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May 9th, 2012 WW Staff | Cover Story
 

Best New Band 2012

10 local acts that Portland’s music insiders think you should hear.

     
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IMAGE: Tyler Snazelle
9. Reva DeVito

  • 26.5 Points
  • Formed: DeVito played her first show in spring of 2007. 
  • Sounds like: Big-city soul sent out to the country for a dip in the river.

After moving to Portland from her native Washington state in 2007, Reva DeVito was quick to dip her toe into the Portland music scene. But it wasn’t until 2010 that she found her calling, forming a live band and releasing The Catnip Collective, a trippy EP of organic soul dripped over funk and hip-hop-influenced beats. Shortly thereafter, DeVito dropped off the map.

“I took off for a little bit to do some traveling. I went to Mexico, spent some time in California,” she says. “When I came back from that, I didn’t have a place to live and needed to find a job—I had all these priorities I needed to get straight before I could start working on new music.”

As luck would have it, DeVito’s new job at North Portland bar Moloko Plus put her in the company of producer Roane Namuh, who holds a twice-monthly residency there. He had been looking for a female vocalist to work with, and when he handed DeVito a CD of his songs, she was taken aback. “I told him I could sing over every one of those songs,” she says. And then she did.

DeVito and Numah’s collaboration, the eight-song free download Cloudshine, lives at the intersection of moody hip-hop and club-ready dance music. It’s a testament to DeVito’s vocal versatility that the singer—sometimes compared to Erykah Badu or Lauryn Hill—sounds just as home here as she did on the more organic Catnip.

For her forthcoming debut full-length, DeVito is connecting with producers from Portland funk institution Tony Ozier to shit-hot Seattle beatmaker Budo. She says she thinks the disc will have a “future R&B” feel to it, but that her sound is still a work in progress. 

Asked about broader career goals, DeVito is succinct. “I’d like to make music that makes people feel good,” she says. “And I’d really like to get paid.” CASEY JARMAN.

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