Devon Cole is coming to town to play North Bay Pride’s PRIDE Out in the Park Concert this Saturday, September 16, and it’s a show you’ll kick yourself for missing. Catch all the tunes at the Kiwanis Bandshell at the North Bay waterfront.
The concert is free to attend, but donations are welcome.
Along with Cole, who is the opening act, prepare for some Canadian music royalty, because Carole Pope – of Rough Trade fame, ‘High School Confidential,’ – and Bif Naked, who can’t get enough of North Bay Pride’s festivities, are topping the lineup.
See: Bif Naked returns for North Bay Pride fest
“I’m so excited” for the show, Cole said, noting this is her first time performing for the North Bay crowd. “I’ve been looking forward to it for a really long time and I’m just really excited to be celebrating with everybody.”
Cole’s star is on the rise, and her music is resonating with more audiences every day. This past spring, she was nominated for a Juno for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, and she performed at the Junos as well. She gained fame and fans from her viral TikToks, and caught the attention of Arista Records, to which she is now signed.
Her first EP, Party for One, hit like a tidal wave, and the streams hit the millions in no time. Same with her videos. “Hey Cowboy,” released in late October of last year, has 6.5 million streams on Spotify alone, and there’s no doubt her latest release “D**khead” – released on August 11 – will reach those numbers soon enough.
Needless to say, she’s keeping busy. Writing, recording in LA with the good folks at Arista, making videos and touring shows. When she hits North Bay, she’ll be playing with a power trio. Prepare for a unique mix of genres, as Cole gets down with a bit of country, some rock, a touch of disco-inspired groove, and plenty of pop lustre to tie it all together.
There are no limitations on Cole, and she melds all of these influences into powerful tunes that will stick with you. Super catchy. After listening, you’ll want more. The choruses and grooves lure you and her lyrics keep you enthralled. Her writing is to the point and at times cutting. She has a clear vision of the times, and she captures the everyday with wit and poignant insights into relationships, power dynamics, and the importance of self-empowerment.
See: Pride week kicks off with speaker and talent contest
Throw on her YouTube channel and hear for yourself. Eventually, you’ll come across a gem called “July for the Whole Year.” It’s a stripped-down folksy rendition of one of her earliest songs, and hearing it makes you wish you were in the audience when she was playing open mic nights around Kingston a few years ago.
Those were her college days, a long way from her hometown Calgary. Writing songs, studying for a psych degree, and playing mostly solo shows. Then things began to explode, mostly due to her TikToks going viral, and she’s now based in Toronto (she was born in the city, before moving West) as one of the country’s most up-and-coming musical forces.
Asked when we can expect her first full-length album, she was hesitant to give any concrete details, but one will arrive someday. And as a solo artist, she loves having the chance to collaborate with so many musicians, both on the road and in the studio.
“I’ve been very blessed to be around a lot of women musicians, which I think is a bit of a rarity,” she said. “You have to go out and find them, but they’re there, and they are amazing.”
“I love, love, love my girlies,” she emphasized. “They’re my best friends.”
On the writing front, Cole admits she can be a bit of a perfectionist, but when she has something ready to release, she understands it’s ready intuitively. “There is an internal click that I feel,” she said. She explained that George Michael discussed the sensation, “he said it’s a feeling at the back of his neck when he knows the melody is right, or when he knows it’s all fitting together.”
Clearly that feeling has been strong with Cole these past years, as the hits keep coming. “This year has been a big year for me in the sense that I’m really coming into my own and learning how to be more autonomous and learning how to speak my truth.”
There’s so much more to come, and the fans are looking forward to hanging on to every note.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca