on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Although most Californians consider In-N-Out to have the best burgers on the west coast, I’d go to say that these specialty burgers would have to take the cake (and don’t even get me started on their shakes). One of the final excursions that I would implore LA visitors to do would be to embark upon one of the many studio tours that are signature to the glamorous appeal of Hollywood. Whether it be Warner Brothers, Universal Studios, Paramount or Sony Pictures, these are a great way to see how the movies are created & maybe even run into a celebrity or two.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There have been quite a few people who’ve had a hand in molding me into the person that I am today. From friends that I grew up with who had similar dreams & drive, and are still pushing forward to this day… or teachers/mentors who have expelled their wisdom for me to learn from. My list of shoutouts could be quite long. However, there is one woman who comes to mind that deserves the biggest shoutout of them all, and she is my Mom. My story would not exist if it were not for this beautiful woman’s support, guidance & love. My mother has always encouraged me to follow my dreams, and never give up. From taking me to countless rehearsals, to supplying me with all the essentials that I needed to grow as a performer, she’s been right by my side. I believe that a strong support system is a key factor to any successful story, and my parents were always there as my number 1 cheerleaders. My Mom in particular however, she would jump through any hoop or hurdle to ensure that my needs are met. There are no words to fully explain the depth of my love for this phenomenal woman, but she definitely deserves the biggest shoutout ever. Thanks Mom, I Love You.
Other: Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3kjN3HEej3eTqDSIzY39pH Likee: https://likee.video/@bigblackdevin/ TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@devincollinsofficial Tumblr: https://devincollinsofficial.tumblr.com/
Adam Amore @aamorephotography Oliver Khan @focus_onward Brittney Mingo @7ohphotos