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By Jerome Stuart Nichols
When dance-floor mainstay Dev first hit the scene with her minimalist, bass-heavy, club-thumper “Booty Bounce” in 2010, she told the world, “I ain’t yo average bitch.” Some listened, but most didn’t, disregarding Dev as just another pseudo-edgy, white girl rapper.
“It was my first album,” she says emphatically. “The first time anyone had really every heard my voice was on (Far East Movement’s) ‘Like a G6.’ From then on, everybody just sort of summed me up like that … but I also like (being) vulnerable.”
In just a year, “Booty Bounce” racked up 12 million views on YouTube, many of them from the gay community. Dev says she owes her early success to the LGBT scene in the San Francisco Bay Area. “It’s been pretty much amazing having that support since day one. They still do (support me) and I appreciate it. Coming up in San Francisco and in the Bay, that whole community took to me before anybody, so I put a lot of my heart into that community.”
And now, at 10 p.m. Aug. 24, she’ll perform for that community. Along with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Raja and Latrice Royale, Dev will appear during Ice-At-Large: The Epic Reunion Party at the Royal Oak Music Theater. But just because she’s performing for a sea of queers, don’t be fooled. Despite rumors, Dev isn’t a lesbian.
“I just felt bad because when I had a baby, lesbian fans on Twitter were like, ‘Wait a second, I thought you were a lesbian. This is bullshit.’ And I was like, ‘I’m sorry, I love you too, though!’ she says, jokingly tearful. “It’s actually really funny and cute. It didn’t offend me at all. If anything, it’s a compliment.”
Although she’d never been linked to any specific woman, her androgynous style and aggressive lyrics led some people to make the erroneous logical leap.
“Growing up, I was a big tomboy, pretty much up until I got boobs, then I was like, ‘OK, I’m wearing a bra now,” she recalls. “It’s interesting – now that I’m an adult – I like carrying that over and also celebrating my feminine side. I like being strong and fierce but I also like being sweet. I love being able to pair my fiance’s clothes with mine and do a crazy haircut and also wear lipstick. It’s so fun for me.”
Her love of androgyny doesn’t stop at herself; she also finds androgynous women to be beautiful and inspiring.
“Androgynous women are so beautiful, and I really look to them so much for inspiration,” she says proudly. “When Lady Gaga plays it up, I think it’s beautiful. She’s so fun.”
But Dev is all about the men, especially the one she plans on marrying, skateboarder Jimmy Gorecki. While some would find the transition between jet-setting career and family difficult, for Dev, it’s a matter of balance.
“I love being able to travel with my daughter or bring her to the studio or sit at home and watch ‘Bubble Guppies’ for 10 hours on repeat,” she says. “But what’s really cool is that I get to go and still be sexy and still be 24 and still get to celebrate. I want my daughter, one day, to feel just as powerful and sexy. I can have family time and I can also wear hot pants and it’s fucking sick. That balance is awesome.”
After a baby, fiance, tour, a mixtape, a couple hit singles, a viral video hit and three years, Dev is a decidedly different woman than during the recording of the first album.
“I recorded the first album in 2011 when I was living in a loft with The Cataracs,” she recalls. “My situation then was very different than it is now. A lot of growth and a lot of interesting stuff have happened this past year that’s given me a lot to say, which is good. I definitely want it to still be quirky. I want it to also be a little bit grown. I want my music to grow as I grow.”
She’s in no hurry to release the product of that growth – and despite the it being pretty much finished, she’s being tightlipped about its release. She is, however, quick to correct a rumor that the album will be called “IAMDEV.”
“It’s currently in the works,” Dev says. “I’ve spent the last seven months writing and recording, meeting a bunch of new producers. I wanted to spend a good amount of time on it. I don’t know where the ‘IAMDEV’ rumor started; it’s probably not going to be called that.” Take that, Wikipedia.
10 p.m. Aug. 24 ($30-$50)
Royal Oak Music Theatre