Eighteen-year-old singer Devin Farnham Murphy, known to the Internet as dev09, caught my attention with her recent Stelios Philli produced banger, “You Made Me.” When I hit her up for an interview, she asked (in classic millennial fashion) if we could proceed over text message. Read snippets of my very first text message interview below, in which Dev and I nerd out over rap music and America’s race problem, and I scramble frantically to make sense of her youthful parlance.
Labeling Men: so how old are you?
dev09: the super mature age of 18
Labeling Men: jealous.
i love “you made me” by the way!
dev09: thanks so much!
Labeling Men: so how did u get hooked up with stelios?
dev09: well ironically around the time I started working on "You Made Me" I uploaded a cover of a stelios produced track "Real Thing" that he made with asap ferg & sza. I guess Stel was just searching shit on soundcloud & came across my cover. After he heard it he hit me up, which had me insanely excited because I had already heard of him from ferg's EP. We realized we have great writing chemistry & have been working together ever since.
Labeling Men: cool! i LOVE ferg.
dev09: lol ikr? asap mob is the goat.
Labeling Men: the goat?
dev09: ohh it's just an acronym for "greatest of all time"
[I subsequently looked up “ikr” on Urban Dictionary. In case you’re as uninformed as I, it means “I know right?”]
Labeling Men: oh lol you’re making me feel so old
dev09: Lolol sorry! if you're a mob fan though you're definitely with it
Labeling Men: are you and stelios in the same place, or do you work over the internet? dev09: Stel & I have actually never met! I've met our writing partner & stels friend from high school, Jeff (awesome dude), but we've done all of our collabing thru skype & google docs which has worked out insanely well. I'd say the only difficult part can be finding times to Skype that work for everyone but overall it's been super easy
Labeling Men: so you’re an A$AP mob fan? do you listen to a lot of hip hop?
dev09: ASAP rocky is one of my biggest idols, I know all of his songs & have drawn a lot of inspiration from him both melodically & style wise. But yah, hip hop is pretty much all I listen to with random eclectic shit sprinkled throughout
Labeling Men: i read on pigeons & planes that you know every one of A$AP rocky’s lyrics -- which is your favorite?
dev09: Definitely "Bass" off his livelove mixtape. It's got this killer clams casino production that's beautiful enough on its own but rocky really takes it to the next level. fucking love that song lol & I would say multiply, which was just a single not on any of his projects, is my second
Labeling Men: yasss i love bass! and clams. do you have a favorite lyric?
dev09: Ohh that's a super tough one, ferg I could answer that but hmmm for rocky I would say he's so lyrically consistent in my fave songs of his it's tough to pinpoint an exact one, but like I'm "Bass" for example, he says "steppin on these bricks & for your fix so call me toto" which of course is clever as fuck
Labeling Men: yes! i love “Couple A, B, C's, bad bitch double Ds / Popping E I don't give a F, told you I'm a G”
dev09: lol yes peso, classic
Labeling Men: what about ferg lyric?
dev09: Ferg is his feature on Travis Scott's song uptown, he has a line "my fraternity is the burna heat, I'ma Kappa *n word* with an AKay" That's my fave ferg verse in general too Labeling Men: who are your other music idols?
dev09: Living would be Travis Scott & Vince Staples. I just really fuck with their music, insanely talented dudes But my main idols would be Bob Marley, Amy Winehouse, ASAP Yams, Jimi Hendrix & Kurt Cobain I have a tattoo with all their initials on my collarbone But Yams was/is such an inspiration I got his full name lol
Labeling Men: that’s awesome what about yams inspires you?
dev09: Yams was just a genius. his knowledge on hip hop was incredible, the way he started the mob & set rocky up in just the right way for him to blow up, the way he helped Rocky find his sound, the fact that he was insanely clever, like funniest dude ever & he was just extremely genuine, all about the music. It's also inspiring to see a group like the mob, how close they are & how they stick together & put each other on.
Labeling Men: cool i don’t know that much about him. i didn’t know he set up the mob.
dev09: Exactly! & he wanted it that way. He was the genius & brains behind the mob (but don't get me wrong, they're all talented) & didn't want any credit for it
Labeling Men: when did you first get into hip-hop?
dev09: Growing up in south bend with Catholic rich white kids, popular music I was exposed to wasn't that great. It wasn't until mid high school I really dug into music & got inspired. I would say I didn't dive fully in to hip hop until schoolboy q's album oxymoron came out & since then hip hop is all I listen to
Labeling Men: tite. i love schoolboy. habits & contradictions is one of my favorite albums. i saw schoolboy in a shoe store in LA and flipped out.
dev09: As an artist it's really helped me grow & I just find rap insanely impressive. But it's also just straight up important because it talks about racism in the US that most people would never experience/ know about. It educates people & I think it's totally necessary that it keeps growing now that people are fiiiinally starting to acknowledge racism definitely still exists & on a large scale
Labeling Men: yes amen are you still in south bend? what’s it like? (other than catholic whey and rich)
dev09: I'm not, I'm in Bloomington at Indiana University right now trying to get my music out & back to LA but actually I'm about to make a music vid with Brett Haley for "You Made Me" that's gonna depict a day in the life of dev in south bend lol life in south bend, for me, is pretty boring. I spend a lot of time writing, listening to music & walking. At night I’ve got some pretty dope friends though so I get to do fun shit with them.
