It's the steady, calming, heartbeat-like percussion and electronic downtempo vibe that carry the listener through "A Cause" - the impressive, new chill-out single from Chicago/Toronto-based singer-songwriter Deanna Devore. The song's ambient, relaxed atmosphere provides the ideal musical backdrop for Deanna's expressive, ethereal, and silky voice.
In my personal quest to improve my musical (acoustic guitar) skills, I met Deanna a few years back after signing up for a course at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music. In addition to the fact that she was an awesome instructor, it was then that I first learned about her music and career.
I recently caught up with Deanna to ask a few questions about the new single. Regarding the theme of "A Cause," Deanna explains, "The song is about looking back and searching for a reason, even when there isn't necessarily one. But still feeling determined to find it."
While the theme and lyrics of the composition have been constant, this lovely four-minute ambient journey really came to life in the studio, where the arrangement of the track changed a bit from its original course. Deanna remarks, "'A Cause' actually went through many different arrangement changes. I wrote it as more of an acoustic guitar-based song, fingerpicking with jazz chords. And then it wasn't until I was in the studio, that I ended up changing direction, making it more synth based and actually taking out the guitar that I had based the song around. It's cool to see what it morphed into."
It was about ten years ago that Deanna released her first seven-song EP, which was co-produced with Björn Thorsrud (Smashing Pumpkins, Dandy Warhols), and on which she played every instrument with the exception of drums on one track from Matt Walker (Morrissey, Garbage). On her second EP, X Number of Days (2013), she wrote, produced and performed all the songs. "A Cause", co-produced and mixed by High Fothergill and mastered by Joao Carvalho, is the first taste of new music from Deanna's forthcoming album, with release date yet to be announced.
All artists have their own unique songwriting process. Deanna describes hers, "My songwriting process always starts with the music. So for this one ("A Cause"), I was playing around with a chord progression I liked on guitar, and then from there hummed a melody on top. I had the same process for all the parts of the song - verse, chorus, bridge. And then wrote the lyrics last."
Where did it all begin, you might ask? Deanna explains, "I've been playing instruments/writing songs for as long as I can remember. Recording songs in my basement. It just became second nature." As for musical inspiration, Deanna relates, "I really like blending electronic music with pretty guitars/real instruments. So I'd say that's the same type of music that influences me - downtempo electronic beats, lush synths and jazz chords."
Until the official release of her forthcoming album, Deanna reports that we can expect a few more singles to drop from the album. If you're in the Chicago area, be sure to catch Deanna's upcoming live performance on April 23 at Schuba's Tavern.
For more information about Deanna Devore, visit her official website, follow her on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) and find her music on Spotify, SoundCloud, and iTunes.