Her Campus Exclusive: Devon Baldwin

Devon Baldwin: cover Queen, college grad, and a beautiful woman with a new and fresh sound. After a mind-blowing unique take on Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, Baldwin is ready to make fires of her own. Her Campus got an exclusive with the singer/songwriter!

Her Campus Utah: I just want to talk about your Ring of Fire cover! It is easily one of the best covers I’ve ever heard! What made you want to take on such an amazing and influential song that has such a historic background and has been so influential to so many people?

Devon Baldwin: About a year ago one of my friends who I’ve worked with a lot—G Eazy—he suggested that I cover that song, he’s obviously a huge Johnny Cash fan and within the last month or two remembered that he had suggested that. One of my managers asked me if there was a cover I’d like to do and so I was like “Oh yeah! He suggested I try that, that would be fun to try out!” I actually ended up recording it in a closet on my laptop. It was weird, I just wanted to test out if I wanted to change the key. I re-recorded it but that’s the first time I recorded it! I had production ideas and went to my go-to producer and he made everything that I wanted it to be come true which is awesome. It’s such a monumental song in history and the lyrics written by his wife June Carter are so powerful; I wanted to bring a more emotional [and] darker side of the song to life. I hope it came off like that! I made it a month ago and we just made it in one day, we couldn’t get a studio one day so we did the mixing in my car while I drove around! It’s weird how quickly it came about, usually I sit on a song for a year and this one was like ‘make it-put it out-kay cool.’

Her Campus Utah: Why do you think you sit on your songs for a year?

Devon Baldwin: I think it has a lot to do with wanting to perfect things. It’s easier with covers to be like “oh yeah, okay, here is how I want it to sound’ because you already have a basis of where a song started. Even performance wise, it’s harder for me to perform lyrics I’ve written myself rather than something I’m covering because the emotion is so much my own I almost can’t separate it and make it come off the way I want it to. It’s easier in some ways to envision the way you want a cover to be…also you already know people like the song so you have more confidence in certain things!

Her Campus Utah: You do have a lot of confidence! You have such a unique and different take on a song that has been covered before! Yours is new and fresh. What was your inspiration on wanting to add that element?

Devon Baldwin:  I don’t even really know, I realized after I put it out that “wow, people could have really hated that I took Johnny Cash’s song and just did the complete opposite.” Obviously, my personal style is not horns and country guitar-ish stuff with background vocals. It was obvious from the get-go that I was going to do something different but then I just wanted to shock people a little bit, I wanted to grab peoples’ attention. It’s so easy to cover a song to do it the same and sing it similarly, [Ring of Fire] is even in the same key as the original so I wanted to make sure it was different enough that it would grab peoples attention and make them listen and make them feel something different then they already felt from the song before.

Her Campus Utah: You and G-Eazy have been friends for a while! What’s your favorite part of collaborating with other artists like G-Eazy and Skizzy Mars?

Devon Baldwin: It’s really fun to bring rap and pop together. It’s been interesting for me with both of them, they’ve given me feedback on my music and given me ideas—especially in this instance, covering the song in the first place! I’ve been with them for so long that all of our sounds kinda grew together and all of us work really well together. Our sounds mesh and we have similar vibes: love, lust, and vibes.

Her Campus Utah: How do you think they’ve impacted your growth?

Devon Baldwin: For sure they both inspire me! I was focusing on college for a long time when both G-Eazy and Skizzy were doing college and their music careers. I was lucky enough to have featured vocals [in songs for both of them.] They both really inspired me and pushed me to realize that I can actually make these ideas and sounds that I have in my head come to real life. You have to buckle down and figure out how to do it.

Her Campus Utah: How did you balance school and chasing after your dream?

Devon Baldwin It’s kinda crazy. When I was in school, I was kinda lost as to what genre I was. I knew I loved singing since I was three or four but in college I was a Music major so I was singing Opera in Italian and German and all of these languages and that was new to me! Right before I graduated, I wrote Let’s Get Lost [for] G-Eazy. He was like “I know how you can make money after college, you can write me a song!” I said okay and I wrote it by accident and was too scared to sing it for him so I hummed it when he wasn’t paying attention and then he asked me later “What was that?” and I was like “Oh, I just wrote it!” After that, it was like “Oh, maybe I can write songs that are in the genre I like to listen to.” Then I graduated and I started writing a lot but my lung collapsed three separate times right after I graduated and was living with my mom. I was totally incapacitated with chest tubes sitting on the couch for 6 months, during that time was really when I learned how to write lyrics because I wasn’t allowed to sing for like a year. That was really important for figuring out what I wanted to write about and who the artist I was, I didn’t really know before then. It took a major injury to figure it out!

Her Campus Utah: That’s an amazing story of having the passion and desire to overcome and still chase after your dreams!

Devon Baldwin:  Yeah, it was a weird experience!

Her Campus Utah: Any upcoming music?

Devon Baldwin: I don’t have a date for upcoming music yet, but I will be putting out something within the next month or two. It will most likely be an original song! I’m working on my first full-length album! I’m always writing and drinking whisky!

We had so much fun getting to know Devon and hearing her amazing and inspirational story! We can’t wait to hear her new album and be sure to check out Devon here: https://soundcloud.com/devonbaldwin