Hey there! I’m Devin, Session Beat-Maker at Musiversal. I’m from Colorado Springs and after living abroad for 4 years in Spain and China, I’ve landed back home!
I became a part of Musiversal last March as the first and only Session Beat-Maker on the platform. For the past year, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating on hundreds and hundreds of sessions with artists from around the world creating hip-hop, trap, pop, RnB, and EDM beats for their songs.
Moving forward, I’ll be sharing what my experience has been up to this point and all of the amazing things I’ve learned throughout this journey!
My music background
How did I get my start with music?
Well, when I was 10 years old my parents told me that I needed to choose an instrument and learn to play it. There it is! At that point in time, I chose drums simply because they seemed like the coolest instrument that had ever been invented (this is still true in 2022).
I began playing in a jazz ensemble at the Colorado Springs Conservatory where I started honing my technique and improvisational skills, while back at home I was immersed in the house-rattling sub-bass of my older brother’s EDM music sets.
When I was 18 I started making beats in my basement using all of my brother’s old gear, and eventually got a job producing music for Lyrics2Learn and publishing company Iconic Music Agency. At the same time, I never put the drum sticks down and eventually I went on to earn a bachelor’s at the University of Northern Colorado in jazz performance on the drum set, followed by a Master’s at Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain, where I studied contemporary performance and music production.
I’ve had countless amazing experiences along the way, but some of my favorites have been performing live with Donny McCaslin, playing drums on a record with heavyweight Jerry Douglas, producing music for hip-hop artist Big Samir of The Reminders, and leading my own jazz/hip-hop band Masters of Piñon while living in Spain.
Auditioning at Musiversal
I first heard about Musiversal from one of my former co-workers that I had met during my time in China. He was aware of my passion for drumming and beat-making, so when he saw that Musiversal was getting ready to onboard additional musicians he reached out and said, “Man, I’ve got something amazing to tell you! Hit me up when you get a chance!” When he explained the concept of Musiversal to me I instantly knew two things: this was an amazing concept, and I wanted to be a part of it!
Initially I auditioned to join the platform as a session drummer. My audition piece was actually pretty challenging: a jazz tune with frequent time signature changes that always seemed to occur when you least expected them. It wasn’t easy but I made it happen!
Just as I was getting ready for the onboarding process the team became aware of my beat store, which prompted an interesting conversation- could beats be made satisfactorily within the 30 minute time frame of a standard session? Eventually the answer we arrived at was yes, depending on the kind of beat, and we were going to give it a try! Of course, this meant another interview/audition for me but, once again, I made it to the other side! After a few practice sessions, some acoustic treatment, and a few studio upgrades, I was ready to hit it!
Readjusting to my new surroundings
After almost a year of sessions I’ve found that some things don’t change- I still find myself experiencing excitement, inspiration, and gratitude on a daily basis. Oftentimes, this is due to the amazing projects I find myself working on.
That being said, I think the true source of these feelings is something more fundamental: the opportunity to connect and share experiences with people from all over the world.
Coming back home after living abroad for four years was a bittersweet moment. I was happy to see my family, friends, and fellow musicians that I’d missed for so long, but at the same time I began to miss something else… The diversity and multicultural nature of my daily experiences had now been replaced by my childhood surroundings. A sonic bed of foreign languages had been replaced by conversations that I could understand, and ordering food at a restaurant was... too easy. I could feel the distance that existed between me and the memories I had cultivated over the past four years.
Being a part of Musiversal has been a blessing because it has allowed me to continue interacting with people from around the globe and maintain the experience of being a true global citizen. Throw some great music and some creative collaboration into the mix and… what could be better?
What it’s like having a stable job in music
To have a job doing what I love, connecting with people I never would have otherwise met, and immersing myself in projects of all different genres and styles has been a complete 180 from where I was at the beginning of the pandemic. I think many of us experienced the shock of being pulled away from whatever we had been up to in our lives, and the thought of having to start anew from scratch was a very real fear. Logistics co-ordinators working as servers, college professors driving for Uber… where would I end up?
Working for Musiversal has allowed me to continue to walk the path that I had worked so hard to create and has given me the stability to center my life around the concept of creating, sharing, and connecting through music.
At this point, Musiversal probably already sounds like the coolest thing in the world, but it gets better! The team of people that make up Musiversal are truly some of the kindest, most humble, and most giving people I have ever met. Whether collaborating with fellow musicians or working together with employees in the various departments, everyone exhibits a genuine love for their work and a willingness to help those around them succeed.
One of my favorite examples of this would have to be the time I’ve spent on the platform as a user, working to complete my own personal projects. Each time I sign on to a session I’m humbled by the skills and talent that the musicians bring to my music, and even more so by their willingness to give their best effort to enhance and contribute to whatever it is we’re working on. Not only that, but it always feels like I’ve just spent 30 minutes hanging out with a good friend of mine, and that, in my opinion, is the best way to make music!
"The team of people that make up Musiversal are truly some of the kindest, most humble, and most giving people I have ever met"
What I’ve learnt
Each and every session presents it’s own learning opportunity and after nearly a year on the platform, it’s safe to say that a lot of learning has taken place! I could talk about the speed I’ve acquired in putting ideas together quickly, the improvements in my workflow, or even how I’ve come to know myself better through the hundreds of interactions carried out with other artists and musicians from around the world.
But really, for me, the greatest takeaway has been shifting my focus from something I believe we all want and strive for- to get things “right”- to focusing on what it is that I’m able to give to any particular project, song, or person. Through experimentation and repetition I’ve found that this always leads me to greater creativity, a deeper sense of fulfilment, and a lot more fun during our sessions!
Musiversal: making the impossible, possible
Just the other day I had a client say to me, “I can’t believe this is possible. At the beginning of the pandemic I was getting ready to put music on the back-burner because it was so hard to meet and work with people. Now here we are, talking to each other online and getting ready to work on my music together!” I may have paraphrased a little bit there, but I have to agree with his general sentiment - what Musiversal is doing is amazing!
The music industry has gone through so many changes in recent years: moving from CDs to digital streaming, advances in recording and production technology, and ease of access for creators, to name a few. While many of these things have made it easier for people to create music, not many people would say it’s now easier to earn a living with music.
To me, Musiversal is one of the first “new things” that actually helps to bring stability into the life of musicians and producers. Not only that, but it also opens the doors to creators of all capacities and allows them to achieve commercial quality productions at a price that they can actually afford. Game. Changer!!
I believe that as Musiversal continues to grow, and as more artists and producers around the world experience what it is to create music using the Musiversal platform, it will become clear that what we’re doing here is affecting not only our abilities to earn a living making music, or to afford to collaborate with amazing musicians, but it’s also leading to everyone making better music!
So, what’s next?
Having had the pleasure of working with Musiversal for the past year has been one of the most exciting adventures of my life (that’s saying a lot) and I can’t wait to see what’s up next. If I had to guess, I’d say that it probably involves more creativity, collaboration, and innovation in changing the way we make music across the globe.
Let’s do this thing together! Here’s to making more music; I hope to see you in a session soon.