Labeling Men: i was just cruising stelios’s soundcloud and came across “reloaded” .... so fucking good. i worship MIA.
dev09: ugh reloaded is the shit! It’s crazy in the sense that last year when it first dropped I remember bumping it in my car thinking “fuck I just wanna make music as cool as this” & now I’m working with one of its producers
Labeling Men: so tite! who is your dream collaboration?
dev09: asap rocky or Travis Scott, but I wouldn't want to work with either until I feel I've proved/established myself as an artist ya feel?
Labeling Men: totally do you rap?
dev09: as much as I love rapping along to songs 24/7 when it comes to my own music I wouldn't say I rap. I think rap has an influence on my delivery/flow but I couldn't call it rap
I've written hella songs where I guess it could technically be considered rapping but the sounds that I'm trying to make are just their own thing, a combination of a bunch of different influences so I don't like to label anything I do by genre, only mention the influences used to create it. (my story also isn't badass enough to be a rapper lol)
[I’m in NYC and need to go attend to weekend shenanigans. We decide to pick up where we left off on Monday.]
Labeling Men: how was the weekend?
dev09: pretty fucking great from what I remember, if it had anthem it'd Travis Scott's Antidote
Labeling Men: lololol. ICON. i feel the same way…
dev09: hahaha glad to hear.
Labeling Men: so from your soundcloud i see you produce a lot of your songs yourself
dev09: yah, I've been lazy about it lately but in the future that's something I really want to develop more. Dope beats are super impressive.
Labeling Men: do you prefer singing or producing more?
dev09: Singing for sure, that's my #1 passion, it's just natural you know? & way fucking easier lol. Beat wise it's a lot more challenging for me to translate what I'm thinking onto the track. It's just a lot more time consuming but I still love doing it.
Labeling Men: totally that’s cool. so you’ve always been a singer. growing up, did you do musicals or anything?
dev09: lmao no, my dad hates 2 things for some reason: Texas & musicals, so he taught me to hate the same things. My mom did force me to start playing the cello at like 4 or 5 though & I did that for around 10 years but quit before high school. def wanna start that up again sometime soon
Labeling Men: LOL i hate musicals too i just feel like most people who sing did them dev09: they honestly fucking suck lol the only one I could sit through was les mis but fuck russell crowe's singing smh awful
Labeling Men: so you’re a freshman in college?
dev09: ya at indiana university. it's actually a cool ass place it's just not for me. I know exactly what I'm gonna do, which is music, but I'll stay here for a little while to make my parents happy. I definitely think education is important so I'd possibly want to come back to school at some point but its pretty fucked up to me the way the education system is stacked against creative people. The shit I want to learn is out in the studio with experienced artists not a long & super dramatic analysis from the theatre bitch in my intro to Shakespeare class (who if you're reading this, you know who you are: shut the fuck up).
Labeling Men: ya totally not many successful musicians went to college do u live with your parents?
dev09: lol exactly. I'm probably the poster child for doing the exact opposite of what your parents want you to do, but I figured it'd be cool to get a little bit of the college experience. That or pull a Travis Scott & lie to my mom about needing money for school & spending it on music lmao. But no, I live in Bloomington right now & I love them but I'm not tryna live with them again.
Labeling Men: lolol amen. yes i just read that about travis scott. amazing. do you like bloomington?
dev09: yah it's cool. I don't fuck with the weather & people way overhype how beautiful it is, tryna talk like its fucking Rio de Janeiro or something but it's cool. I can't see myself spending more than a year here but me saying that about any town in Indiana is a big compliment.
Labeling Men: lol. what’s your full name?
dev09: Devin Farnham Murphy It's pronounced farnum, it's a family name & baby dev used to be super embarrassed by it but now I'm just mad I didn't make my stage name farn09
Labeling Men: lol u can still change it! i like dev. do you perform?
dev09: ahaha true & yah, as much as performing in South Bend counts lol. I've been doing random performances singing while playing guitar since the end of my freshman year. I can't wait to perform the new songs I'm working on because they've got the vibe I know an audience will really fuck with.
Labeling Men: nothing cooler than a swaggy girl on stage. dev09: with a name like Farnham, I've gotta be swaggy, right? Lol no, just happy. Even on a small scale performing is the shit so I can't wait until I get the chance to prove myself with a legit performance. Any rapper bring me out on stage rn & I will murder your verse for you.
Labeling Men: yas kween! ok i think you’ve given me a lot of good stuff. thanks so much for your time. do you have any parting words?
dev09: stick with me because I've got big plans & I will follow through with all of them. also, most importantly, black culture is cool but so are black lives so do your part & lets make this country equal. (lmao that's for everyone, promise I'm not shouting demands at you)
By Anna Dorn
Photograph courtesy of pigeonsandplanes.com