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Cait Devin

Just Your Basic 19 Year Old Guitar-Wielding Prodigy with Her Own Successful Charity

Drop-dead gorgeous is the first impression she makes if you see her first. Drop-dead gorgeous is your first impression if you hear her first.

I first became aware of Cait Devin as she popped into my social media threads. If I see a person with an instrument in action – especially guitar, I click. It only took a few minutes for my mind-blowing lobotomy to occur. I am here to tell you that if you haven’t heard Cait Devin, you’re late.

At 19-years old she’s already a triple threat musician, able to play, sing and write with notable proficiency. And it shows by the company she keeps as Devin continues to gain interest and involvement with some of the industry’s major players. Cait has organized “shred collaborations” with these musicians as a vehicle for her charity, “There With Care,” a charity that addresses the needs of those facing critical illnesses. Cait, herself, deals with particular conditions. Instead of receding in her own struggles, rather, she steps forward to take charge of the issue and do something about it. How many people do you know who can do this? [Answer: anybody can]. And, it is the young lady who creates artful solutions – from a place of benevolence and generous purpose – that is my hero, this week.

Her music is already mature even in the early development of a 19-year old from Westmoreland, NY. She’s one of those folks who makes eloquence look easy in her nonchalance. If you’re a music-listening lover or a seasoned pro, there is something in Cait Devin’s music that will reach you.

Ok. Sit down, and learn a thing or two from this special lady.

Chuck Schiele: Hi Cait. Thank you for visiting with us here at Sounds of Syracuse.

Cait Devin: Thank you, Chuck. I’m happy to be here.

CS: So. How did you get started in music?

CD: I’ve been singing and writing all my life, but, I started taking vocal lessons when I was 9. My mom found a video I took of myself singing opera in the car and she was shocked. I was very into opera back then. I believe the song that got me into it was “Time to Say Goodbye.” I took lessons to harness my technique and did recitals (which made me very, very nervous.) I was taught songs in different languages, stuff like “The Hills are Alive” from The Sound of Music. All things that required a lot of vibrato. Since I started on opera, maybe that’s why my vibrato is so prominent now. From there I participated in countless talent shows and competitions to get comfortable on stage. I didn’t start exploring instruments until I took piano lessons for a year in my early teens, but when I picked up an acoustic guitar at 14 everything clicked. I went out to open mics performing originals, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, all the poppy things. Lead guitar began around three years ago. It’s been such a wild journey when it comes to styles – I really feel that I’ve had so much time to explore it all. Opera, pop, rock, and even metal. The big melting pot of genres has made me who I am today as an artist.

CS: Who are the artists and musicians who’ve influenced or helped to shape your music path.

CD: The main influence on my songwriting has been Taylor Swift for a long time. I remember getting hooked on her “Speak Now” album many years back. I’ve always loved how she doesn’t hold back in her songwriting style, something that I’ve adapted very much. I’d say that we have a very similar writing style. So I will always say her. BUT, right now I’m also really into The Weeknd (A LOT) Chase Atlantic, BLACKPINK, Ashnikko, Doja Cat, Rico Nasty, and Dababy. As far as my guitar playing goes, Nita Strauss inspires me so much. That’s where I get a lot of the neoclassical sounding elements. Artists like Polyphia are very melody-based but also extremely technical, so them as well. I look up to them! I really am creating hip-hoppy / alt-pop music. Never felt happier with my sound.

CS: You are incredibly active and accessible via social media regarding your musical endeavors. Please tell us about your current involvements?

CD: I am a solo artist, but I’ve been putting together charity “shred collabs” with 40+ of my favorite players including Jinxx of Black Veil Brides, Jen Majura of Evanescence, Joel Hoekstra of White Snake, Stevie T, Alicia Vigil of Dragon Force, Nikki Stringfield of the Iron Maidens, Michael Angelo Batio, and many more. I do these for “There with Care,” an organization that provides fundamental services to children battling critical illness. I have anywhere between 20-30 ish players on each track and we all have a section to play over with a text to a donate link that viewers can use to contribute if they’d like to. Other than that, I’ve done some reviews for JST (Joey Sturgis tones) and plan to work with STL tones in the future. I’m completely independent with no management.

CS: Where would you like to see your music path take you?

CD: Now that I’ve taken foot on the alt / hip-hoppy path, I’m more excited than ever. My newest single “JOKES ON U” is more so in that lane, which I’m very stoked about. I still try to incorporate guitar in whatever I do no matter the genre because I feel that it’s just such an important part of both my sound and image. I hope to continue helping those in need through my music and events I organize.

CS: Tell us about “There with Care.”

CD: “There with Care” is a charity that lends a hand to children and families struggling with a critical illness. They provide support and services for those in need. I’m so glad to have partnered with them for two online charity events now, and I have a third in the works now! More about them is in the descriptions of my shred collabs on Youtube if you search “Shredding For Hope – Bradley Hall” (they are posted on his channel!)

CS: Do any particular highlights come to mind?

CD: Traveling to Nashville twice to play shows, the NYC shows, getting to play alongside Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, performing at CNY Fashion week on New Year’s Eve, collaborating with the guitarists I look up to, getting featured on Guitar World magazine twice (and all the other wonderful features such as Guitar Girl Mag) Headlining the Lost Horizon in Syracuse, and so much more – too many wholesome moments to count!

CS: How much do you practice in a day or week?

CD: I tend to go through phases between doing different things – one day I’ll be writing lyrics, one day I’ll spend promoting my music and networking, and the other I’ll be playing all day. In the beginning, I’d be playing 5+ hours a day. Sometimes I sit with my guitar and go through scales and melodies while I watch TV, and I consider that my relaxation time.

CS: What is your best advice for learning guitar or music in general?

CD: There will be periods of boredom in the beginning. The tedious scales, learning the chords. Discipline is key. You don’t need to jump to practicing 5 hours a day, instead build up to it. Start with 30 minutes, then an hour, and so on. But stay consistent. Over time, everything on the guitar gradually gets easier. (same applies for anything else.)

CS: How can we stay in touch with you and your music?

CD: My Facebook is Cait Devin, Instagram is thecaitdevin – I’m also on Spotify and YouTube!

CS: Thank you for visiting us here at Sounds of Syracuse, Cait! We’ll be following your progress!

CD: Thank you for the opportunity, Chuck. Nice chatting with you.

Chuck Schiele
Chuck Schiele is a lifelong, award-winning musician, art director, producer, editorialist, artist, activist, member Quatrocollective.com and fan of the CNY music scene. To be considered for this column, please write chuck.schiele@gmail.com.