Meet Devin Singleton, a sophomore Communication Studies Major here at UNCG. Singleton, who goes by the stage name “Devy.Quills” is an ambitious spoken-word artist turned rapper, describing himself as a “dude from Winston-Salem who claims that he ultimately wants to help out through whatever creative avenues I can utilize to make positive change and positive efforts to improve the state of my community.”
At first glance, Singleton may appear indifferent, due to his calm and quiet demeanor. However, this initial assessment could not be more untrue. Singleton is contemplative, thoughtful and highly selective with his words. For an individual who prides himself on his lyrical dexterity, his passion for the power of words is blatantly apparent in how he speaks and carries himself.
Singleton is not your typical rapper, especially in an era where rap music has snuck its way into the mainstream. Since the tender age of 13, Singleton has been crafting pieces with his inherent ability for storytelling via spoken word. It was only until very recently that the allure of rap and Hip-Hop caught his ear, and ultimately, his tongue. A relatively new artist, he has only been releasing content for approximately one year.
Many can agree on the importance of individuality when it comes to being an artist. Showing the world one’s unique perspective on life through one’s art is a large part of that individuality. What makes Singleton different, in this instance, is his love of “imagery based, conceptual, and idealistic” songwriting and lyricism, and his deep “affinity for diverse sounds.”
When questioned about his music, he describes it as “homemade” and emphasized the point that “lyrics are very important.” Singleton prides himself on his ability “ to string words together in a way that is meaningful. To create something tangible, that is not tangible. It takes a shape that obviously is not there.” At the end of the day, in the music of Devy.Quills, words possess immense power and ultimately, reign supreme.
Singleton now has an official release under his name: his debut album “Bloom” was released this past weekend. “Bloom” having been a springtime release is no coincidence; the album was released in the spring months “because Bloom…is becoming something. It is developing nonetheless, that is why I want to release it in the spring – because that is when everything starts blossoming for the first time. It is a metaphor for how, like, I’m actually becoming what I want to be in terms of music and artistry and like, ya know, something that people can enjoy.” The themes and general aesthetic of “Bloom” are relatively universal ones, themes that relate to the human condition at large.
When asked how being a student at UNCG plays into his musical career, Singleton called it a “major distraction.”
“Cause like, I could be getting so much better at this if I wasn’t doing school,” Singleton remarked. However, he believes being in school has its benefits as well. “I do enjoy the social aspect. It has made me more of a promoter than an artist,” Singleton said. The importance of being a promoter for himself has proven to be one of the biggest takeaways for Singleton since his arrival at UNCG. Even if the music is great, it doesn’t really mean much if no one hears it.
In his eyes, Singleton defines a great rapper as “an artist that causes somebody to feel deeply as a result of their work, be it extreme joy, extreme pain, sorrow, limitation. Whether it is just making that rap stank face like when the beat drops, one of those faces, like, it causes you to feel, evoking emotion,” Singleton said.
Singleton made a special note that being an artist requires making sacrifices and enduring failure – and it is in this failure where he finds his motivation to continue grinding on as an artist, through both thick and thin, because to stop the grind is to stop being an artist.
In regards to his future ambitions as a rapper, in terms of releasing content, growing overall and expanding his artistry, the goal is to “make something 5 times better in half as much time.”
“I put a lot of energy and passion into what I do,” Singleton said. “If you don’t hear it, I want you to.”