Photos courtesy of Devon Overbey
Hello! I don’t really know how to write an article so I’m just going to start off by introducing myself 🙂 My name is Devon Overbey, and I’m a “super” sophomore here at Harvey Mudd studying physics/engineering (I haven’t decided yet). My goal is to lead a major research company that aims to progress space exploration after (maybe) going through a dual PhD/MBA program in Theoretical Astrophysics and Business. Additionally, I would really love to get involved in nonprofits throughout my life and use science to make the world a better place. In my free time, I love to take photos, write music, and most importantly spend time with the people I love. But that other stuff isn’t what I’m writing about! I’m writing about music!
Creating music is one of the things that makes me happiest, and music, much like food, is meant to be shared. My musical journey began when I started learning violin when I was 10. I learned the upright bass about a year later. When I was about 13, I taught myself guitar and piano and began learning music theory. From there, I was in the string orchestra all the way through high school.
All of this happened around the time that I discovered The Beatles — which was life-changing. I fell in love with writing music and creating new ideas. In high school, I started dabbling in composition and eventually fell in love with writing classical music as well. I started writing a symphony sophomore year of high school and finished it just before the summer started before junior year of high school. I was really inspired to hear it performed, so I gathered a group of people who played the instruments I needed, and before I knew it, I had a full symphony. Those were some of the best days of my life.
My junior year of high school, I started working on an idea for a concept album, but life sort of got in the way, so I didn’t work on most of the album or music until just before freshman year of college, when I started writing like crazy and trying to finish the album before school started. But when summer ended, I just didn’t feel like the album was ready for release.
During my freshman year, I wrote a number of new songs that featured my friends from Mudd and the other 5Cs, with the intent on adding those songs to my first album. Those experiences, which included late nights in Mudd’s Jam Society room, were among some of my favorite memories on campus, and I’m thankful for what I experienced with these awesome people. I finalized the album over winter break and finally released the 20-song-long multi-genre concept album, “The Walk” on Feb. 13, 2020. Around that time, I began digging into the music marketing industry so I could learn what I could do to share my music with the world. I started making playlists and promoting those playlists using social media platforms, teaching myself about advertising, and mostly sharing my music with people. Little did I know that a lot of things would be changing in the coming months.
As COVID struck the nation and shut school down, I felt really lost, as did many of my classmates and much of the world. I turned back to writing music to cope with everything around me. Over the summer, I lost my internship, moved home, and most of my plans fell through. During this time, I strove to improve myself and my craft as much as I could. I started writing music constantly, teaching myself marketing, working on my mixing skills, and even making music videos! During this time, I wrote what I think are some of the best songs I’ve ever written.
As sophomore year of college was supposed to start up, I spontaneously took a year off to give myself a chance to do things that I couldn’t while taking classes. My year was filled by visiting national parks and traveling through most of the wilderness in the U.S. I started my year off by visiting the Pacific Northwest during the worst of the wildfire season, and fell in love with outdoor travel. During my time at home, I continued to write and create music videos inspired by my travels. And by Dec. 10, 2020, I had released my second album, “Wildfire.” I consider it to be one of my best works, and substantially better than my first album.
“The Walk” is a concept album about the journey of a man throughout his life. Each song depicts a different milestone on this journey. The Walk expresses sentiment from childhood hardships to questionable decisions in college to reflective moments as time passes. “The Walk” features a symbolic, impressionistic rendition of a variety of styles and genres, including nods to my inspirations in various forms of art, science, and humanities. “The Walk” is intended to make the audience aware of its humanity — everything about my first album was intended to be symbolic, from lyrics and music, to the song titles, and even to the release date. Song titles like “Over Now,” “The Storm,” or “Solitude” reflect the more heartbreaking, troublesome changes in life, not only in terms of romantic love, but other life transitions like going off to college, moving far from home, and saying goodbye to the way things used to be. The song “Isn’t it Nice?” is actually intended as a sort-of sequel to the Beach Boys song “Wouldn’t it Be Nice?” from the perspective of someone who grew up, got married, and had children of their own. From heartbreaking feelings of nostalgia to more lighthearted and even comedic styles of music, I intended to encapsulate what it means to be human. The album includes numerous forms of lyricism and musicality from vague, pop-like, electronically-based tunes, to focused indie acoustic ballads. Additionally, multiple guest artists make appearances on “The Walk,” bringing their own unique colors and styles to the picture. “The Walk” has a loose basis in my own life, including thoughts, ideas, concerns, and hardships I faced as I matured. While not everything is the same, I definitely created myself as a character in some ways — or at least mimicked my thought patterns.
“Wildfire” was a much more cohesive album with more focused and modern composition, mixing, and style. While the genre didn’t stray too far from the rather broad scope of indie/alternative, the styles reflected a plethora of impressionistic renditions of modern and classic artists from different styles. Some songs were written with pretty comedic elements, while others were much more serious in tone. The album actually features two of my first songs: “Reasons” and “You.” The album includes Alternative Rock, Indie Folk, LoFi pop, Indie R&B, Bedroom Pop, Shoegaze, Dreampop, Indie Hip-Hop, and even experimental rock. While no two songs from this album are truly alike, they blend together and fit in their places and transition really well.
If you’d like to listen, that would mean the world to me! I would recommend listening to “Wildfire” or any of my singles, rather than “The Walk,” since they’re much shorter and have better mixing and mastering.
Most of my music is available on all major streaming services under the artist name Devon Overbey. Additionally, my playlists are on Spotify and Apple Music, under the account name Devon Overbey Music. I hope you enjoy my music! Thanks for sticking around 🙂